Blake Joins Team Storm

Storm is excited to announce the signing of Blake “The Bowling Doodle” Simpson. We’ve had our eye on Blake for some time. At just 8 months old, Blake has captured the attention of fans around the world with his passion for the lanes. Blake practices at his "paw"-rents, Terri & Wayne Simpson's bowling center KT’s Lanes in Emmett, Idaho, where he chooses to throw Storm bowling balls.

Blake uses a ramp to deliver his bowling ball down the lane. He gets some strikes and his coaches say he’s a pretty good spare shooter. His high game is 100.

"We just put the ball on top of the ramp and we held a treat, like, above the ball," Katelyn “KT” Simpson, his coach, told KBOI in Idaho. "We're like, come on, you know, kind of helped him, showed him a couple times, just pushed the ball with his arms and he caught on and just started doing it on his own."

You can watch a video of Blake bowling HERE.

“He sometimes pushes it and goes to the side of the ramp and watches it go down the lane to hit pins.  He has never tried to chase the ball down the lane.  And always wants a 'high-5' after he bowls,” Blake’s mom, Terri Simpson added.

His coach, KT, is also a member of Team Storm. She started bowling at age three and her career has already been filled with success including a spot on Junior Team USA in 2015, member of the Pikeville University Bowling Team where she was an All-American, and nine 300 games. She is currently a graduate assistant at Pikeville where she is finishing up her MBA.

“We’re excited for Blake to join our team and meet Storm Nation fans across the country,” Gary Hulsenberg, Vice President of Business Development said. “You can’t help but smile when you watch him bowl. It’s a good fit because Storm is a family owned business and Blake’s family owns their own business too!”

Blake truly can’t get enough of the lanes.

“Most of his bowling schedule depends on how much time I have or if KT is home from college,” Terri says. “But we try to get him on the lanes at least once a month or so. Sometimes when birthday parties come in and the ramp comes out, he thinks it for him,” Terri, says.

Blake is a great ambassador at his home center. Many of the bowlers come straight to the office to see him before they bowl. Blake’s family lets him and his brother, Adam, come out to say hi to their friends at the end of league night. His favorites are the ones who remember to bring him a treat but he truly loves to make people smile.

“Everyone loves him,” Terri says. “The bowlers that come in and bowl league expect to see him here and if he's not here, they are very disappointed.  The junior bowlers sometimes ask if he can bowl with them. We have set Blake up on lanes beside them before and let him bowl with them.”

His owners hope to enroll Blake in therapy dog training in the future so he could visit hospitals and nursing homes to make more people smile.

We think he’ll fit right in at The Bowlers Company. Welcome to the team, Blake!

All About Blake:

Favorite Snack: K9 Granola’s Coconut Crunchers

Favorite TV Show: My brother, Adam Levine, and I love The Voice.

Started Bowling: When I was tall enough to reach the ramp (12 Weeks Old)

Favorite Storm Bowling Ball: 10 Pound Storm Big Hit

High Game: 100 (Most of the time I practice without scores)

Why did you choose Team Storm: I wanted to follow in my coach, KT’s footsteps.

Why did you start bowling: My family taught me to bowl because when they brought me home they wanted to be able to let me go to work with my Mom (Terri). They already knew I’d be a bowling dog but then they let me try it. I loved it! I bark when my family puts my ramp away before I’m done.

Biggest Bowling Dream: To bowl a 300, of course!

Favorite Bowlers: My "paw"-rents, my coach KT Simpson, and my favorite pro bowler Leanne Hulsenberg!

What tips do you have for other aspiring bowling pups: Their parents or coach needs to ask permission at their local bowling center. I’m lucky because my mom owns our center. Bowling pups must be able to follow commands and not chase the ball. Don’t forget the treats and the 'high-5.'

 


A Day In The Life on Tour | Danielle McEwan

We're hosting a Storm Fitness Challenge to start the new year! Each week during the month of January, one fan and one Team Storm bowler will go 1-on-1 to see who can take the most steps in  one week. Along the way, our players will share tips and their favorite healthy snacks with #StormNation. You can learn more about the challenge by clicking here.

Week 1 of the Storm Fitness Challenge will feature #TeamStorm member, Danielle McEwan.

Before we kick off the Storm Fitness Challenge, have you ever wondered what a day on tour looks like for a professional bowler?

We asked Danielle to chronicle a day in the life at one tour stop on the PWBA Tour this season. Here's a look at her schedule from the 2017 PWBA Sonoma Open.

 

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 26th

The week before the first PWBA event, I was in Hawaii for a couple of PBA Regionals. Therefore, travel started a day earlier than normal and included me getting to California from the opposite direction that I usually come from.

9:30 PM – Arrive at HNL Airport
Check in all my equipment and answer the questions I receive as to why I am in Hawaii with so many bowling balls, followed by the strange looks when I reply with “its ONLY 6”.

