Tyler Jensen Appointed to Oversee All International Business

BRIGHAM CITY, Utah – Storm Products, Inc. announced today that Tyler Jensen will oversee all international relationships in the Asia, Australia, Middle East, and Europe and guide the direction of the managers for each international territory. He will continue as the Chief International Business Development Officer.

“I felt ready to be less involved in the day-to-day business activities and concentrate on preserving the history of the sport of bowling,” Bill Chrisman, Chief Executive Officer of Storm Products, said. “Tyler’s experience within Storm and his other responsibilities is the perfect fit. I’m excited to have him in this position as he guides our international business forward.”

Chrisman plans to continue as the Chief Executive Officer, but will transition his focus to other responsibilities within the business including the historic bowling collection which will be curated at Storm Headquarters in Utah. Jensen will lead the overall direction and work closely with Tim Mack, Peter Somoff, and Robert Dong as they maintain their responsibilities for each respective region. Jensen will also continue to direct sourcing for products for Storm, Roto Grip, and 900 Global. With more than 20 years’ experience in the bowling industry, Jensen has dedicated himself to servicing his customers and mastering the craft. He has collected 15 PBA Regional Titles and was recently inducted into the PBA Southwest Region Hall of Fame in 2020.

“Storm has such long history of dedication to their international business relationships,” Jensen said. “I’m looking forward to cultivating those that already exist and developing new connections. I’m honored that Mr. Chrisman has trusted me with these responsibilities and has given me the latitude to continue to build the business.”

About Storm Products, Inc.

Storm Products Inc. continues to lead the bowling industry in innovation through our high-performance bowling equipment featuring the Storm, Roto Grip and Global 900 Brands. In addition to creating the highest quality of products that the top athletes choose for PBA and PWBA Tour competitions, Storm strives to inspire existing bowlers, foster and develop new bowlers, and educate those in our industry to provide exemplary service to all bowlers.


Shannon O'Keefe Joins Squad RG

BRIGHAM CITY, Utah – Storm Products is proud to announce that Shannon O’Keefe has joined Team SPI under the Roto Grip Brand.

“I feel like I'm coming home! SPI gave me my first professional contract and it's been 10 years since the last time I was with them,” O’Keefe said. “Not a day has gone by that I haven't felt the love and support from SPI so at this time in my career, it feels right to come home to my professional roots.”

O’Keefe began bowling competitively at the age of 16 and has collected 14 Professional Women’s Bowling Association (PWBA) Titles including 3 major titles. She earned the award of PWBA Player of the Year in 2018 and 2019 and has represented the United States as a member of Team USA since 2005. Through her determination and dedication to the sport of bowling she is an 8-time world champion, including the 2018 World Cup.

“Sometimes things just make sense, like adding bowling legend Shannon O’Keefe, to our already strong RG Squad,” Gary Hulsenberg, VP of Community Relations and Athletes said. “We have big plans on and off the lanes for Shannon and we can’t wait to share them with everyone in the near future!”

In addition to her dedication to the game as an athlete she promotes the sport and supports youth athletes through a multitude of coaching endeavors. She joined Mckendree University as Head Women’s Bowling Coach in 2014 and has been named NCAA DII/DIII coach of the year for the past 6 years. In 2017, she helped coach the Bearcats to fulfill their dream of winning the 2017 NCAA National Championships. She shares her passion for the sport of bowling with these young athletes as they are striving for success as well.

“I love the family the sport of bowling has given me, it's amazing how much bowlers are connected,” O’Keefe said. “At the same time, I'm able to compete at the highest level and travel the world while representing Team USA. Now I'm able to coach and share my knowledge, passion, and love for the game to our future!”  

O’Keefe will compete full-time on the PWBA Tour which kicks off in May and will be competing at Team Trials the first week of January which will be livestreamed on BowlTV.

About Storm Products, Inc.

