The GEICO PBA World Series of Bowling VI is just three days away and there’s no shortage of storylines for PBA fans.
It’s not too late to sign up for pba’s online bowling channel Xtra Frame and take advantage of the 2015 Xtra Frame season ticket special offer which includes this year’s World Series. Just click on the red banner at the top of the pba.com homepage.
Competition begins Friday (Oct. 24) with the $10,000 winner-take-all All-In Showdown between actor JT “Action” Jackson and PBA star Chris Barnes at 5 p.m. ET (2 p.m. local time) to be followed immediately by PBA Challenge match play qualifying involving eight PBA Regional, eight PBA Women’s Regional and eight PBA50 Tour competitors.
Xtra Frame will provide more than 60 hours of live coverage throughout the World Series and PBA Hall of Famer Marshall Holman joins the Xtra Frame announce booth as color commentator during the Tour events.
Finals for World Series events (except the PBA World Championship) will be taped by ESPN on Nov. 1-2 in the South Point’s new Bowling Plaza. If you’re in the area it’s also not too late to attend the tapings.
Admission is free for the television productions but a ticket is still required. Tickets are available by clicking on http://www.pba.com/Tickets/ or at the South Point Bowling Center.
Here are some of the 2014 storylines:
Full field representing 20 countries: A capacity field of 240 of the world’s greatest professional bowlers representing 20 countries will compete in the premier showcase of bowling competition.
Among the 20 countries entered include first-time representatives from Belgium, the British Virgin Islands, China and Latvia. The preliminary list of countries represented includes Argentina (1), Australia (5), Belgium (1), Bermuda (2), British Virgin Islands (2), Canada (3), China (6), Colombia (9), Denmark (2), Ecuador (3), England (5), Finland (2), Germany (3), Ireland (1), Japan (5), Latvia (1), Mexico (2), Sweden (8), Venezuela (10) and the United States (168).
ESPN Finals to christen South Point’s new Bowling Plaza: The ESPN-taped finals for the World Series events, which will take place on Nov. 1 and 2, will be the first bowling events conducted in South Point’s new Bowling Plaza.
PBA Hall of Famers entered: The field includes seven PBA Hall of Famers – Tom Baker, Parker Bohn III, Jason Couch, Norm Duke, Amleto Monacelli, Pete Weber, and Walter Ray Williams Jr.
Former Major League Baseball pitcher John Burkett to make PBA World Series debut: Former Major League pitcher John Burkett will make his PBA World Series Tour debut. Burkett, who spent 17 seasons (1987-2003) in the majors with five teams, had a 166-136 career record and made two All-Star Game appearances (1993, 2001). An accomplished bowler with 12 300 games to his credit, he has bowled in PBA events several times, most recently the 2014 PBA Summer Swing in Oklahoma. His best finish in a PBA Tour event was 48th in the Bear Open during the 2014 PBA Summer Swing. Burkett, who turns 50 on Nov. 28, is preparing to bowl on the PBA50 Tour in 2015.
World Series to play role in determining Player of the Year: With three titles during the 2014 season including two majors (USBC Masters and PBA Tournament of Champions), 2012-13 Player of the Year Jason Belmonte of Australia is the favorite to successfully defend his Player of the Year crown. The last player to win consecutive Player of the Year crowns was PBA Hall of Famer Walter Ray Williams Jr. who earned the crown in 1996, 1997 and 1998.
Belmonte, who uses the unique two-handed delivery, also has a chance to become the first player in PBA history to win three consecutive major titles in the same season if he can win the PBA World Championship.
New format for PBA World Championship: Normally the PBA World Championship finals are part of the ESPN taping lineup during World Series of Bowling week. While preliminary qualifying to determine the World Championship finalists will continue to be determined through the animal pattern events and match play rounds during the World Series, the five PBA World Championship finalists will return to the South Point on Sunday, Jan. 11 for a live final on ESPN at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT).