11 PM – Board my flight from HNL – SFO
As I was boarding my flight, I was paged and received a free upgrade to first class – which will definitely help make this 5 1/2 hour red eye a little less painful!

THURSDAY, APRIL 27th

8 AM – Arrive in SFO
Thankfully I got to sleep a little bit on the flight, on and off, however, I am feeling pretty awful and slightly cranky upon arrival to SFO. Nothing that a good cup of coffee can’t fix!

8:15 AM – Arrive at Baggage claim.
Well, the good news is, my bowling balls made it! However, it’s not looking like my suitcase did. After about an hour of searching, they figured out that its somewhere in SFO, good thing it’s a small airport! (More like one of the largest in the world – this is not good)

10:30 AM – Finally, my bag turns up! Life is good again.
My roommate for the next few weeks is fellow Storm Staffer Tannya Roumimper who was nice enough to pick me up from the airport. We now have about a 1 ½ hour drive up to Rohnert Park. Thankfully, it looks like my lost suitcase is going to help us avoid sitting through some nasty San Fran traffic!

12 PM – We arrive at our hotel.
Tannya is still suffering from jetlag, as she just flew here from Indonesia, and I am exhausted from traveling all night, so we decide to take a quick nap!

2 PM – Aaaarrrgggghhhh!
Not all that happy with my alarm going off, but I need to get up and start getting ready for practice.

2:45 PM – Eat before practice
We head out to search the area around our hotel and the bowl for some food, both for lunch and to plan ahead for the next few days. We won’t have time to drive in circles and look for food once we start bowling, so planning ahead is always key.

We decide on stopping at Chili’s for lunch. It was pretty yummy!

3:30 PM – Off to the bowling center
After filling our bellies, we head to Double Decker Lanes for practice.

3:40 PM – Take my equipment off the truck
Thankfully, the PBA Truck that was in Maine (a few weeks ago) drove straight out here, so I was able to put some of my equipment on it. Now it’s time to go gather it and get everything set up for practice.

4 PM – They announce the pattern! 😳😳😳😳
For those that may not know how to read one of these... This week is going to be like showing up to the first day of school, and taking a final exam. This pattern is NOT going to be easy!

4:30 PM- Official Practice

6 PM – Discuss my practice performance with the gurus
I have a quick meeting with storm reps Del, Jim and Mike to discuss what we saw throughout practice and determine what balls I need to drill for the weekend. We decide on drilling a new IQ Tour with a different layout than the one I already have with me, a Dare Devil Trick and a Pitch Black.

7 PM – Stock up on snacks
Stop at the store for the “living out of a hotel room for the next week” essentials.

7:30 PM – Dinner at one of my Favs! Who doesn’t love Chipotle!
I would show you a picture of what I ordered, but I ate it too quick!

8 PM – Arrive back at the hotel and get in a quick workout.
I hate skipping days at the gym, but given the day I have had and the long weekend I have coming up, I decided a big workout isn’t what my body needs right now. I decide to do some body weight work in the room (squats, lunges, push-ups and some ab work) just to get moving and stretch out.

8:30 PM – Prepare for tomorrow
Shower and do my hair so I don’t have to worry about it in the morning… This may take all night – Girls with long, thick hair… you know how it is. Guys who roll out of bed ready to go (which is so not fair!), just keep scrolling.

9 PM – Calm my mind
Tonight is a lazy night and I’m going to try to get to sleep as early as possible to make sure I’m rested up for the long day and hopefully long weekend ahead. However, I am way too excited / anxious / nervous and all the other emotions that go along with the first day of the 2017 season starting up tomorrow. So, to help calm my mind – I try to get a little work done to help make sure I’m as prepared as possible going into tomorrow. This includes plugging the new equipment into my list and going over my notes from practice once more while adding more physical and mental game tricks as I think of them.

Tomorrow is a big day. Goodnight everyone!

 

FRIDAY, APRIL 28th

7:30 AM - Wake up and start getting ready.
It currently feels like 4:30 am due to the time change so I’m moving a little slow this morning.

8:15 AM – Head to the Bowl
I have 45 min to get the balls I drilled last night off the truck, work them out and get myself ready for practice session #2. I don’t normally bowl both the night and morning practice sessions, but well, you guys saw the pattern were bowling on. That changes things.

9-10 AM – Official practice

10:15 AM - Breakfast

11 AM – Storm Meeting
The Storm reps decided to get every Storm and Roto Grip staffer together to go over a few things before the tournament starts up.

1:30 PM – Roll-Call in the locker room
Before each and every PWBA event and round we have Roll-Call. This is where we go over the format and rules and discuss anything else that may be important before heading to the lanes to get started.

12-4 PM – Bowl first round of qualifying (6 games)
Wow, that was a hard block. The lanes are not easy!! I’m already up against the ball return on the right lane and having trouble controlling what my ball is doing. This afternoon we will bowl 6 more games without are oil. This should be interesting!

4:30 PM – Lunch
I guess some people eat dinner at 5, so maybe early dinner?