Storm Products Inc. continues to lead the bowling industry in innovation through our high-performance bowling equipment featuring the Storm, Roto Grip and Global 900 Brands. In addition to creating the highest quality of products that the top athletes choose for PBA and PWBA Tour competitions, Storm strives to inspire existing bowlers, foster and develop new bowlers, and educate those in our industry to provide exemplary service to all bowlers.




Storm Products Inc. (SPI) and the High Roller organization are celebrating a 20-year partnership of service to bowlers. In addition, the High Roller organization will celebrate their 40th anniversary of creating competitive events this year. The brands of Storm and Roto Grip will continue their sponsorship agreement of the Military Tournaments in 2022.

The tradition of excellence that bowlers have come to associate with the High Roller organization started with Norm Edelman in the 1980s. Norm was one of the true innovators of bowling tournament formats and many of the enhancements that he created are still used today. His son, Brad, has continued to build trusted events that offer great competition and have developed friendships that last a lifetime.

“Working with Brad Edelman and his awesome High Roller tournament staff is effortless for our team because of their experience running exceptional events for bowlers,” Leanne Hulsenberg Tournaments and Events Manager said. “The 40-year history of the High Roller is like no other and Storm and Roto Grip feel extremely grateful to be a small part of not only the history but also the future.”

Currently, the High Roller organization hosts five events per year and services 7,000 bowlers throughout the season. Two of the most popular events that they host are the August Military Team Classic and Military Bowling Championships. These events invite military bowlers and sometimes civilians to travel to Las Vegas to compete in a two-day event with team, doubles, and single formats.

“It wouldn't be a High Roller event without Storm & Roto Grip!” Brad Edelman, President of the High Roller said. “As we enter another year together, our bowlers appreciate the partnership that we offer which provides the best of competition and equipment.”

Storm Products will provide resources to help the High Roller with on-site activations and provide resources to the events throughout the season.

Visit www.high-roller.com for brochures, info and entering instructions.

About Storm Products, Inc.

Storm Products Inc. continues to lead the bowling industry in innovation through our high-performance bowling equipment featuring the Storm, Roto Grip and Global 900 Brands. In addition to creating the highest quality of products that the top athletes choose for PBA and PWBA Tour competitions, Storm strives to continue to inspire existing bowlers, foster and develop new bowlers, and educate those in our industry to provide exemplary service to all bowlers. Visit stormbowling.com to learn more.



BRIGHAM CITY, Utah - Storm Products Inc. (SPI), is proud to continue their sponsorship agreement with the Japanese American National Bowling Association as the brands of Storm and Roto Grip will support the 2022 JANBA event in Las Vegas, Nevada which will take place March 6-12, 2022.

JANBA is the showcase of all Japanese American bowling tournaments. The organization is dedicated to creating an atmosphere where bowlers can compete while meeting others who share a love for the sport.

“At Storm, our purpose is not only to inspire existing bowlers and but also introduce new fans to the sport of bowling by creating a community,” Leanne Hulsenberg, Tournament and Events Manager said. “JANBA shares these beliefs and beyond that has created a family through their events. We’re excited to continue our agreement with this great organization as their national event returns to the lanes in 2022.”

JANBA isn’t just one tournament, it’s a new event every day. It’s an exciting week with a variety of formats and activities. Though the events were canceled due to the pandemic in 2021, approximately 500 bowlers will travel to Las Vegas in 2022 to compete, reconnect, and celebrate friendship on and off the lanes.

“The camaraderie of the bowlers is most important,” Jeff Okumura, JANBA President and Salt Lake City Regional Representative. "It’s not just about the bowling, this group is Ohana (family). Many lifelong friendships have resulted from participation in this tournament.”

For more information about the 2022 event visit, www.janbavegas.com or find JANBA Bowling on Facebook.

About Storm Products, Inc.
Storm Products Inc. continues to lead the bowling industry in innovation through our high-performance bowling equipment featuring the Storm, Roto Grip and Global 900 Brands. In addition to creating the highest quality of products that the top athletes choose for PBA and PWBA Tour competitions, Storm strives to continue to inspire existing bowlers, foster and develop new bowlers, and educate those in our industry to provide exemplary service to all bowlers. Visit stormbowling.com to learn more.

