Live World Championship Telecast, International Field, Return to National Bowling Stadium Among GEICO PBA WSOB Storylines

by Gianmarc Manzione 0

Reno’s National Bowling Stadium has been home to topflight bowling competition for two decades, but in December, Reno will host a professional international showcase for the first time when the GEICO PBA World Series of Bowling VII presented by Silver Legacy visits town Dec. 7-19.

The 2015 WSOB lives up to its name as the premier international showcase of professional bowling competition, featuring a field of more than 230 players representing a record 22 countries.

The WSOB will conduct six PBA Tour events, and a special PBA Challenge Finals all to be televised by ESPN.

Live Rolltech PBA World Championship Finals - For the first time in 14 years, a PBA Tour telecast returns to a live prime-time time slot when the Rolltech PBA World Championship finals air live on ESPN on Thursday, Dec. 17 at 4 p.m. (7 p.m. ET).  The World Championship is the fourth and final major of the 2015 season.

An international showcase  – As the premier showcase of international professional bowling competition, the World Series will feature representation from a record 22 countries, including a group of eight players from the People’s Republic of China, representing an emerging market for bowling in the world’s most populous nation.

The preliminary list of countries represented includes Argentina, Australia, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Canada, Colombia, China, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, England, Finland, Germany, Ireland Japan, Mexico, Philippines, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, Venezuela and the United States.

Other ESPN telecasts: In addition to the World Championship, ESPN will tape the finals of five other PBA Tour events on Dec. 18 and 19.  For a list of events and taping times click here:

Shawn Maldonado will be one of the relatively newer faces showcasing the two-handed trend at WSOB VII.

Is two-handed bowling revolutionizing the sport? Australia’s Jason Belmonte is recognized as the premier two-handed bowler in the world, but he’s far from being the only one. Finland’s Osku Palermaa also has made a mark on the sport with his high-speed, high-rev two-handed technique, and the WSOB will showcase some other emerging two-handed stars: Texas teenager Anthony Simonsen, Swedish teen Jesper Svensson and Southwest Region star Shawn Maldonado. It’s a new way to play the game and it’s a technique that is growing in popularity among youngsters just getting started.

PBA Hall of Famers entered: The field includes six PBA Hall of Famers – Tom Baker, Parker Bohn III, Norm Duke, Amleto Monacelli, Pete Weber and Walter Ray Williams Jr.

Past World Championship winners entered: Dom Barrett (Dec. 2013), Parker Bohn III (Jan. 2013), Osku Palermaa (2012), Tom Smallwood (2009), Walter Ray Williams Jr. (2001, ’03, ’06),  Norm Duke (2008 (2), 2000), Pete Weber (1989, ’98), Tom Baker (2004), Patrick Allen (2005).

Boston Red Sox star Mookie Betts to make PBA debut: Emerging Boston Red Sox outfield star Mookie Betts will make his professional bowling debut during WSOB VII. The Nashville resident was a standout youth bowler and wants to test his bowling skills against the best in the world in Reno where he’ll compete in the four animal pattern events.

“Xtra Frame” provides world-wide exposure for PBA – Xtra Frame, the PBA’s online television channel, will provide approximately 75 hours of live coverage of qualifying and match play rounds during the World Series, providing the PBA with global exposure. The subscription-based webcasting service continues to show steady growth as one element of the PBA’s comprehensive social media presence, which also includes growing audiences on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

World Series to play role in determining Player of the Year – With two major titles won earlier in 2015 (USBC Masters and Barbasol PBA Tournament of Champions), Jason Belmonte is the leading contender to win his third consecutive Player of the Year crown. The last player to win three consecutive Player of the Year crowns was PBA Hall of Famer Walter Ray Williams Jr. who earned the crown in 1996, 1997 and 1998.

The World Series Tour events will conclude the 2015 PBA Tour season. The telecasts will begin airing on consecutive Sundays beginning with the PBA Cheetah Championship presented by PBA Mobile Challenge Game presented by Concrete Software and Sunday, Dec. 20 at 1 p.m. ET. For complete WSOB TV schedule visit

Rolltech PBA World Championship wagering: For the first time bowling fans of legal gambling age will be able to bet on the outcome of the World Championship through sports book venues in Las Vegas and Reno. Reno properties offering World Championship wagering include the Silver Legacy and Circus Circus. Las Vegas properties that will offer World Championship wagering are Aria, Bellagio, Circus Circus, Excalibur, Luxor, Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand, Mirage, Monte Carlo, New York New York.

PBA Tour rookies in the spotlight as well: 2015 may be producing the best crop of “rookies” the PBA has seen in years. Among the top contenders for Rookie of the Year honors are: 18-year-old Anthony Simonsen of Princeton, Texas; collegiate star A.J. Johnson of Oswego, Ill.; USBC Open Championships record-setter Matt McNiel of Prior Lake, Minn., and Jakob Butturff of Chandler, Ariz.

Six women entered: Women entered include: Missy Parkin, Laguna Hills, Calif.; Elise Bolton, Merritt Island, Fla.; Liz Kuhlkin, Rotterdam, N.Y.; April Lord-Wittig, Steilacom, Wash.; Inngellimar Beasley, Venezuela, and Yuka Tsuchiya, Japan.

PBA Challenge Finals highlight other aspects of PBA: The PBA created the “PBA Challenge Finals” two years ago to provide a national showcase for other aspects of PBA competition – PBA Regionals, PBA Women’s Regionals, the PBA50 Tour and youth bowlers via the Teen Masters. The PBA Regional and renamed PWBA-PBA Women’s Regional program invites the top player in competition points from each of the PBA’s eight regions to bowl a qualifying event for two berths in the ESPN-televised finals. The PBA50 Tour’s top eight players also bowl a qualifying event with the top two meeting in the ESPN finals event, and the Teen Masters boys’ and girls’ high school champions round out the PBA Challenge Finals field for the title as Teen Masters Grand Champion.

Reno’s role in professional bowling history – Reno has hosted topflight bowling competition since 1977 when the Reno-Sparks Convention Center was the host of the American Bowling Congress (USBC) Championships Tournament. Since then, Reno has hosted many PBA and USBC events which have been some of the biggest bowling events in history.

PBA Tour events include “animal pattern” lane conditions – Four of the World Series events – the Cheetah, Viper, Chameleon and Scorpion Championship – are names applied to specific PBA lane conditioning patterns. Each different lane condition requires players to be on top of their games in making the right lane and equipment adjustments to be successful. The ability to excel on all four lane conditioning challenges will ultimately determine the PBA World Championship winner.

Each lane condition for World Series ESPN telecasts will feature the “blue oil” lane conditioner to give fans a unique visual reference of what players must navigate when competing in the finals.

2014 Tour champions return to defend titles – Three World Series of Bowling VI champions who will be returning to defend their titles are Anthony Pepe (Cheetah Championship), DJ Archer (Chameleon Championship) and Michael Haugen Jr. (Scorpion Championship). Mika Koivuniemi (Viper Championship) and Mike Fagan (PBA World Championship) are semi-active this season and are not entered. Koivuniemi, who has experienced chronic back issues, currently is coaching the United Arab Emirates national team, and Fagan has returned to school in pursuit of a master’s degree in Business at the University of California in Berkley.

Admission tickets may be purchased in advance or at the door - .  For ticket information click on

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