For the past 11 years, the Morris Anderson Memorial Shootout has held a reservation in the middle of January as one of the biggest tournaments in the region. Drawing entries from all over the upper Midwest as well as our neighboring country, Canada, the Shootout has become a tradition for many.
This seasons tournament was moved forward a weekend due to hotel room availability. The date change meant some bowlers could make the trip while others would have to miss out. One of the notable absences was defending champion Matt McNiel who was bowling a college event in the Indianapolis area.
The action began on Saturday where 135 bowlers made the trip to Minot, ND for a chance at the $5000 top prize. The lane condition used this season was a modified (added volume) abbey road. The added volume on this pattern made the transition a little tricky. As the day went on, the cut line hovered around -10 to -20. Following game 6, the cut line was sitting at -14. At this point, the cut had never gone up and many bowlers started to feel like posting a + score would be “safe”. The top 36 were announced at the banquet later that night and, to the surprise of many, the cut jumped to a staggering +11. This left a few bowlers fairly disappointed after feeling they had made the top 36.
When the dust settled, it was Bob Hager that claimed the top qualifying spot posting a score of 1797 (+197). As top qualifier, Bob receives a paid entry into the 2015 CMA Memorial Shootout. Rounding out the field in 36th was Dave Oulman at +11.
The conclusion of the qualifying round resulted in a very close finish to the 2014 Can-Am Challenge. Mike Schmidt edged Sam Lantto by 1 point to win the $300 top prize. Lantto had a one point lead on Schmidt following the Manitoba Open, but a 223 game 8 by Schmidt helped vault him two spots ahead of Lantto. With the win, Schmidt claims his second straight Can-Am Challenge.
Can-Am Challenge Final Results:
1. Mike Schmidt- $300
2. Sam Lantto – $150
3. Justin Schiffler – $100
4. Eric Kempel – $50
The drama continued on Sunday morning when one of the top 36 bowlers entered the bowling alley a few minutes late and was forced to sit out the rest of the event. After an alternate was put in, the tournament continued.The top 36 bowlers were split into 3 groups of 12. Each group would bowl round robin matches with the winners of each match receiving 30 bonus pins. Day 2 quickly turned into a grind as strikes and big scores proved hard to come by. Leading for most of the day was Andy Mills. Mills had made the TV show in 2013, so he was no stranger to the day 2 sprint at the CMA. As the day went on, familiar faces made their way to the top of the leader board and paved the way for an exciting position round. In position round, Dave Langer defeated Andy Mills to claim the TV show’s #1 seed for the 3rd year in a row. In the 5-6 matchup, Nick Heilman fired a 266 game on Sam Lantto. With bonus pins, Heilman vaulted to the #2 seed for the show. Rounding out the top 5 for the TV show were Andy Mills and past Shootout Champions, Daron Hansen and Scott Pohl.
TV Show Results:
#4 Hansen def #5 Pohl, 214-212
#3 Mills def #4 Hansen, 227-222
#3 Mills def #2 Heilman, 211-202
#1 Langer def #3 Mills, 212-181
The win gives Langer his first Morris Anderson Memorial Shootout title. Langer becomes the 11th different winner in the events history. Nice bowling Dave!
I would like to thank Jeff Kragh, Rory Selk and the staff at North Hill Bowl for hosting another great tournament. I would also like to thank all the bowlers who traveled long and short distances to bowl this event and help make it what it is today.
The action continues next weekend at the NDBowling.com Classic. Come out and help support a struggling tournament that promises changes after this season! Once again, congratulations to Dave Langer on the win and thank you for visiting NDBowling.com!