Collaboration Between Supreme and Storm Bowling Sells Out

BRIGHAM CITY, Utah – The official Supreme Storm Bowling Ball, a collaboration between Supreme and Storm Bowling Products sold out in minutes this week.

Earlier this year, Supreme reached out to the Vice President of Marketing, Steve Kloempken to collaborate on a product. We decided to work together to connect with a new customer base and create a product to expose our brand to those who might not be aware of the intricacies of the sport of bowling.

“Supreme is a strong, popular brand, and while some of our current customers and athletes such as, Jason Belmonte, were already big fans of Supreme, we recognized that this collaboration would likely inject a large number of folks into their local bowling center for the first time,” Kloempken said. “And for many it would be their first exposure to the Storm brand, which made us even more excited to do it.”

Though Supreme started as a brick-and-mortar skate store in New York City, their team quickly realized it was more than just a brand, they were creating culture. According to their official website, “Supreme established itself as a brand known for its quality, style, and authenticity.” Today, Supreme works with high end brands and leaders in every industry to create small batch independent items that fit their culture and are coveted by consumers.

Throughout the process, our team worked with Supreme to develop a product that would match their brand and would be desired by their fan base. When the announcement was released a few months ago, it was received positively and shared by their fans across the networks. When the product dropped this week, it sold out quickly, as most Supreme products do.

“At Storm, our company purpose is to continue to inspire existing bowlers and to foster and develop new bowlers,” Kloempken said. “We loved working with Supreme on this collaboration which sold-out in minutes and are excited to introduce new fans to the sport of bowling.”

To view the official collaboration, click here.

About Storm Products, Inc.
Storm Products Inc. continues to lead the bowling industry in innovation through our high-performance bowling equipment featuring the Storm, Roto Grip and Global 900 Brands. In addition to creating the highest quality of products that the top athletes choose for PBA and PWBA Tour competitions, Storm strives to inspire existing bowlers, foster and develop new bowlers, and educate those in our industry to provide exemplary service to all bowlers.

Storm Products Announces 2022 Storm Youth Championships Season

BRIGHAM CITY, Utah – Storm Products is proud to announce that that there will be nine Storm Youth Championships (SYC) events in 2022.

The first SYC took place in 2017 at the National Bowling Stadium in Reno, Nevada. Since that event, we have visited new cities each year, returned to some fan favorite cities, met nearly 4,000 youth athletes and their families, and awarded more than $306,000 in scholarship funds.

“In 2017, our team embarked on a mission to create world class experiences for youth athletes and their families,” Gary Hulsenberg, VP of Community Relations said. “The intent of the SYC was to create youth bowling events that welcome all youth athletes, celebrate making new friendships, give back to the bowling community by raising money and awareness for charity, and educate youth bowlers and their parents along the way.”

In 2022, our schedule will expand to nine events featuring four new host bowling communities. We intentionally take the SYC events to new cities each year in a quest to bring national events closer to home for more families.

2022 SYC Schedule:

February 18-20, 2022 - SYC Las Vegas – South Point Bowling Plaza, Las Vegas, NV

March 11-13, 2022 – SYC Delaware – Bowlerama, New Castle, DE

April 8-10, 2022 – SYC North Carolina – Victory Lanes, Mooresville, NC

May 27-29, 2022 – SYC Iowa – Big River Bowling, Davenport, IA

June 16-20, 2022 – SYC Ohio - Super Slam – Columbus Square Bowling Palace, Columbus, OH

August 12-14, 2022 – SYC Idaho – Westy’s Garden Lanes, Boise, ID

September 9-11 – SYC Kansas – Northrock Lanes, Wichita, KS

October 7-9 – SYC Coastal Classic – Planet Fun, Shallotte, NC & Little River Lanes, Little River, SC

November 11-13 – SYC Florida – Boardwalk Bowl, Orlando, FL


“Our team of volunteers have numerous years of experience in the sport of bowling, and we are excited to share those with all in attendance,” Hulsenberg said. “Our focus is on connecting the athletes and family members through experiences.”

