Maybe the most celebrated rivalry among contemporary bowling stars is the ongoing battle between Hall of Famers Walter Ray Williams Jr.
and Pete Weber
, made famous by WRW’s domination of PDW in their history of PBA Tour television battles.
In head-to-head duels on national television, Williams (left) has beaten Weber (right) nine times in 11 matches, including five victories without a loss in title matches.
Lesser known is the competition between the two that began more than 35 years ago, and has evolved into a race to become the first player in PBA history to win 100 titles at all levels of PBA competition. It’s a milestone that one or both PBA superstars could achieve before the 2016 season is over.
In the all-time titles chase, Williams – who made his PBA debut in 1980 – has won 98 times. Now 56, he’s the all-time leader in PBA Tour titles with 47, but also owns 32 standard PBA Regional titles, 10 PBA50 Tour titles and nine PBA50 Regional titles.
Weber, who joined the PBA in November 1979 at age 17 and went on to win PBA Rookie of the Year honors in 1980 – the same year Williams joined – ranks fourth in all-time PBA Tour titles with 37, but the St. Louis native is the all-time leader in standard PBA Regional titles with 48.
Now 53, Weber also has won four PBA50 Regionals and including his current hot streak of three consecutive PBA50 Tour titles to raise his total in that category to seven, giving him a grand total of 96 titles.
By winning his seventh PBA50 Tour title in the Johnny Petraglia BVL Open, Weber moved into a tie for 12th place on the PBA50 Tour career titles list with Earl Anthony (pictured above), John Hricsina and Dave Soutar. John Handegard is the leader with 14. Williams is alone in sixth place with his 10 titles.
No one else is in the neighborhood in overall PBA titles, in part because few players have bowled so many events at all levels of PBA competition with such a high level of success as Williams and Weber have done.
Parker Bohn III (left) ranks third with 63 overall titles (35 PBA Tour, 24 standard Regionals, three PBA50 Tour and one PBA50 Regional) followed by the late Earl Anthony with 55 (43 PBA Tour, five Regionals and seven PBA50 Tour).
So for now, at least, the race to 100 titles is a two-man contest and it’ll be a race worth watching.
PBA League’s viewership on ESPN up 14 percent
ESPN’s four-week series of PBA League telecasts from Bayside Bowl in Portland, Maine, resulted in a 14 percent increase in audience growth over the 2015 series.
The fourth annual PBA League competition was highlighted by the first Baker team 300 game – by PBA Hall of Famer Norm Duke’s GoBowling.com Dallas Strikers team in the semifinal round – and a great Elias Cup championship round battle won by Duke’s Strikers over long-time rival Pete Weber and his GEICO New York City WTT KingPins team.
If you missed one or more of the shows, the entire four-telecast, eight-hour series, featuring eight teams composed of 40 PBA stars, is now available on PBA’s YouTube channel.
The PBA and Bayside Bowl have already announced the PBA League will return to Portland, Maine in 2017, where the competition will be conducted in a newly-expanded Bayside Bowl featuring eight additional lanes and specially-designed spectator access.
Xtra Frame to feature extensive coverage of PWBA Tour
While the PBA50 Tour takes a break until the Suncoast PBA Senior U.S. Open May 29-June 3 in Las Vegas, Xtra Frame’s exclusive online coverage will focus on the Professional Women’s Bowling Association Tour.
Next up will be preliminary rounds of the Storm Sacramento Open May 14-15 and the first PWBA major of the year, the USBC Queens from the Orleans in Las Vegas May 20-26.
Texan wins PBA League Elias Cup contest
Patrick Prnka of Fort Worth, Texas, correctly picked the GoBowling.com Dallas Strikers to win the PBA League’s Elias Cup, also selecting the winners of five of seven matches correctly, to win the special PBA League Elias Cup contest.
As the winner, Prnka wins a replica Dallas Strikers jersey and a PBA bowling pin autographed by team members Bill O’Neill, BJ Moore, Shawn Maldonado, Tommy Jones and player-manager Norm Duke.
QubicaAMF PBA Regional Update: Regionals set for New Jersey, Ohio
The QubicaAMF PBA Regional Tour schedule for the May 13-15 weekend includes the Al Jones Memorial presented by Storm at Rockaway Lanes in Rockaway, N.J., and the Baldo Campana Memorial/Ohio Lottery Central/Midwest Open presented by Storm at Rebman Recreation in Lorain, Ohio.
The May 20-22 QubicaAMF PBA Regional Tour schedule includes theJ.D. Producing/Star Strategies/Orrivilon Inc. Central Open presented by Hammer at Triway Lanes in Wooster, Ohio; the Planet Bowl Southwest Open in Oklahoma City, and a Northwest Region doubleheader – The Shock Top/Budweiser Open presented by US Foods and Brunswick plus the PBA50 Daffodil Bowl Open presented by Sunset Chevrolet and Brunswick in Puyallup, Wash.
The Midwest Region will conduct a one-day Tony Grigat Allstate Midwest Open presented by Hammer on May 21 at Fox Bowl in Wheaton, Ill.
As PBA50 players head toward Las Vegas and the Suncoast PBA U.S. Senior Open presented by 900 Global May 29-June 3, they’ll have a couple of regional opportunities in Arizona – the 7th annual Lona King Saguaro West Open at Johnson Lanes in Sun City West, May 23-25, and the PBA50 Miller Lite Western Open at Starlite Lanes in Flagstaff May 25-27.
Over the May 27-29 Memorial Day weekend, QubicaAMF PBA Regional competition will include the Junction City Bowl Southwest/Midwest Open presented by MOTIV in Junction City, Kan. (which was originally scheduled for May 13-15); and the Colony Park Lanes East Challenge for non-title winners in York, Pa.
For complete QubicaAMF PBA Regional schedules, rules and entry information, click here to find the event(s) in your area.
The recently-completed PBA50 Johnny Petraglia BVL Open raised just shy of $50,000 in support of the Bowlers to Veterans Link, but Farmingdale Lanes proprietor and tournament host John LaSpina, who also is national chairman of the bowling industry’s BVL Committee, has hopes the event will continue to generate revenue to help America’s military veterans.
One way bowling fans can help the BVL cause is by purchasing a special BVL t-shirt from the USBC Bowling Store. For information about the limited-time, while-supplies-last offer, click here.
Reminder: Applications for the $1,000 2016 PBA Billy Welu Scholarship Award which recognizes exemplary qualities in male or female college students who compete in the sport of bowling are due by the June 15 postmark deadline.
The application can be retrieved by downloading two PDF files using this link.
Nominations can be sent to [email protected] or through the U.S. mail at PBA Billy Welu Scholarship, 55 E. Jackson Blvd., Suite 401, Chicago, IL 60604.