Bowlers Join Forces To Raise Funds In Houston

The PBA-PWBA Xtra Frame Luci Bonneau Memorial Striking Against Breast Cancer Mixed Doubles Tournament, sponsored by Storm kicks off this weekend. The “Luci”, as the touring players refer to it, is the world’s largest and most popular Mixed Doubles Tournament in the world.

A sold-out field of 160 doubles teams from all around the world will travel to Houston, Texas to compete in the 20th annual event.

2018 Champions, Liz Johnson and EJ Tackett

The brain child of newly inducted PWBA Hall of Famer, Donna Conners, the event represents the power of coming together in fellowship for a cause. Conners and Luci Bonneau met through bowling and became travel partners on the LPBT. In 1999, Bonneau was battling breast cancer and Conners never left her side. They dreamed of creating a bowling tournament to raise funds for breast cancer research when her treatment was complete. When Bonneau passed away, Conners knew she had to build the event they dreamed about.

"Upon starting the tournament, I had a plan and then worked the plan," Conners said. "My five year plan was met in three years, so every three years I made a five year plan."

Although the players are competing for a title and a $20,000 top prize they all know that this event means more than just that. 

All of the funds raised are donated to The Rose, a Houston-based organization that helps women who can’t afford breast care treatment or mammograms, and the Huntsman Group, a cancer research facility based in Utah.

"Taking care of the players was the main objective of the event but I've found that the players have taken care of me,"  Conners said.

"Together, hand and hand, we have grown this event. I have a theory that without the players, we don’t have a pro-am. Without the pro-am, we don’t raise money for the charity. With the the added support of all the sponsors and volunteers the event continues to reach new heights every year. I am so honored and forever grateful to all."

Storm Products have been proud sponsors of the event since 2002

We're proud to support the event in every way possible. In 2019, Storm joined forces with recent Donna Conners, to initiate our 2019 Paint the Lanes Pink™ campaign by offering 300 Limited-Edition !Q Tour 20™  bowling balls.

An exclusive club of 300 supporters have added one of these Limited-Edition !Q Tour 20 bowling balls to their collection. The Chrismans also elected to donate all the manufacturing costs to ensure the full $90,000 raised will go towards helping someone in the future.

"I'm truly speechless," Conners said. "It was an opportunity to raise money for the foundation that even I could not have planned for. I'm so thankful to Storm."

The tournament will be part of the FloBowling PBA Summer Tour and will stream live on FloBowling.

Teams will be split into four squads and bowl one 7-game round on Friday and Saturday. The top 40 teams will bowl another 5-game qualifying round Sunday. The field will be cut to the top eight teams who will advance to an 8-game round-robin match play final round.

For a complete roster of teams entered, click here. To learn more about FloBowling subscription prices and to watch live all weekend visit FloBowling.com.


A New PWBA Tour Season Begins

The 2019 PWBA season kicks off in Cleveland, Ohio this weekend and the ladies of Team Storm and Roto Grip are prepped and ready for a spring and summer filled with travel and trophies.

“I am very excited to get the 2019 PWBA season underway! Many of our returning PWBA staff have been steadfast in perfecting their craft during this off season. Our staff has been more diligent and focused in their tour preparations than ever before.” PWBA Tour Manager, Mike Devaney said.

PWBA Champions Liz Johnson (24 titles), Kelly Kulick (6 titles), Danielle McEwan (4 titles), Rocio Restrepo (4 titles), Bryanna Cote (1 title), Diandra Asbaty (1 title), and Elysia Current (1 title) will be looking to add more titles to their resume while our stable of non-champions will be striving for that thrilling first PWBA title.

“My goal for this season is to execute the process of performing.  My experience and athleticism build my overall confidence. Knowing that, I am capable of winning every week!”

– Kelly Kulick, newly elected USBC Hall of Famer and PWBA Champion

The Rookie of the Year race on the PWBA Tour will be a competitive one this season and Team Storm has four very talented young ladies aiming to win that honor.  Collegiate standouts, Gazmine Mason (University of Nebraska), Katelyn Simpson (University of Pikeville), Jackie Evans (Monmouth University) and Julia Bond (University of Nebraska) will be taking what they learned in their collegiate careers to the next level as full-time traveling PWBA Players.

“We have a group of first and second-year players who I am anxious to see compete on a more regular basis. I am looking forward to the opportunity to work with these players. To support players who are reaching for their dreams and seeing them actually realize those dreams gives you a very gratifying feeling.” PWBA Tour Manager, Mike Devaney said.

Some of these rookie players shared their goals for the season and gave us a glimpse into their mindset for the summer.

Gazmine Mason, a Collegiate All-American, was invited to participate in the CP3 PBA Celebrity Invitationals in February and won the Mini-Clash. She’s been diligently practicing and bowling tournaments to prepare for her first year on tour.

“My goal for the season is to win one title and qualify for the Road to Richmond Tour Championship.”

– Gazmine Mason, PWBA Rookie

Katelyn Simpson has been working toward her MBA at the University of Pikeville and will graduate in May. She served as a graduate assistant for two years sharing some of her knowledge on the lanes with younger athletes. Now, she’s ready to test her skills on tour.

“My goal for this year is to learn as much as possible, be consistent in making cuts, and if things fall into place, I’d like a shot at Rookie of the Year.”

– Katelyn Simpson, PWBA Rookie

Competing part-time on tour this summer will be Hall of Famers Carolyn Dorin-Ballard (20 titles), Tish Johnson (25 titles), and Leanne Hulsenberg (27 titles).  Leanne is also being inducted into the PWBA Hall of Fame on May 15 in Wichita before the USBC Queens competition begins along with fellow Team Storm members, Wendy Macpherson and Donna Conners.

Photo Credit: USBC

The PWBA season begins April 25. The ladies will travel to 14 events including 4 majors, the USBC Queens, the U.S. Open, the PWBA Players Championship and the PWBA Tour Championship to end the season.  Visit PWBA.com for more information.

Click here to learn more about Team Storm and Team Roto Grip.


Liz Johnson Wins WBT Tour Finals

The World Bowling Tour Men's and Women's Finals aired Sunday on FS1. Team Storm player, Liz Johnson earned the Women's WBT Tour Finals Title defeating fellow Team Storm member, Danielle McEwan 246-223.

Liz Johnson used a combination of the Storm Hy-Road X and Roto Grip IDOL Pearl to win the title.

Six players qualified for the Tour Finals by competing in WBT events around the world throughout the year. The top three players who earned the most points earned a spot in the TV finals to bowl for the title. The top three men who qualified were EJ Tackett, Anthony Simonsen, and Stuart Williams. The top three women were Liz Johnson, Danielle McEwan, and Daria Pajak.

“Every title is special," Johnson said in the PBA Press Release. "This was my sixth WBT show, but this is my first win."

Team Roto Grip players, Anthony Simonsen and Stuart Williams faced tough matches against EJ Tackett. Both matches were decided by just one pin. Williams was defeated 243-242 and Simonsen was defeated 233-232 in the title match.

Liz Johnson, Anthony Simonsen and Stuart Williams are currently competing in the PBA World Series of Bowling this week in Detroit.  All qualifying rounds can be watched live on Flobowling all week long.

Danielle McEwan will join Johnson, Simonsen, and Williams at the USBC Masters March 26-April 1.

To learn more about the athletes on Team Storm click here.


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.