03/23/13 — Howery earns unexpected trip to Vegas

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Howery earns unexpected trip to Vegas

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on March 23, 2013 11:22 PM

Darryl Howery Sr.'s recent return to his Tuesday night bowling league was unlike any other.

Howery was a star, high-fiving competitors and hugging staff members at AMF Boulevard Lanes in Goldsboro.

Last weekend, Howery earned the opportunity of a lifetime when he won the district qualifier for the AMF $700,000 Rec League Bowling Tournament in Winston-Salem. The next stop for the Goldsboro native is the national finals in Las Vegas on Apr. 12-13.

The prize for a national title is $50,000.

"It hasn't really had time to sink in yet," Howery said. "I don't really think it's hit me yet, but I'm sure it will as we get closer to the finals."

Howery's journey to Las Vegas began quietly on the Boulevard Lanes. He won the local qualifier and advanced to the center finals. A top-six finish landed Howery in the district tournament.

That is when he bowled the game of his life.

"There were three guys riding to Winston-Salem with me and we joked that two guys were going to make it to Vegas," Howery said. "I told the other guys that they should get their bags packed because it wasn't going to be me."

Howery's pessimism vanished after he rolled his first strike.

The tournament's scoring system is based on pins over average for a three-game series. His first game was 57 pins above his 189 league average. Game two was 67 above and the final game was 80 pins above average.

When the dust settled, Howery's series was 194 pins above his average and he was the "A Division" champion.

"I just got really lucky at the right time," Howery said. "I have been to the finals the last four years and I have never come close to making it to Vegas. I got hot when it counted."

His district victory scored Howery a check for $350. More importantly it earned him an all-expenses paid trip to Sin City courtesy of AMF. Howery's airfare, hotel and meals will all be covered for three days surrounding the national finals.

Not too bad for a tournament that costs recreation league players $12 to enter.

"This tournament is the one thing that the AMF does just for the rec league guys," said Clarke Hill, owner of King Pin Pro-Shop at Boulevard Lanes. "There is no other event where you can pay in $12 and walk away with $50,000."

Howery admitted that he has already thought about what he would do with the money.

"Honestly, my wife and I would probably use it to pay bills," Howery said. "We thought about getting a new car or going on a vacation, but odds are we will find a more practical use for it."

Win or lose, there is no doubt that the reception back at Boulevard Lanes will be priceless when Howery swings the doors open on another Tuesday league night in late April.