5 PM – Arrive back at the bowl
Work out some surfaces for the next block as well as go over what happened block one and come up with a few different options for a game plan for the next 6 games.

6-10 PM – Bowl second round of qualifying (6 more games, 12 total)

  • I have no words…..
  • Today was one of the hardest days of bowling I have ever faced.
  • I’m exhausted
  • My body hurts
  • My brain hurts
  • I CAN’T WAIT TO DO IT ALL AGAIN TOMORROW!

10:15 PM – Back on the truck
After a quick meeting with the Storm reps, we decide to drill another ball that will hopefully help me through transition and clean up some of those disaster games. We decide on a Hy-Road, hopefully it does the trick.

10:30 PM – Now here’s the fun part.
Its 10:30 at night, I haven’t eaten since lunch and I’m starving, but what are my options at this time? Do I really want to eat anything heavy this late? Plus, we have to be back at the bowl in less than 9 hours! I decide to grab something quick that I can take back to the room with me, but it definitely wasn’t healthy so let’s just not talk about it!!

11 PM – Shower and get ready for bed.

11:20 PM – Finally, time to lie down! It’s been a really long day, and I’m hoping for tomorrow to be another long day as well.

As tired as I am, after a day like today, it’s going to be rough to turn the brain off and get to sleep. So many thoughts going through my head about what worked, what didn’t work and what I will do tomorrow. So I’m going to write some things down in my notes and then try to read a little, hopefully that will help!

Goodnight!

 

SATURDAY, APRIL 29th

6 AM – Wake up
I had a hard time falling asleep last night. Ended up getting under 5 hours on and off. Definitely going to need some coffee on the way to the Bowl today!

6:15 AM – Get ready
I am going to need some braid power today!

6:45 AM – Leave the hotel

7 AM – Starbucks!

7:30 AM – Arrive at the Bowl
Now I have a half hour to get the new ball worked out, set up my surfaces and get all taped up and ready to go.

8 AM – Roll-Call

8:30-11:30 AM - Cashers Round
That was a disaster! The pattern today played so hard, even harder then yesterday. On top of that, I was fighting some physical issues that come along with being uncomfortable and trying to force the ball to do what I want it to do. I was the cut going into the last game, and I struck one time, ONCE, uno… that is it, very frustrating!

12 PM – Lunch

1-4 PM – Match Play round
My roommate (Tannya Roumimper) made the cut, so I go back to the hotel to change and then come back and watch her bowl. Unfortunately, she leaves this round just as frustrated as I was the round before.

4:30 PM – Car Tetris
Now we have to figure out how to get 25 bowling balls into this tiny car, while still leaving room for our suitcases (which aren’t small)!

Success – This was a fun game of Tetris!

5 PM - Head back to the hotel
Usually Saturday night is for Pro-Am’s, but we are not scheduled for this week, so we have the night off. I love doing Pro-Am’s and meeting new people everywhere we go, however, with the way bowling this morning went, I am perfectly fine not touching a bowling ball tonight! Instead this slot will be filled with a much needed gym session which will hopefully help me let out some of my aggravation!

7 PM – Dinner
The best food to erase a bad day on the lanes – SUSHI, my favorite!

8 PM – Explore
After dinner we found a little area with shops and coffee places. We spent some time in a Barns and Noble scoping out new books for the rest of the season. Given that most of our season is spent traveling from place to place, having a good book is a must!


As for the rest of the weekend, we will be starting the Storm Spirit Tour tomorrow and will be staying out here in California for the rest of the week, going straight to Sacramento for PWBA stop #2. Tomorrow we will be doing Clinic at Double Decker Lanes, the center we just finished bowing at, and then will be traveling south of San Francisco to do some more clinics as well as some fun mini tournaments and meet and greets. I’m very excited to get to meet and work with everyone who will be coming out to these events. Until the PWBA Tour, I have not bowled in California before, so exploring this new territory and meeting new people is always fun for me!


Last Minute Gifts Every Bowler Will Love

Choosing the perfect gift for every person on your list takes planning. If you're like us, you're probably finishing off some last minute items this week! You're here because you've got a bowler on that list. We put together a list of some of the items that you can pick up for your favorite bowler at a pro shop near you. Need help finding a pro shop? We can help with that too. 

