World Series of Bowling returns to its roots at historic Thunderbowl Lanes in Allen Park

Multi-tournament event started in Metro Detroit 10 years ago

By Paul Gross - Meteorologist

The Professional Bowlers Association’s 10th anniversary World Series of Bowling is returning to its roots at Thunderbowl Lanes in Allen Park.

ALLEN PARK, Mich. - The Professional Bowlers Association’s 10th anniversary World Series of Bowling is returning to its roots at Thunderbowl Lanes in Allen Park.  

This multi-tournament event started in Allen Park 10 years ago, and the then-new format was deemed so successful, largely due to the extraordinary efforts of Thunderbowl owner Tom Strobl, that it has become a very important annual part of the PBA tour’s season.  So it was a no-brainer for PBA Commissioner Tom Clark to make the decision to come back to Detroit, and he broke the news exclusively to me last year!


WSOB is a truly international showcase, with 135 bowlers representing 20 countries and regions headed our way. 

Bowlers are expected to come from Argentina, Australia, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Ecuador, England, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Puerto Rico, South Africa, Sweden, Thailand, Venezuela and the United States.

There are many, many opportunities to not only watch these amazing athletes, but even to bowl with them!  Pro-ams will be conducted on Sunday and March 17th.  For more information, call Thunderbowl Lanes at 313-928-4688.

Monday is a practice day for the pros…there are sessions at 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.  If you want to get autographs (or even take selfies with your favorite pro), this is the day to do it.  Remember that professional bowlers are without question the most grounded, fan-friendly of all professional athletes.  They are very approachable -- don’t be shy about politely asking. 

Tuesday through March 16th is qualifying competition for four different tournaments. Squad times are 12:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. each of these days:
 
Tuesday:  PBA Cheetah Championship
Wednesday:  PBA Chameleon Championship
Thursday:   PBA Scorpion Championship
Friday:  PBA World Championship casher round
Saturday:  PBA World Championship match play (note - 12:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. squad times)
 
And by the way, what’s with those animal names?  Each animal name represents a different type of oil pattern distribution on the lanes, which this greatly impacts equipment and technique decisions for the players.  So while one bowler may do well on one pattern, success may not be repeated on the next day’s pattern.  

That’s why the best bowlers in the world are the best of the best;  they know how to adjust to the different and changing oil patterns and create success on each.

The excitement then really ratchets up the following week.  Here’s a rundown:

March 18:  Cheetah Championship match play at 12:30 p.m. and 3 p.m., with the finals televised live on national TV starting at 8 p.m.

March 19:  Chameleon Championship match play at 12:30 p.m. and 3 p.m., with the finals televised live on national TV starting at 8 p.m.

March 20:  Scorpion Championship match play at 12:30 p.m. and 3 p.m., with the finals televised live on national TV starting at 8 p.m.

March 21: USA vs. The World finals starting at 5 p.m. (televised on tape delay and airing on Friday), followed by the World Championship finals televised live on national TV starting at 8 p.m.

Remember that you get to watch this action from the best vantage point that you’ll get at ANY professional sporting event and most tickets for an individual event are only $10-15.  You won’t believe how close you are, and this is especially great to bring the kids to.

Probably the biggest storyline for us at WSOB X is that history will be made:  This will be the first time in professional bowling history that four tournament finals will be televised on national television on four consecutive nights.  The official Bowling Capital of the World will certainly earn its stripes over the next two weeks!

Other compelling storylines include:

Reigning PBA Player of the Year, 23-year-old Andrew Anderson, is from Holly, and he’ll be here competing in his hometown!  Let’s all get behind Andrew and show him how some of the nation’s best sports fans support our local sports heroes. 

Another big storyline is Jason Belmonte defending his World Championship title and trying to set the record for most PBA major titles.  Like golf, the PBA tour has majors, and one of them will be competed here as part of WSOB X.  Four-time PBA Player of the Year Jason Belmonte of Australia will try for a record 11th PBA major if he can make it to the stepladder finals of the PBA World Championship. The 35-year-old Belmonte won the recent PBA Tournament of Champions for his 10th major title to tie Hall of Famers Pete Weber and Earl Anthony for first on the all-time list. Belmonte, who uses the unique two-handed delivery, won the PBA World Championship when it was last held in November 2017.

And here’s another:  Tour favorite Norm Duke, approaching his 55th birthday, beating the “kids” and winning the last two PBA tournaments.  Norm does well here…he’s won before…so will he extend his forty career victory total even higher?

And another:  woman standout Liz Johnson tries for another PBA Tour title!  USBC Hall of Famer and three-time and reigning PWBA Player of the Year Liz Johnson will be trying for a second PBA Tour title. Johnson won the PBA Chameleon Championship in WSOB IX to join 2010 PBA Tournament of Champions winner Kelly Kulick as the only women to win a PBA Tour title. 

Like all sports, bowling involves lots of statistics…Here’s a look at some of the numbers World Series of Bowling competitors will try to improve upon over the next two weeks here in Allen Park:
 
      4 – PBA Tour titles won by Jason Belmonte in WSOB competition.
      8 – Number of perfect games Dom Barrett has bowled in WSOB history.
      18 – Telecasts made by Jason Belmonte in nine WSOB events.
      40 – Number of countries represented in WSOB history.
      85 – Number of players who have made the TV finals in PBA WSOB history.
      195 – Total number of perfect games bowled in WSOB history.
      225.95 – EJ Tackett’s leading average for all WSOB events.
      227.8 – Sean Rash’s leading PBA World Championship average.
      239.88 – Jesper Svensson’s average in WSOB Chameleon Championship events, tops among all animal pattern events.
      329 – Number of players who have cashed in the WSOB.
      827 – Number of players who have bowled in at least one WSOB event.
      73,432 – Total number of games bowled in PBA WSOB qualifying.
      $317,995 – Jason Belmonte as all-time WSOB earnings leader.
      $2,903,304 – Combined earnings of top 20 on WSOB all-time money list.
      $6,630,750 – Total earnings paid out in PBA WSOB history.
      15,187,562 – Total number of pins knocked down in WSOB history.
 
I hope you have a chance to get out to Thunderbowl Lanes. You will be amazed at what these pros can do with a bowling ball…it seems to defy the laws of physics.  See you there!

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