SEATTLE – Over the past 12 months, Professional Bowlers Association veteran Mike Edwards of Tulsa, Okla., has been on a rollercoaster of emotions, ranging from the depths of sadness over the death of his father and his “little brother,” Tony Reyes, to the peaks of rediscovered confidence and passion for the sport.
Whether the next step will be a peak or valley, Edwards will find out on Friday, Nov. 2. He is the first to put up the $5,000 entry fee for the second edition of the PBA All-In Showdown, a winner-take-all special event that will kick off the PBA World Series of Bowling IV at South Point Bowling Center in Las Vegas.
“I just decided last night to go for it,” Edwards said Thursday. “I was talking with a couple of friends who encouraged me to get in. I’m throwing the ball good, so I thought I might as well give it a shot.”
Edwards, who turns 51 in December, will bowl against a field of up to seven other players. If the field fills at eight entries, the winner will walk about with a $40,000 prize. The format will feature three two-game elimination rounds bowled on the PBA World Championship lane condition. All matches will be webcast live on pba.com’s Xtra Frame online bowling channel starting at 3:30 PT on Friday, Nov. 2.
At this time last year, Edwards had no interest in the All-In event. In fact, he wasn’t very interested in bowling, period.
“A year ago, bowling was the least of things I had to worry about,” he said. “My father was having a hard time. He passed away in November. But over the past year, I got my passion and enthusiasm back. My wife (Samantha) and my mother told me Dad would want me to carry on, so I did.
“Last summer was probably the best bowling I’ve done in a long, long time,” he continued. Edwards, in his first year of eligibility, jumped into PBA Senior Tour competition in June and won the USBC Senior Masters for his first national title since winning his only PBA Tour title in the 1994 IOF Foresters Bowling for Miracles Open in Toronto.
But a week ago, tragedy struck again when long-time friend and fellow competitor Tony Reyes died in northern California from injuries sustained in a traffic accident.
“It’s been pretty emotional the past week or so with my little brother, Tony Reyes, passing away,” Edwards said. “I didn’t think I could stand the emotion of going to the funeral, but I thought the best thing I could do was go bowl and win for him, and I did. I won (the PBA Midwest/Southwest Region Barney’s Open) in Springfield, Mo., and I broke down afterward.
“That was my tribute to him. We were really close; he was like my little brother. I dedicated the tournament to him as my way of saluting him, and last night, I decided to keep it going. I told myself, you’re warm now, so you might as well try (the All-In Showdown). I’m feeling a little frisky right now.”
All comers are invited to participate in the 2012 edition of the All-In Showdown. The entry deadline is Wednesday, Oct. 17. In 2011, Tommy Jones of Simpsonville, S.C., survived three tension-filled matches, eventually defeating Sean Rash of Montgomery, Ill., 446-426, in the two-game title match.
To enter the 2012 event, contact Barb Wilt at the PBA office in Seattle (firstname.lastname@example.org or 206-654-6025).