  1. Storm Intense: A new Bowling Ball always looks great under the tree! With the new Intense, our R&D Team is taking it a step further with the new RAD-E™ Core. Not convinced? Try out the Storm MatchMaker to see which ball might fit your game.
  2. GT Tape: This is a breakthrough in modern sport science. It provides stimulation to a variety of sensory nerves in the skin and surrounding tissues by amplifying touch sensitivity, increasing fine motor control, improving pain reduction, and heightening temperature and pressure sensitivity. For more information click here or watch this introduction video.
  3. Reacta Wipes: Christmas is the perfect time to stuff stockings with those supplies to keep those bowling balls maintained. Grab some Reacta Wipes from your local pro shop and keep them in your bag for a quick solution before and after bowling. Take Reacta Wipes everywhere you go since it is legal to use during competition.
  4. Abralon Grip Disc: You won’t spend too much time in a bowling center without seeing one of these come out of the bag. Abralon pads are the gold standard for refinishing bowling balls. Available in 180-4000 grit disks, they are what Storm utilizes in the factory.
  5. 3-Ball Rolling Thunder Signature: The all white version of our Signature Rolling Thunder series was a huge favorite for league bowlers last season. After feedback from bowlers in the field, this season we’ve added a version that includes more black in the design. If you’re looking for a bag that’s durable and allows you to find your bag in a crowd, look no further than this bag. All the details can be found here. Head to your local pro shop to order one today!
    BONUS: There’s a 4 ball version you can find here.
  6. Storm Nation Jersey:  A must-have for every member of #StormNation. This colorful performance bowling jersey designed by bowlers, for bowlers.
  7. Motion Polo: State Tournament is right around the corner? We've got a great selection of polos to outfit your whole team. An upscale design combined with moisture management technology makes this polo an excellent choice for performance and comfort on the lanes. 
  8. Storm Tees: Looking for something a little more casual for those nights on the lanes, we’ve got lots of new styles of Storm Tees in our Storm Shop. Pick up some for the whole family for your next mixed doubles event.Fan favorite: Storm Nation Tee.

    Stormmoji Grip Sacks: These fun accessories come in three different faces for the bowler who loves to show their emotions on the lanes!

  9. Storm Hoodies: Don't forget the fan who's always there to support their favorite bowler. It can get pretty cold in those bowling centers. We've got one in pink too! 

Did we miss something? Share your favorite items by using the hashtag #StormNation on your social media channels.


Like Father, Like Son

Fathers and sons can share many important milestones in their lifetime together. These milestones turn into memories that they'll cherish forever. Recently, Kevin and Travis Webster shared a milestone on the lanes. They have been bowling together on the same team for two seasons and they both started stringing the strikes together. They both shot 300 in the same game.

We talked to the Webster’s about this amazing achievement and what was going through their mind. Check out the interview below:

How long have you been bowling? 

Kevin: I started bowling 40 years ago and stopped bowling in 1997 when I was starting to raise a family and purchased my first home.  I started bowling again in 2016 when Travis started getting interested in the sport.

Travis: I started bowling less than two years ago.

Tell us about the night.  

Kevin:  It is a 3 person, 595 max scratch league.  I started out the night with a 194 game but felt I had a pretty good look.  Game 2 I started strike, spare in the 2nd, then struck out until a left a 7 count in the 12th for a 277 game.  Game 3 Travis and I got on a roll and just kept striking.  It wasn’t until about the 6th frame, the thought of us both bowling 300 games entered my mind.  I have previously bowled 300 and 818 in league play many years ago before I stopped bowling and rolled a 300 in a tournament a few months ago along with a couple of other 300’s while practicing.  I was excited for Travis because he only started bowling in 2016 and had the chance at a 300 game.  As the strikes kept coming, so did the crowd and other league members.  Travis struck out in the 10th and shot the 1st 300 of the league.  We celebrated for a minute, but I still had some work to do myself.  By the 10th frame, the whole house was standing behind our pair.  I threw a good ball in the 10th.  In the 11th, I left a lazy ten pin, but the head pin messenger came off the side board, rolled and knocked the 10 pin down just before the rack came down.  The crowd went crazy.  In the 12th, I threw a great ball flush in the pocket.  The crowd went nuts again and high five from everyone.  In the 4th game, I started with the front 4 strikes, and finished with a 236 game.  196-277-300-236 = 1007 4 game series.

Travis: During warm-ups after I got loose, I was already feeling pretty comfortable with my shot.  I finished the first two games happy with scores of 239 and 232.  Then in the 3rd game I was going strike-for-strike with my dad when the thought of both of us shooting 300 crossed my mind in about the 7th frame.  But I thought there was no way something like that would actually happen, with each of us needing 5 more strikes under pressure.  I'm before my dad in the lineup, so when I got up to the approach in the 10th frame I was nervous as ever.  It didn't help calm down my nerves seeing the whole league standing behind our pair with all eyes on me, even though they were cheering me on.  After a bad shot in the 10th that struck, I finished strong with 2 good shots to secure my first ever 300 game!  I finished the night with new personal bests in 3-game series, 4-game series, and obviously high game.  239 - 232 - 300 - 203 = 974

What ball were you throwing?

Kevin: Code Black

Travis: Code Red

Did your fellow league bowlers notice what was happening and cheer you on? 

Kevin: Yes, you could see people looking over and starting to talk around the 6th frame.  By the 10th frame, everyone around us had stopped and was standing behind our pair, cheering after every strike.  The support and excitement of seeing father and son, on the same pair, during the same game, trying to shoot 300’s was amazing.

