JT “Action” Jackson, who earned his nickname by bowling “action” with his comedian friends in Los Angeles, has challenged 17-time PBA Tour champion Chris Barnes of Double Oak, Texas, to a one-game, All-In Showdown match that will be webcast live on PBA’s Xtra Frame online bowling channel on Friday, Oct. 24, from South Point Bowling Center in Las Vegas.
Jackson, a 37-year-old left-hander, has won one PBA Regional title and has cashed only once in 34 PBA Tour events, but he has no fear of taking on one of the PBA’s most accomplished players in a one-game match on the challenging PBA World Championship lane condition. Each player will put up $5,000 and they will bowl for a $10,000 winner-take-all prize at 5:15 p.m. ET (2:15 p.m. local time) on Oct. 24.
“I called (PBA Commissioner Tom Clark) and asked him if the PBA was going to do an ‘all-in showdown’ like they did a couple of years ago. No one had mentioned anything,” Jackson said, “but he asked if I wanted to do something like that, so he called Barnes, and it’s going to be me against him.”
It was a last-minute suggestion but Barnes, who did his share of megabucks, high-stakes action bowling before he even began his PBA career, quickly accepted the challenge. He’s the only PBA player who has agreed to participate in every winner-take-all contest since the concept was introduced as a special event at the inaugural PBA World Series of Bowling in Allen Park, Mich., in 2009.
Jackson, who has cultivated a successful career as a comedian and actor, including featured roles in Kingsford Charcoal, CDW computer and Hulu television ads, said he got his start in “action bowling” in 2003.
“Around that time, I was doing a lot of standup comedy in Los Angeles,” he said. “Me and a bunch of my comedian friends started bowling. I had never bowled like that, but a bunch of guys – including Kevin Hart – started bowling every Monday. We’d bowl for $1 a pin, whatever, and I discovered I could throw the ball pretty good. I lost a lot at first, but I started practicing six, seven hours a day for seven, eight months non-stop. I really took it serious, and that’s how I got better.”
But put his record against Barnes’ and there’s no doubt who will be the favorite.
“Oh, my goodness, you don’t need to tell me that,” Jackson laughed. “But in one game, anything could happen. In a marathon, I’m pretty sure he’d prevail. But one game? I know who he is; I respect him as a great bowler, but for me, personally, nobody out there shakes me up. I’m not afraid of anybody.”
Jackson also said he’s got the confidence of Kevin Hart, a PBA League owner (Philadelphia Hitmen), and one of the hottest acting properties in Hollywood. Hart is actually putting up Jackson’s $5,000 stake in the contest.
“Kevin’s putting me in,” Jackson said. “He’s aware of what’s going on, so that’s cool.”
Jackson also said he’s going to take the match seriously, but if Barnes initiates any trash-talking, “What you give me, you shall receive in return,” Jackson grinned. “I’m not going to start anything, but I’d love for him to start talking trash, because I’ll give it right back. And then some.”
For Barnes, the winner-take-all action matches take him back to his pre-PBA days.
“I’ve always liked action. It doesn’t happen that much anymore, but that’s what I do. I bowl,” Barnes said. “I’d prefer a longer format than one game, but it is what it is. It gets your heart pumping, and $5,000 for one game will get my blood flowing.”
The Jackson vs. Barnes match will be part of the PBA’s WSOB Xtra Frame coverage, and another bonus for new subscribers who enroll in the new XF Season Ticket program prior to November 30. For complete details about the special XF Season Ticket package, visit pba.com and click on the XF Season Ticket link.