World Championship will conclude 2014 season: The live telecast of the PBA World Championship will officially conclude the 2014 PBA Tour season. World Series telecasts will air on consecutive Sundays starting with the PBA Cheetah Championship presented by PBA Challenge Mobile Game on Sunday, Dec. 14 at 1 p.m. ET followed by the Viper Championship (Dec. 21), Chameleon Championship (Dec. 28), Scorpion Championship (Jan. 4), PBA World Championship (live on Jan. 11), PBA Challenge (Jan. 18) and World Bowling Tour Men’s and Women’s Finals presented by PBA (Jan. 25 on ESPN2).
Several women entered: The largest contingent of women bowlers in WSOB history are entered, including the PBA Tour’s only woman winner Kelly Kulick of Union, N.J., who won the 2010 PBA Tournament of Champions conducted at the Red Rock Bowling Center in Las Vegas. Among the other women entered are Missy Parkin, Laguna Hills, Calif.; 2014 USBC Queens champion Maria Jose Rodriguez, Colombia; Liz Johnson, Cheektowaga, N.Y.; Diana Zavjalova, Latvia; Yuya Kato, Japan; Natali Rico, Colombia, and Colombia’s Clara Guerrero, who made it to the ESPN finals of the 2013 World Series Cheetah Championship.
Las Vegas’ role in professional bowling history: Las Vegas has hosted PBA events for more than a half-century making its visits there one of the sport’s great traditions. The first PBA Tour event was held at the Showboat Lanes in 1960.
2013 Tour champions return to defend titles: World Series of Bowling V champions who will be returning to defend their titles are Wes Malott (Cheetah Championship), Ryan Ciminelli (Chameleon Championship), Chris Barnes (Viper Championship) Tom Smallwood (Scorpion Championship) and Dom Barrett (PBA World Championship).
World Series events to use ‘blue oil’ lane condition: The Cheetah Championship presented by PBA Bowling Challenge Mobile Game, Viper, Chameleon and Scorpion Championship, PBA Challenge and World Bowling Tour finals will be contested on lanes conditioned with blue-dyed oil, introduced at the 2013 World Series to help fans visualize the variations in lane conditions used in professional competition.
PBA50 greats doing double duty: Six of PBA’s all-time greats who compete on both of PBA’s national tours are scheduled to compete. PBA Hall of Famers Walter Ray Williams Jr., Pete Weber, Norm Duke, Tom Baker, Parker Bohn III and Amleto Monacelli - compete on both the PBA Tour and PBA50 Tour. In June, Duke, the PBA50 Tour’s 2014 Player and Rookie of the Year, won the Senior U.S. Open at Las Vegas’ Suncoast Bowling Center and Walter Ray Williams Jr. won the USBC Senior Masters conducted at the South Point.
Busy week for Liz Johnson: As one of the eight women entered in the World Series, Liz Johnson will have a busy week by competing in the PBA Challenge qualifier, World Series Tour events and the World Bowling Tour Finals.
New PBA Challenge presented International Bowling Hall of Fame and Museum set for ESPN: Each year, the World Series of Bowling introduces a new feature. This year, it’s the PBA Challenge – a made-for-TV special event that will feature four “championship” matches – the PBA Women’s Regional finals, the PBA Regional Finals (for men), the PBA50 Tour Finals and the Teen Masters Grand Championship. The PBA50 Tour, Regional and Women’s Regional finalists will emerge from an eight-game round-robin match play qualifier on Oct. 24 at the South Point Bowling Center.
World Bowling Tour Finals return: The top three men and top three women based on two years of competition around the world will again compete in the World Bowling Tour Finals presented by the PBA in an ESPN-television event set for Sunday, Nov. 2. The top three men will be Finland’s Mika Koivuniemi, defending WBT Men’s winner Sean Rash, Montgomery, Ill., and Australia’s Jason Belmonte. The top three women will be defending WBT champ Kelly Kulick, Union, N.J.; Liz Johnson, Cheektowaga, N.Y., and Sandra Andersson, Sweden.