Travis: Yes, I'm sure they all noticed even before I did.  It was about the 8th frame when I noticed our neighboring pairs backing off and letting me bowl uninterrupted.  After my 12th, the excitement really kicked in as all the high-fives and congratulations' poured in.

When you both had finished your games what was your reaction or the first thing you said to each other?  

Kevin: I was the first one to greet Travis after his 300.  I just hugged him and told him how proud of him I was.  This was only the 5th week of his second season, and to see the excitement on his face was priceless.

Travis: I think we were both so excited there weren't too many words as we just shared a hug right behind the approach.

I’m sure this is a night you will always remember. In your own words, what made this night so special to you?  

Kevin: The whole reason I started bowling again after a 20-year absence was to spend time with Travis and compete in a sport that I spent a great deal of time early on in my life.  Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine that both of us would shoot 300 games during the same game.  To be able to share such a rare accomplishment with Travis is unbelievable and special.  I think about the moment every day.

No matter what happens from here on out, we will always share that amazing night.  I couldn’t be happier and more excited to share that moment with my son.

Travis: It was just so unbelievable to have bowled my first 300 game with my dad there watching and bowling with me.  And for him to bowl a 300 of his own and share the moment with me was something I'll never forget.


Rhino Page Wins PBA Xtra Frame Kenn-Feld Classic

It was an all Storm final at the PBA Xtra Frame Kenn-Feld Group Classic at Pla-Mor Lanes in Coldwater, OH. In the championship match Rhino Page defeated Chris Via 190-173. The players were tested with challenging lane conditions throughout the weekend.  Players who were able to control the pocket and make their spares were more likely to survive each cut. Team Storm member, Via, was the tournament leader after 17 games of qualifying for the finals with a score of 3,660. Page, qualified for the stepladder in second with a score of 3,520.

This was the 10th Annual Kenn-Feld Group Classic in Coldwater, OH. For 9 years it's been a well-attended regional event but this season Coldwater, OH hosted it's first national PBA Tour event. It was also the final event of the Xtra Frame Storm Cup series. Rick Hartings, the owner of Pla-Mor Lanes, puts together a weekend full of events for the players and fans to participate in which includes two Pro-Ams, a golf outing, and more. 96 bowlers traveled to Coldwater to compete for the $10,000 first-place prize as well as a share of $50,000 in bonus prize money from the seven-tournament XF Storm Cup Series. There were also 86 local sponsors who contributed money to the event this year.

We were able to talk to Rhino after the event was over. Read the interview below:

How much does this win mean to you? 

Of course, every win means a great deal but this one is very, very special to me. I've come here, to Coldwater, for 6 years now and it's just the greatest place on earth. It's the toughest building I've ever bowled in. The fans are just phenomenal. It's so much fun outside of just the bowling. It's not just a bowling tournament it's an event.

To be here with so many near and dear friends after these last 6 years and be able to bring home the win, I couldn't be more grateful.

What balls did you use?

Before I came here, I pondered over and over and over what balls to bring. I even called my buddy Cody who lives here. It seems like defensive balls have always been the right play for me. This week I threw the Storm Ride. It doesn't seem like much of a ball but it's awesome and kept me in play. I managed the pocket. I didn't bowl more than 228 but I only had 3 games under 200. When you do the math of can I do 260 140 or 200 200 I chose to go the steady eddy route. Had that ball not worked or as you saw in the final match I had to go to a Dare Devil Trick. That is still one of my favorite balls ever.

What's next on the schedule for you?

I get a couple of weeks off. Go home and work on the game a little bit more and then go to the Korea Cup followed by the Storm Fair. Konnichiwa to all of you in Japan! I can't wait to be there!


Danielle McEwan Wins Nationwide PWBA Rochester Open

It all came down to the 10th frame at the 2017 Nationwide PWBA Rochester Open. In the end, Danielle McEwan of Stony Point, New York, defeated Shannon Pluhowsky 226-224 to win her third PWBA title. The win earned McEwan $10,000 and a spot in the Smithfield PWBA Tour Championship in Richmond, Virginia. We caught up with Danielle between her travels to ask her some questions about her most recent win.

It means a lot that I was not only able to compete but able to walk away with a title from an event in my own state.

CBS Sports aired the Nationwide PWBA Rochester Open where you earned your third PWBA title this week? What did it mean to you to take home that title for a tournament that was hosted in your home state?

It was awesome to have a PWBA stop in New York, my home state. Even though Rochester isn't very close to where I live, I grew up bowling high school and other state tournaments all over the state. Therefore, I found myself constantly bumping into people that started conversations with phrases such as "I haven't seen you since high school" at this tournament.

What were your favorite Storm Bowling Balls in your bag this summer?

All of them!! The patterns we bowled on this summer were so drastically different from weekend to weekend, having multiple options to choose from allowed me to be consistent each week. Some of my favorites that stand out are the Sure Lock, Phaze II and Code Red.

What have you been up to during the off-weeks of the PWBA Tour on the road to the PWBA Tour Championships?