Our SYC Team continues to strive to create events that include a welcoming environment where youth bowlers and their families are invited to visit great bowling communities, meet new friends, and learn by competing on challenging conditions developed by KEGEL. In addition to the tournament, each event includes optional activities that are available for bowlers who wish to participate in the popular activities. These include seminars focused on educating athletes and their families led by one of our Team Storm members and a practice session on the patterns. Though our country still faces pandemic precautions, our team is hopeful that we can continue to bring back our popular SYC social activities in 2022, that allow the SYC families to get to know each other off the lanes.

At each event, the top three bowlers in each gender and age-based division are awarded with bronze, silver and gold medals. In addition to the scholarship funds awarded to participants, at the conclusion of the tournament the overall champions receive a special SYC trophy, medal, and earn a SYC banner that will be hung at each SYC event until they age-out of competition.

In addition, each season includes one “major” event where we award the top two overall youth bowlers in each division with a spot on the Storm SYC All-American Team. In 2022, the Storm All-American Team will be named at the event in Columbus, Ohio. This will also host the return of the popular SYC Super Slam format. This four-day event during the summer when youth athletes are not in school includes an optional doubles and baker team event in addition to the singles event on the weekend.


Champions being crowned is a highlight of each event, but perhaps the biggest champions are the cancer patients that benefit from the money raised by linking the SYC with Ballard vs the Big “C” (BVBC), a non-profit founded by bowling Hall-of-Famers, Del and Carolyn Ballard. Each event supports BVBC in numerous ways.  Every entry includes a $10 donation to BVBC. On-site at each SYC, Carolyn and Del Ballard bring silent auction items for the SYC families to bid on. Since 2017, we have raised $46,430 in entries alone to support continued research in cancer treatment, specifically in head, neck, and throat cancer through the sport of bowling. BVBC also raises money for nutritional supplements and treatments for those going through the cancer journey. With the addition of the silent auction items on site, we have been able to raise $84,125 for BVBC.


Since the first event in Reno sold out almost immediately, we have added to the schedule consistently. We have taken the SYC to various cities all over the United States. The demand from centers across the country wanting to host an SYC has increased, and we have built a list of future sites that are interested. The bowling proprietors who agree to host an SYC share our passion to grow the sport of bowling and desire to give back. Although we would love to say yes to every request we receive to host an event, balancing our schedule with other youth opportunities that we support is integral to the success of the program. The core team that runs the SYC do so to give back to the sport of bowling and are not paid for their volunteer time.

Storm Bowling Products funds the SYC events and other youth events across the country because fundamentally, Storm is dedicated to fostering, developing, and encouraging new bowlers. The hope is this principle will encourage more youth athletes to stay in the sport for a longer time ultimately increasing the number of athletes participating in the sport of bowling.


SYC Champions continue to demonstrate their dedication to the sport of bowling after the event concludes. Many continue to find ways to give back to their local communities and encourage other youth athletes to participate in competitive activities or even find ways to start their own youth tournaments to grow the sport.

Past champions have continued to excel at the youth level earning national titles and representing the United States on Jr. Team USA. Some of the athletes have also used what they learn to compete collegiately and even on the PBA and PWBA Tours. Their dedication to the sport is evident but SYC athletes also learn to be dedicated to giving back and staying committed to their education. Through scholarship and the opportunities to learn about college bowling, athletes develop a desire to continue to learn at a higher level and discover their passions. The opportunities available to these bowlers through the sport of bowling are endless. The SYC builds connections for these families that can last a lifetime.

The current record for SYC titles is held by Spencer Robarge at 12 SYC titles. Robarge who now attends Wichita State University finished third at the 2021 USBC Masters. On the girl’s side, Jillian Martin holds the record of 11 SYC titles. Martin notably recently became the youngest PWBA Champion at 17 years old, earning the 2021 PWBA BowlTV Classic title.

