More than 80,000 bowlers will make their way into Reno through July as the United States Bowling Congress Open Championships are officially underway.
And, there is quite a bit of prep work and maintenance done to keep things running like clockwork. Employees start work at the National Bowling Stadium bright and early at 5 a.m. Some of the machines run almost 24 hours a day for 125 days straight.
When you think National Bowling Stadium, the beautiful lanes come to mind, but on the other side, it's a whole different world.
"This is like the grease shop," says Clayton Bussiere. "Nobody wants to come and see, like, broken parts. Everybody wants to come out and see all the really fancy, shiny things."
Bussiere is the man who fixes those fancy, shiny things when they break. He's a full-time pin setter mechanic at the stadium.
"It's mostly just watching what's going on," he says. "Making sure things that get stuck or jammed up get fixed right away."
When he says right away, he means right away. Let's say, a ball gets stuck behind a pin. His goal is fixing the problem in less than 30 seconds.
"Oh, we have to move fast, yes," he says. "This is the bowling stadium. We can't mosey on over. We have to get out there quick, fast and get the ball back to the bowler."
60 lanes run at once with just three pin setters working. No doubt, they work pretty darn hard and have some long days at the office.
"We'll get things going and then, when the bowling's done at 2 or 3 o'clock in the morning we might start some of the maintenance then," says Bussiere.
Bussiere is a full-time employee, but the United States Bowling Congress hires quite a few part-timers to work during the event as well.
"We'll hire 50 to 75 locals and we'll bring in 50 travelers," says Chip Aki with the USBC. "So, there's a lot of preparation to get everybody up to speed for day one."
One of those locals is Gloria Harris. She has extra time on her hands now that she's retired.
"I worked for the telephone company in the state of Nevada," she says.
Harris watches lanes to make sure things are running smoothly. She'll do that until the championships end in July.
"This is my life," she says. "Bowling has been a family sport since I was 8-years-old."
Harris has worked with the USBC for more than a decade now, and says it's the people who keep her coming back.
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