They may have been off weeks for the PWBA tour, but they haven't been off weeks for me by any means. I just got home from traveling to Sweden for the World Bowling Tour event. I now will have 3 days to get back on this time zone, get some good quality practice days on the lanes and in the gym and then it's off to Richmond!

What do you plan to do on the off-season?

Over the last few years, I've competed on the PWBA tour, the PBA tour, the World Bowling Tour, as well as represent Team USA in multiple international competitions. Therefore, there is really no off season for me. As soon as the PWBA Tour Championship wraps up, I will be training with Team USA and will then go right into another World Bowling Tour event in Thailand. The rest of the year will then be spent competing against the guys!

Do you have advice for bowlers who might be thinking about going out to test their skills on the PBA Tour or PWBA tour?

The advice I always give people who ask how to get to this point is to plan out your stepping stone path. For me, my path started with high school bowling, which led to college bowling, which led to Jr. Team USA then Team USA, and then out to competing on tour. For others that might mean competing in local tournaments, to regional events, to national events.

If your goal is to compete on the highest level on either tour - set a game plan on how to get there and work hard every day for it.

What’s one thing about yourself that fans might not know about you?

I love flying and I love airports. It's just recently become a new obsession- 100% related to my travel schedule over the last few years. In addition to constantly booking flights, I find myself doing research and reading tons of articles and blogs on different planes, airports and everything that has to do with travel. If you ever have any questions about seats on different aircrafts, fare classes, upgrades, the best places to eat in any given airport or the best way to argue with airline representatives, I can definitely help you out!


Marvel Pearl Rookie Club

You spoke, we listened. We went into the vault and brought back something that was undeniably one of the greatest creations Storm has produced to date. There's been lots of buzz about the limited-release of the legendary Marvel Pearl. Fans of this bowling ball jumped for joy at the chance to throw it down the lanes again. #StormNation was buzzing with memories of achievements that came with this fan favorite. We've read your stories and shared your excitement as you threw your first shots down the lane with your new Marvel Pearl.

As we traveled to Bowl Expo, Junior Gold, trade shows, and tournaments over the summer we heard reviews on the Marvel Pearl from bowlers in every state. We also realized that there was a community of bowlers who were experiencing the magic of the Marvel Pearl for the first time. We loved hearing these stories and realized that there were probably more out there! That's when we created the #MPRookieClub. This "club" is for all those bowlers who didn't drill up a Marvel Pearl the first time it was in circulation but got their hands on one this time. These rookies have been sharing stories on social media for the last few weeks and we wanted to share a few of their reviews with #StormNation.

 Some bowlers just can't get over the ball motion.

"Love my new Marvel Pearl! Smooth roll right into the pocket. Great forgiveness. Does not disappoint. I can tell that I'll be rolling this one for a long time to come. Thanks Storm Bowling!" -Joyce K.

“I have a MARVEL PEARL and it is my most reliable ball for my game.” – Gord Emoff

Some bowlers are taking it to tournaments to try it out. 

Some bowlers just can't argue with the scores. 

Some bowlers are annoyed they waited so long.

“I just picked up this ball the other day from my pro shop and I'm blown away. I've never thrown a ball with so much control. This ball is so crazy smooth down lane it's a perfect fit in my bag for the medium patterns! I can't wait to use it competition! This ball feels like it was made for me, I wish I would've gotten an original. #MPRookieClub” - Noah G

Some bowlers just couldn't put it into words.

Are you drilling up a Marvel Pearl for the first time to start off your season? It's not too late to join the club and we want to hear from you! Post your a photo or video on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram describing your experience with the Marvel Pearl. Don't forget to post it with the #MPRookieClub so we can see it too!

One lucky fan will win a new Storm Spotlight Polo to wear on the lanes. Let's see those stories! Winner will be chosen September 8.

 


Boelter and Kelly Earn Title at USBC Women's Championships

Charly Boelter and Samantha Kelly have bowled with each other twice and have taken home 1st and 2nd place at the USBC Women’s Championship in the Diamond Doubles. In 2017, Charly rolled games of 258, 245 and 203 for a 706 series combined with Samantha’s games of 257, 217 and 224 for a 698 set to take over the lead. Their lead held until the end of the tournament. Both Charly and Samantha threw Storm and Roto Grip bowling balls to earn this title. We had a chance to catch up with the Diamond winners and ask them some questions about the event.

When did you start bowling?

Charly: I have been bowling for 31 years.

Samantha: I started bowling when I was 3 years old at Hoffman Lanes in Hoffman Estate, IL. My father was the GM of the bowling alley, and my mother was a bartender/ junior coordinator youth program.

How long have you been bowling together at the USBC Women’s Championships?

Charly: 2 years…last year by accident, really.  I’d rather call it a blessing.

Did you practice together prior to going out to compete?

Samantha: We did not practice together prior, just bowled some local tournament together.

Did you know the score you had to shoot prior to bowling?  