“The SYC was created and continues to be conducted with a pure heart and clear vision that youth are the future of the sport,” Hulsenberg said. “If you have bowled or plan to bowl an SYC, we thank you. We are committed to growing the sport together and continuing to do good along the way.”


The demand for the SYC events is high and each event sells out quickly, but we do maintain a waiting list for each event. We've found that the only fair way to accept entries is to allow those to register on a first-come, first-serve basis on the Storm Bowling website. Entries for each event will open individually. A tournament guide about each event will be provided on the Storm Bowling website as the tournament date approaches.

Entries for the first event in 2022 which will take place in Las Vegas will open in late December.

We’re proud to partner with great companies to enhance the SYC experience at events including Storm, IAM Bowling, Kegel, Turbo 2-n-1 Grips, 3G Shoes, Ballard’s Bowling Academy and Master Industries. Scores are also uploaded live through the official scoring system of the SYC, BowlMetrix.

If you are interested in becoming a supporting sponsor of the Storm Youth Championships or would like more information, please contact our SYC Team at syc@stormbowling.com.

SPI Urethane Comparison

Watch the videos, then read what our employees have to say about it below!

(We're bowlers too, ya know)

When throwing the Fast Pitch, I had to play further right than I normally play and feel as though I was pointing to the pocket. If I kept my speed slower and really focused on visualizing my path, it’s a controlled shape that is predictable. For me, the Fast Pitch hooked later and never really overreacted on the back. When I threw the Pitch Black, I had to move my feet further left because it used energy sooner. During the test, I experienced what I normally feel when I throw urethane. My feet were further left so my instinct was to throw it right. If I did this with my normal speed and missed right, it didn’t quite get to the pocket. I had to stay slow and really feel it off my hand. Throwing this ball really held me accountable to what I’m doing with my hand.

Throwing the Rubicon UC3 was different than anything I’ve ever experienced with urethane. It was easy to find the pocket. When I moved to the shorter pattern, I was able to get it further to the right at the arrows and watch it roll perfectly into the pocket. I could miss right and miss it a little at the bottom, and it would still make it back to the pocket. I could miss left and it found enough hold to still hit the head pin. This ball allowed me to play the part of the lane that I feel most comfortable and play there longer. I’m positive that it will make it into my bag and might help me find success in the games in league that I’m currently struggling with.

-Blair Blumenscheid, Communications


Oil Pattern: Kegel Broadway, 37', 4.09:1, 23.25 mL
Ball Layout: 4x4x2

For me, the Fast Pitch allowed me to play extremely straight without sacrificing any hitting power. Of our three options, the Fast Pitch gave me the straightest path to the pocket and gave me the most amount of hold. As I moved to the Pitch Black, with its lower RG, I could open up my angles and still get that great urethane shape (early and smooth) even on the fresh condition which can often be more challenging with reactive. And lastly, when I moved to the UC3, the stronger cover and more dynamic core allowed me to create more motion and entry angle. I could move my feet inside about 4 boards from the Pitch Black and create the most shape with this, It wasn’t quite as much as I would see from a controllable reactive like the IQ Tour, for example, but clearly it was the strongest of the three urethanes.

-Steve Kloempken, VP Marketing


Oil Pattern: Kegel Middle Road, 39', 3.96:1, 22.85 mL
Ball Layout: 5x4x2

For me, the Fast Pitch allowed me to go the straightest. It has the highest RG value and lowest total differential, so I was able to stay straighter even with my slower speed and stay in control of the lane. The Pitch Black forced me a few boards left and hooked earlier. Since it hooked earlier, it was more forward downlane which gave me more control. For me, the Pitch Black is better if there is more volume, and the Fast Pitch doesn’t hook enough. The Rubicon UC3 forced me the farthest left, but still gave me control of the end of the pattern. I felt like it got the farthest down the lane but wasn’t sideways off the end of the 37ft Broadway V2 pattern I bowled on. I could confidently throw it to the friction to the right and know that it wouldn’t miss the spot. The UC3 is a great step off both urethane balls if the front of the lane hooks too much and you need to shape it more left-to-right.

