Pete Weber’s emotional post-U.S. Open celebration, wherein he coined the unique phrase, “Who do you think you are? I am!” and Chris Barnes’ nationally-televised 300 game during Sunday’s ESPN coverage of the GEICO Shark Open continue to provide the PBA with national media attention.
Two of the most visible highlights for Weber were a “Professional Bowling Highlights” segment by David Letterman in his “Late Show with David Letterman” monologue on March 1, and a special Sports Report on the “Stephen Colbert Report” on Comedy Central. “Chelsea Lately” and “The Soup” on the E! Network also ran clips. A column written by Jim Litke for Associated Press distribution resulted in coverage in the Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Sports Illustrated.com and dozens of other major newspapers, television stations and websites.
The five-time U.S. Open champion also sat down for a lengthy interview on the “Dan LeBatard is Highly Questionable” show on ESPN2, and the number of viewers who had watched the full post-game celebration on the PBA’s YouTube segment was approaching 600,000, but a number of other YouTube posts pushed that total significantly higher.
Other media highlights include Barnes’ appearance on ESPN’s Week’s Top 10 Plays following his 300 game in the GEICO Shark Open telecast. Not to be overlooked was a New York Times front sports page feature on 14-year-old Kamron Doyle’s performance as the youngest casher in U.S. Open history. Doyle also was featured in Sports Illustrated’s “Faces in the Crowd.”
XTRA FRAME TOUR HEADS TO MOTOR CITY FOR DETROIT OPEN PRESENTED BY TRACK
Don’t forget: the PBA Xtra Frame Tour Detroit Open presented by Track is set for is set for live online coverage Saturday and Sunday from Thunderbowl Lanes in Allen Park, Mich., and the final Xtra Frame Tour event of the season, the Dick Weber PBA Playoffs presented by Hammer, is set for March 31-April 1 at Woodland Bowl in Indianapolis.
PBA fans can watch both live events for the monthly rate of $7.99. Visit pba.com (or xtraframe.tv) and sign up. The annual subscription price is $64.99.
REGIONAL ROUNDUP: AMATEUR TOPS WALTER RAY WILLIAMS JR. TO WIN IN PENSACOLA
Amateur Kristopher Prather of Milton, Fla., defeated the most successful bowler in Professional Bowlers Association history, 47-time PBA Tour champion Walter Ray Williams Jr. of Ocala, Fla., 268-258, to win the PBA South Region Pensacola Open at New Liberty Lanes in Pensacola, Fla., Sunday, March 4.
The victory was Prather’s first in PBA regional competition, but because he is an amateur, he doesn’t receive credit for a PBA title. The Wichita (Kan.) State University bowling team member earned $4,000 while Williams earned $2,100 as the runner-up in a field of 99 competitors.
In Muscatine, Iowa, Sean Rash of Montgomery, Ill., nipped Mike Steil of Wheeling, Ill., 248-247, to win the PBA Midwest/Central Region Plamor Lanes Open presented by Brunswick on Sunday, March 4. The title was Rash’s first of the year and the fifth PBA Regional title of his career. He also earned $2,500.
Bailey Palmer from Ottumwa, Iowa, was the first girl to earn a berth in the Teen Masters national finals, set for July in Cleveland, as part of a new Teen Masters qualifying program being held in conjunction with selected PBA Regional tournaments. Palmer had an eight-game total of 1,263 pins.
Zachery Fries from Davenport, Iowa, and Trevor Yanda from Waverly, Iowa, with score of 1,550 and 1,543, respectively, earned Teen Masters entries in the High School Boys’ division. Scores were recorded on the PBA’s Dick Weber lane conditioning pattern.
In Duncan, Okla., Casey Powell from Ennis, Texas., returned to PBA competition after a two-year absence due to work commitments and defeated PBA Tour champion Mike Edwards of Tulsa, Okla., 203-174, to win the inaugural PBA Southwest Region Duncan Etonic Open at Freedom Lanes Sunday. Powell eliminated reigning Southwest Region Bowler of the Year Chris Hibbitts II from Fort Worth, Texas, 181-179, to reach the title match while Edwards advanced thanks to a 212-193 win over Clint Dacy, Fort Worth, Texas, in their semifinal round match.
Kyle McKnight of Altus, Okla., won the first Southwest Region Teen Masters Boys High School Division qualifier with an eight-game total of 1,486 pins.
PBA Regional activity heats up over the next two weeks. Over the March 16-18 weekend, the PBA Central and East Regions will combine for the second annual Hubbard Open presented by DV8 at Bell Wick Bowl in Hubbard, Ohio; the West and Northwest Regions will host the DV8 Chameleon Open at Caveman Bowl in Grants Pass, Ore.; the South Region hosts the Franklin Senior Open presented by Track at Franklin Bowling Center in Franklin, Va.; and the East Region will conduct the Rossi Lanes/Storm Senior Open in Elmira, N.Y.
The March 23-25 weekend schedule includes the Midwest/Central Region’s Milan Lanes Senior Viper Open presented by Allstate Insurance in Milan, Ill.; the South Region hosts the Fayetteville (N.C.) Senior Open at Fayetteville Lanes, and the East Region will conduct the Mount Greylock Open presented by Storm at Mount Greylock Bowl in North Adams, Mass.
For complete PBA Regional schedules and entry information, visit pba.com, click on “Regional Tour” under the Schedules tab, and click on the link to the region of interest. For Teen Masters information, visit teenmastersbowling.com.
American PBA stars have turned the tables on their European counterparts after the international contingent’s dominant performance in the 2011 PBA World Series of Bowling. After the first three events on the 2012 European Bowling Tour calendar, Bill O’Neill of Southampton, Pa., is the EBT points leader, 30 points ahead of Mike Fagan of Dallas. Mika Koivuniemi, now a dual citizen of the United States and Finland, is third. PBA Hall of Famer Brian Voss is fifth on the points list after victories in the Irish Open and, most recently, the Wroclaw Open in Wroclaw, Poland. Voss defeated Latvia’s Daniel Vezis for the title in Poland.