Charly: Yes, we looked at the score.  We both looked at it and said it was attainable, and let’s give it a shot.

Tell us about that day:

Charly: We had high aspirations on winning this tournament based on last year’s performance. The day started with our pre-tournament routines, which are somewhat similar…which makes it even easier to compete with her.  We took our time to get ready, prepared, focused, and revisit our plan of attack. We have an amazing relationship for two individuals that don’t know each other very well, and we just understand each other on the lanes, and are able to communicate with each other freely and constructively; like we’ve known each other, and our games for that matter, for years.  We came up with a plan and stuck to it the next afternoon.

Samantha: We both struggled in team, and stayed up late into the morning just talking about a game plan for the next day. That morning of the doubles and singles we got to the alley early, and both sanded a ball to 500 grit to create some hook right for us. It ended up working out in our favor. Yes we did know the score going into the tournament, but we also knew we were capable of shooting a good number just needed the pins to fall our way when we executed good shots.

What bowling ball(s) did you use during the event? 

Charly: Haywire then switched to the IQ tour (glad I drilled up some new stuff…lol)

Samantha: Phaze II and Code Red

What did you ladies do after you finished bowling to celebrate?

Samantha: Actually, we got on the road right after the tournament due to work obligations. We are planning to celebrate with our sponsor, Motion Plus Lanes in the upcoming weeks. It is an exciting moment we want to share with friends and family.

You set your scores pretty late in the tournament? What was the anticipation like waiting for the event to conclude?

Charly: I’m glad it was so late’ it was the longest week ever.  I kept my fingers crossed, hoping and praying it would hold

Do you have a favorite Storm bowling ball of all time? 

Charly: IQ tour

Samantha: Virtual Gravity

What advice would you give someone who’s going to bowl the Women’s Championships next year?

Samantha: Talk to the team, and have a game plan going into the tournament. Winning as a team everyone has to play as a team. I believe everyone needs to be on the same page as the breakpoint just may need to get to that breakpoint in many different angles.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Charly: Sam is the most amazing teammate anyone could ask for.  I am completely blessed to have fallen in her path. I would rather share the excitement (of a win) than have it myself.


 


Liz Johnson Wins the 2017 Women's U.S. Open

USBC Hall of Famer, Liz Johnson, started as the #5 seed at the 2017 Women's U.S. Open. To make history, she'd need to climb the ladder and defeat all of her opponents, for a second year in a row. That's exactly what she did! In the final match, she defeated Daria Pajak 188-176 to claim a record 10th major title. The two-time reigning PWBA Player of the Year, also won the 2017 PWBA Storm Sacramento Open and Go Bowling PWBA Players Championship this season.

We caught up with Liz after her victory as she was traveling home to Chicago.

Over the weekend, you were able to win your fourth consecutive and sixth total U.S. Open title. What did it mean to you to put that green jacket on again?

I am still in amazement of what happened Sunday Aug 6, 2017.  To be a part of history of winning my 4th consecutive Women's U.S. Open and my 6th overall is just an unbelievable experience and something I will continue to cherish forever.

 

Photo: PWBA Tour

As the 2016 reigning Player of the Year, what were your goals heading into this season?

After winning the POY the last 2 seasons, I was just hoping to just make some shows and hopefully come out with a win.  I never imagined I would have the 2017 I have had.

I am very humbled and honored to be able to still compete at this level.

There’s about a month before the Smithfield PWBA Tour Championship, what will you be working on to prepare for the final tournament of the season?

In the few weeks we are off I will probably take a break from throwing a ball for about a week.  I am going to Montreal for a trade show and heading to Storm Products in Utah for the first time so I am extremely excited about that.

What were your favorite Storm Bowling Balls in your bag this summer?

I have used my Sure Lock(s), Code Black(s), and Code Red(s) a lot but my go-to ball throughout the 2017 PWBA season has been my Storm IQ Tour.  It's been the most versatile ball, no matter what pattern we have been on.

What do you plan to do on the off season?

I recently sold my house in Cheektowaga, NY and bought a house in Palatine, IL with my fiancé Kasia so we will be getting ready for all the fun stuff that goes with that.  I also got invited to bowl the US Open in November in Syracuse, NY so I will be preparing for that.

What’s one thing about yourself that fans might not know about you?

I played softball from age 8 to 18.  I was a pretty good pitcher in high school and played on varsity from 8th grade until I graduated.

Do you have advice for bowlers who might be thinking about going out to test their skills on the PBA Tour or PWBA tour?

I would just say to try and bowl anything and everything you can.   Try and go to different centers .  If you have a "home" house have them put patterns out.  Spares are always a big factor in bowling tournaments so never press the reset button.

The best way to learn about the mental game or "being strong mentally" is going out and doing it! To me that's the best way to learn and get stronger.

 


Striking Against Breast Cancer Tournament

Striking Against Breast Cancer 2017

The PBA-PWBA Xtra Frame Luci Bonneau Memorial Striking Against Breast Cancer Mixed Doubles Tournament, sponsored by Storm kicks off this weekend. In its 18th year the tournament will host the largest field in its history. More than 320 bowlers will be competing in the event.

