Katelyn “KT” Simpson’s favorite city on the PWBA Tour is without a question, Orlando!

It was an exciting week for Simpson that started with the PTQ at the PWBA Orlando Open. After eight games, eight players would earn spots into the Elite Field of the PWBA Orlando Open. Katelyn qualified in the 7th position averaging 207. She bowled 22 more games averaging 214 to earn the fourth seed for her first TV PWBA Stepladder Final on CBS Sports.

Though she lost her match, she quickly had to push it out of her mind and stay focused. Simpson was on the roster for the PWBA Orlando Regional the very next day. She added eight more games of qualifying to her week averaging 211 to qualify as the fourth seed of the stepladder finals which aired on BowlTV.

 

She climbed the ladder and won her first PWBA Regional Title defeating Kayla Bandy 222 to 203 in the finals.

After the 43 games were complete, Simpson could finally catch her breath and think about her exciting week in the Sunshine State!

When the PWBA Tour kicked off in April, Simpson, was among the star studded 2019 Rookie Class hitting the lanes for the first time as full-time PWBA Touring Players. Simpson was an All-American while competing at the University of Pikeville and was a member of Junior Team USA in 2015. After completing her undergrad, she served as a graduate assistant for two years sharing some of her knowledge on the lanes with younger athletes as she worked towards her MBA. She completed her MBA, talked to her family and decided to head out on the PWBA Tour. Her family was in full support of her decision and decided to make it a summer adventure!

Her parents, Terri & Wayne, who own KT Lanes in Emmett, Idaho and the famous Bowling Doodles, Blake and Adam, jumped into their RV and spent the summer on the road traveling from stop-to-stop. They tried to fit in as many pit stops and family memories as they could.

Blake and Adam who learned how to bowl at their home lanes as puppies were fan favorites at all the Pro-Ams and Fan Fests! They signed paw-o-graphs and took tons of photos while KT worked hard on the lanes learning more and more each week.

We chatted with Simpson about her exciting week on the lanes in this exclusive interview.   

Tell us a little about your first full season on the PWBA Tour:

My first year has been full of learning. I’m just trying to embrace the learning curve as best as I can. It’s been full of ups and downs and I’m doing my best to learn from both but especially the downs. I was really frustrated after the Connecticut PTQ. I didn’t have a good start, but I threw it great down the stretch and the pins didn’t fall my way. I sat down with our Tour Managers, Mike DeVaney and Steve Jacobs and we had a really good conversation about what I need to do better and how I can improve out here. I really just bought in to what they were saying and executed as much as possible these last couple events. I only want to keep getting better and I’m trying to learn as much as possible in this first year!

What were your goals going into the season?

My goals going into this season were to make as many cuts as possible and give myself a chance at Rookie of the Year. I didn’t really have many expectations because I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect! These ladies are good so to just be competing against them is a privilege.

The Orlando Open was a great week for you from start to finish! Walk us a little bit through the week from your perspective:

Yes, this week was a really good week for me. I executed pretty well, made most of my spares, had a few hiccups here and there, but I just tried to take what the lanes gave me and make adjustments as needed and of course Mike and Steve were a huge part of my success this week. I like when there is friction, so I was able to play my A game and stay aggressive!

What was your favorite part of bowling on you first PWBA telecast? 

The atmosphere was amazing. Intimidating a little bit at first because all eyes are on you at all times. I really was trying not to have the stone look on my face that I always get made fun of for! You could just feel the energy and the people rooting for you and that was so cool!

The cut was really tight between a few players going into the last game of the PWBA Regional ….tell us about those final games.

I had a rocky start. I made good shots but all 10 pins just didn’t want to fall for me all at the same time in a consecutive fashion so once I found the right ball that went through the pins the right way I just took advantage and put some good games together to give myself a shot at making cut. I knew what the girl close to me had shot the last game, so I knew I needed to at least beat that. I just told myself to make really good shots. Execute them and whatever happens, happens. I had a carry struggle. Four 10 pins and an 8 pin that last game so I knew I just needed to get as many pins as possible in those last couple frames!

Tell us about the final frame of that title match at the PWBA Regional. What was going through your mind?

Honestly, I sound kind of repetitive but just to execute a good shot. I tried not to think about anything else. Just focus, breathe and execute. See the shape first that I wanted and then to execute. Kayla did the right thing, she made me finish on the hard lane, it was a lot tighter, so it required a little more focus.

What balls did you use this week?

In the Orlando Open I used a Hy-Road X, a little bit of the PhysiX and AstroPhysiX and actually on the show when I switched to the Idol PRO that was the first time I had thrown it all week! In the regional, I used a little bit of a HALO Vision but mostly the Idol PRO!

What has been the hardest part about competing on the PWBA Tour?

These ladies are soooooo good! You have to be on top of your game all the time. They are sharp and if you are not on top of it, they will run you over. We also bowl a lot of games, so I’ve had a few issues with my hand over the course of the tour. I actually changed my fit in between the US Open and the second half of the tour. We may still have some tweaking to do. I had a couple skin patches on, on the show.

Though Simpson wanted to thank everyone at Storm for all they do, we want to thank her for choosing to throw Storm and Roto Grip on the lanes every day. We’re proud that she’s part of our team.

 

The PWBA Tour travels to Buffaloe Lanes North in Raleigh, North Carolina next for the QubicaAMF PWBA Players Championship September 3-8.