-Alex Hoskins, R&D Manager


Oil Pattern: Kegel Broadway V2, 37', 4.77:1, 26.45 mL
Ball Layout: 5x4x2

The best thing about this trio of urethane balls is you get three distinct shapes from each of them. Fast Pitch is the cleanest of the trio and is why I must play the farthest right with it. You may see the break point is earlier, but this is just a result of my launch angle being shallower. SPECTO measures break point by telling when the ball stops moving right for a right hander and vice versa for a lefty. Fast Pitch is perfect when there is a little more friction on the lanes. Pitch Black provides the early hook with smooth down lane reaction I expect from urethane. I have to stand a bit further left of Fast Pitch because of this, but the ball doesn’t overreact down lane. Pitch Black is perfect for when there is a little less friction present or when the pattern is hard. Last is the UC3, which gives me a little more length than Pitch Black but is more responsive to friction and has the down lane reaction of an asymmetrical ball. This ball is going to be perfect for when I need a little more shape down lane as the front part of the lane goes away and I am forced left.

-Chayton Petersen, Technical Service Representative


Oil Pattern: Kegel Chromium, 42', 6.71:1, 25.56 mL
Ball Layout: 4x5x5 - 2LS


Victoria Varano Joins Storm Products Evolution Staff Team

BRIGHAM CITY, Utah – Storm Products is proud to announce that Victoria Varano is the third athlete to be named to the Evolution Staff Team through the Evolution Program. This position reserved for a small number of exceptional youth players who represent the future of the sport. The first two athletes who were chosen for this program were Spencer Robarge and Jillian Martin.

“This program is designed to connect the top athletes with our team as they work towards their goals to compete professionally in the sport one day in the future,” Gary Hulsenberg, VP of Business Development said.  “In addition, they have the ability to connect with other young athletes and share the positive impact bowling has had on their lives.”

Victoria Varano has been active in our Evolution Program and has excelled on the lanes in competitions across the United States for several years. In addition to her achievements on the lanes, Varano has exceptional grades and gives back to her community through service initiatives throughout the year. Varano is the title officer in Best Buddies International and she volunteer coaches the junior program at her home bowling center and volunteers in other activities in New York.

“It means so much to me to join Team SPI through the Evolution Program,” Varano said. “It’s a great honor to be acknowledged by the best company in the industry and know that they trust me to represent them.”

Varano of Stony Point, New York attends North Rockland High School. Locally she has been named the LoHud/Journal News Bowler of the Year, North Rockland High School MVP, Section One High Average, Member of the Section One Championship Team, Member of the New York High School Championship Team, and numerous other achievements through high school bowling. In addition, Varano has had national success winning two Storm Youth Championships (SYC) titles, finishing second at the PBA Junior National Championships, and finishing second and third at the Junior Gold Championships. She also earned a silver medal and two bronze medals at the 2018 Tournament of Americas.

“Victoria is a very dedicated individual,” Susan Varano said. “She strives to be the best she can be academically and athletically and does her best to share her knowledge with others. You can always find her helping younger kids learn the game she loves or encouraging friends and teammates to practice.”

Though Varano has many achievements in her resume her favorite memory on the lanes so far is making Junior Team USA. For her, this was the moment that all the hours of practice and the work paid off.

“I’m looking forward to representing Storm while inspiring other youth bowlers to be the best that they can be,” Varano said. “I would also like to help change the way non-bowlers see bowling and show them that it is really a sport.”

The Evolution Program is a free program open to all youth athletes who believe bowling is a sport and have a strong desire to learn and sharpen their skills on and off the lanes. This program has something to offer every athlete along their journey within the sport. Athletes in the Evolution Program receive an email on the first of every month filled with a variety of lessons to enhance their learning process in the sport of bowling. This program does not replace a personal coach but will give athletes items to discuss with their team during training sessions.