The story of the tournament travels back several years. Donna Conners and Luci Bonneau met bowling together in Houston and became travel partners on the LPBT. In 1999,  Bonneau was battling breast cancer and Conners stayed by her side. They discussed creating a bowling tournament to raise money for breast cancer research when her treatment was complete. Bonneau passed away later that year and Conners knew she had to create the event.

“This event has been around for 18 years and it is still growing,” Conners said. "It’s about people coming together for a dreadful disease. When you think about it, breast cancer doesn’t ask any questions. It doesn’t care if you a mother, if you a father, or who you are. Breast cancer hits everybody.”

Conners starts preparing for the next event the day after the current year wraps up. The tournament fills up quickly. Entry blanks are posted live on the website on January 1 and she starts receiving entries on January 3. In 2016, the event raised $84,000 to help fund breast cancer research and Conners is excited to expand the field and continue growing the event this year. Although the players are competing for a title and a $16,000 top prize they all know that this event means more than just that.

“There’s nobody in that building that hasn’t come in contact with somebody that has cancer.” Conners said. “I am very grateful that the PBA & PWBA have come together and given me a title for the players because they deserve it. The players would come here anyway and I know that, but I needed that title to help these players and their careers. I’m very grateful to Tom Clark and Chad Murphy and all the people involved for allowing me to award a title. I’m also grateful that people can watch the players compete live on Xtra Frame.”

Players travel from across the nation and around the world to compete in the event. Conners has a team of volunteers that give their time and help the event run smoothly. She says each year the volunteers keep growing.

This year the team has put together, Pennies for Pins, a new initiative to get fans at home more involved at the event. Fans can choose their favorite bowler and either pledge a flat donation or a “Penny-A-Pin” based on how many pins the bowlers knock down. Individuals can go to this website to pledge a donation: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSctRolxMIKSDTbtgZU24ARCiSu_5OvF3I_AxE_JTHWohVhHdA/viewform?c=0&w=1

“I am very blessed.” Conners said. “I don’t even know how to put into words how much I appreciate everyone that has been such a part of it. They say it takes a village to raise a child. Well, I am the child and I have an entire village helping me pull this off.”

Storm Bowling has sponsored the event since 2002 and each year the whole company tries to participate in the event in every way.

“Storm has been a proud supporter of the Luci for 18 years,” Leanne Hulsenberg, Marketing Coordinator at Storm Products said. “Not only do we sponsor the event, all of our pro staff and Storm employees participate in the tournament. Donna Conners and her staff of volunteers do an incredible job all year to prepare for this weekend and we appreciate all of their efforts to make this special tournament happen each year.”

Knowing that Storm Bowling is 1000% behind her event means a lot to Conners.

“Having Storm Bowling Products behind me is like having wings that just lift me up and help me fly.” Conners said. “I feel safe. I know that they’ve got my back and they’re always there to help me. Without these sponsors that like Storm Bowling Products, High 5 Gear, and all the many, many sponsors who donate time and money to come bowl the pro-am, this event would not be possible.”

Conners and all of her volunteers try to make sure that the players who participate in the event know how grateful she is for their presence and support. They have stayed with her and helped the event grow year after year.

“I do everything that I possibly can to make the players feel like they are rock stars.” Conners said. “They are rock stars. They deserve everything I can possibly give them. If I can find a way to give them more then I’m going to find a way. I want them to remember that when they leave here that they are worth everything that I can possible give them. They deserve to be recognized as the greatest players in the world.”

The Luci hosts a pro-am where amateur bowlers bowl with PBA and PWBA stars and help raise money for the cause throughout the event. They host a silent auction as well as several raffles and giveaways for all of the participants. This year, Conners has added a giant Plinko board that participants will be able to use to win prizes. It’s an important piece of the weekend. Conners does everything in her power to make sure that there is “positive karma” throughout the entire event and good thoughts for all the spectators and participants.

She also tries to make the tournament environment as fair as possible right down to the lane condition. Kegel comes in to provide the tournament with a fair but challenging lane condition. Every once in a while a player will get caught up in the frustration of the tournament. It doesn’t take long for them to regain perspective.

“I had one player tell me one time that this (lane) condition is awful,” Conners said. “I said, you’re right now turn around. Do you see this lady standing behind you? She has breast cancer right now. When you are on these lanes you are fighting to win. That’s what she’s doing too. She is fighting for her life.”

To follow the tournament on Xtra Frame, visit pba.com and click on the Xtra Frame link. For those who would like to support the event but can’t attend visit http://www.strikingagainstbreastcancer.org/ make a tax deductible donation online.

“Hopefully every player and participant leaves with positive and good thoughts.” Conners said. “I hope they know that I’ve done everything possible to help them. Each year I add something in to make it better. So we’ll see what happens.”