For a group of local bowlers, the Iowa State USBC BA championships were one to remember - even if the historic moment was met with bittersweet emotions.
Despite playing with heavy hearts in memory of the late Kenny Ebelsheiser, the Daniel Tire squad of Steve Heathman, Steve Patterson, Rich Ebensteiner, Jason Ebelsheiser and Kiel Patterson claimed top honors out of 597 entries in the Booster Division, rolling a winning score of 3,223.
Plaza Bowl in Sioux City hosted state singles and doubles action. Harmony Lanes in South Sioux City, Neb. served as the site of state team competition.
Prior to that victory by Daniel Tire, the last Fort Dodge Iowa State USBC BA men's bowling titles came back in 1950, when Ballantine Ale (Open Division) and Gene's Place (Booster Division) were crowned with scores of 2,853 and 2,744, respectively.
"We had a 198 penalty the day that we left, and we didn't think we were going to win," Jason Ebelsheiser said. "I didn't see how (our score) was going to stick at all, but we ended up winning by 16 pins.
"This was the first year we all bowled together as a team. I actually took a little sabbatical and hadn't bowled for about 10 years. Steve (Heathman) quit bowling for over 20 years, and Ebensteiner had never even bowled in a league before. Going in, we didn't really know what to expect."
To participate in the Booster Division, an individual must hold an average of 190 or less, while the team average needs to be 150 or under. Tournament eligibility is gained by bowling at least 21 games. Bowlers are required to be sanctioned for all events.
Heathman's expectations were also exceeded, along with the rest of the team members.
"We just monitored the website for the official results," said Heathman. "We were pleasantly surprised that we were able to win. (The Iowa State USBC BA) sent us all plaques, and each person received $300."
In 2012, Jason's dad, Kenny, passed away on Nov. 16 - just eight days after his 60th birthday.
"Kenny bowled a perfect game (in 2011) and was originally scheduled to be on the team," Heathman said. "He was still every bit a part of this team as we were, though. I'm sure he was watching down on us.
"We wanted to dedicate (our state championship) to both Kenny and Steve (Daniel of Daniel Tire). It was nice to finally get Steve's name in the record book, too, for being an outstanding sponsor."
Kiel Patterson - Steve's son - managed both the high game (247) and high series (679) during the tournament for Daniel Tire. Jason Ebelsheiser and Ebensteiner also tied for 155th (1,263) in the Doubles Booster event.
Shelter Insurance out of Fort Dodge tied for 103rd in the Booster Division, notching a 2,914. Cory's Computers finished 40th (3,194) in the Open Division.
Fort Dodge's Matt Johnson (815) placed third in the Singles Open event. Craig Patterson fired a perfect game as well in the tournament.
Trophy King (3,558) of Muscatine repeated as state champions in the Open Division. Lucky 6 Lanes from Marengo had earned the previous two state Booster Division crowns in 2011 and 2012.
This year's Iowa State USBC BA 97th annual championship is currently being held until May 25 at King Pins Bowling Center in Burlington (singles/doubles) and Iris Bowling Center (team event) in Mount Pleasant.
"We expect to all stay together except for Rich, who (moved back) to his home state of Minnesota," said Heathman. "Hopefully, we'll be there (at the top) again."