To learn more about the program and begin the application process click this link: https://www.stormbowling.com/evolution.

About Storm Products, Inc.

Storm Products Inc. continues to lead the bowling industry in innovation through our high-performance bowling equipment featuring the Storm, Roto Grip and Global 900 Brands. In addition to creating the highest quality of products that the top athletes choose for PBA and PWBA Tour competitions, Storm strives to inspire existing bowlers, foster and develop new bowlers, and educate those in our industry to provide exemplary service to all bowlers.





A Win For The Dreamers

Iowa may be known as being home of “The Field of Dreams” but there is a guy who lives there who has been focused on the “The Lanes of Dreams.”

For Tom Hess, the dream has always been to bowl for a living. In 2021, he’s been living his dream.

“It really is a dream come true,” Hess said. “What I did this year. To make 5 finals, win two majors, be named PBA50 Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year. It feels unbelievable.”

What if…

Everyone in their life has some “what if” moments. What if I had taken that job? What if I had made that move? What if I had talked to that person? What if I had chased my dream?

Hess doesn’t focus on the “what if.”

“I’m bowling against all the guys I would have bowled against 10 years ago, and I won,” Hess said. “Makes me feel like I was good enough all along. It’s a great feeling but I can’t look at it like that. You don’t know how it would have been if I had been out there full-time then. I was a different person, and it was under different circumstances. All I know is right now, it’s the right place and right time. I want to keep taking advantage of these opportunities.”

For Hess, it was always about supporting the people who supported him. In every interview, he will always share that he couldn’t have done any of the things in his career without his wife, Sue, who stayed home to raise their children and keep everything going in their home.

“It takes support at home to do what I’ve done and to be gone as much as I’ve been gone,” Hess said. “Bowling has always been a provider for us, but it takes a lot of determination to keep doing it when things aren’t going well. It takes a lot of heart. It’s not always easy.”

Tom and Sue have been together for 32 years and married for 21 of those years. Sue didn’t know much about bowling before she met Tom, but she started traveling to watch him bowl tournaments on the weekends, and she enjoyed learning more about the sport. She quickly saw the passion he had for it.

“I’ve always known that it’s his dream,” Sue Hess said. “It’s what he’s wanted to do his whole life. In the early days, as much as I wanted to, I knew that it was just something that we couldn’t give him at the time. As much as I wanted him to go out and bowl, we just couldn’t make it happen when our kids were young.”

Though it wasn’t in the cards to bowl full-time on the PBA Tour, Tom and his family found ways to allow him to compete locally, regionally, and at as many of the PBA events as possible while he maintained a full-time job to support his family.

“We knew it was a gamble,” Sue said. “Every time you step out on the lanes, you’re taking a chance. So, we found ways to support his dream while sustaining our life. It was hard but we always made it work.”

Tom continued to compete as a “weekend warrior” and bowl in events all over the country. He won numerous events locally and regionally. He earned his first PBA title in 2004 at the Midwest Region RPI Qualifier and then in 2011, the world got to see what Sue had seen all along. Tom won his first major title, the 2011 USBC Masters.

The Dream

After a series of top finishes and the win at the Masters, Hess qualified for the PBA Exempt Tour and finally felt like he could live his dream and go bowl for a living. Unfortunately, the Exempt Program was cancelled prior to the 2011 season.

“This was it, I was going to quit my job and go bowl,” Hess said. “We knew we could make it work but then it all goes away. It was just heartbreaking.”

Even though the situation changed, Hess didn’t give up. He bowled as many PBA Tour events that he could fit into his schedule while still maintaining a job to support his family. He’d fill in the other weekends with regional and local events.

“I’ve never just been a bowler, I’ve always had a job,” Hess said. “If we bowled for three weeks in a row, I’d come back and go to work.”

Though he continued to compete every weekend and find success there is a difference that many professional players discuss about the PBA Tour. Hess has always felt it too.

“I’ve won lots of regionals, lots of local stuff but the only place to practice the Tour is on the Tour,” Hess said.”

In the back of his mind, he still felt like something was missing. He still felt like he had more to prove, and he made a commitment to himself and his family, to go and chase his dream. Once eligible, Hess was going to go bowl full-time on the PBA50 Tour.

“I believed I could do it,” Hess said. “I knew I was going to be competitive. You never really know until you go do it.”

Though he made the commitment, Hess was faced with another setback. His first year eligible for the PBA50 Tour was 2020. Though the year started normal and Hess was able to compete in some PBA Tour events, things changed dramatically at the end of the World Series of Bowling.

“Originally I was planning to fly straight from the WSOB to Smyrna to watch my daughter, Megan bowl in the Intercollegiate Team Championships and Intercollegiate Singles Championships,” Hess said. “Since bowling went so poorly for me at the WSOB, I wanted to leave early and go home. I met Sue and we were planning to drive the following day. We got a late start and when we were about 30 minutes into the drive, Megan called to tell us it had been cancelled.”

This was the beginning of the COVID-19 Pandemic and in the following weeks and months, the world would be faced with closings and cancellations of most activities to prevent the spread of the virus.

“It was a great disappointment for me,” Hess said. “I gained some time at home with my family, but I missed out on an entire season of the PBA50 Tour and the other events I was planning to bowl due to the pandemic. Who knows what would have happened if 2020 would have been a normal year?”

It didn’t stop him though. He focused on staying mentally sharp and knew he’d be ready when the events returned.

“More than anything it gave me another year to be more anxious,” Hess said. “I just wanted to go chase my dreams.”

Finding A Community

The PBA50 Tour is filled with legends and Hall of Fame bowlers. In a given week the Top 5 can be filled with hundreds of titles and pages of achievements in the sport of bowling. To win on this tour, you must be on the top of your game. When the PBA50 Tour finally started it took Hess a little time to develop his process.

Even though I bowled pretty good in the first couple of events in 2021, I really pressed,” Hess said. “I was trying way too hard. Chris Schlemer came out to a couple of the events, and he had been the Ball Rep on Tour when I won the USBC Masters. We worked well together, and I started to settle in. I made a few finals and started to get comfortable.”

For Tom, he knew it wasn’t going to be easy to compete on the PBA50 Tour, but what he didn’t know was the community that he would find.

“It’s as competitive as the regular tour but it really is a community,” Hess said. “After bowling is over, people hang out. There are some bowlers who have motorhomes and barbeque. There will be groups that go out to go golfing during the down time but when the lanes turn on, everyone is out there to win.”

Major Couple of Weeks

At Storm, whenever we had a Tour Representative or an expert on to discuss the Rookie Class on the PBA 50 Tour on The Morning Bolt, Tom Hess was always in the conversation. Entering the final events of 2021 Hess had already had a successful season, but there were a few things that were within his reach that could make it better. After his performance in events throughout the tour, Hess was not only in contention for the PBA50 Rookie of the Year Honor but also PBA50 Player of the Year.

Things started falling into place when he earned the top seed in the stepladder finals at the Senior U.S. Open. He faced fellow Chris Barnes in the final match and took home the title defeating Barnes 256-209. This title gave him his second career national major title.

“Some people always called me a one-hit wonder,” Hess said. “Winning this title showed that I belong there.”

The year honors would be decided at the final event of the season, the USBC Senior Masters.

Knowing what was at stake, Hess started the event as the tournament leader and maintained that lead through qualifying to be the number one seed in the bracket. He went on to survive his matches in the bracket and earned the fourth seed in the stepladder final. To win the title, Hess would need to win every match and due to the double elimination format, he would need to beat the top seed, Chris Barnes twice.

That was exactly what he’d go on to do. In the end, Hess defeated Barnes 278-226 and 237-203 to win the USBC Senior Masters title and lock up the PBA50 Player and Rookie of the Year Honors.

According to the USBC Records, earning this title made Hess the fourth player in history to win both the UBSC Masters and Senior Masters and third to win both the PBA50 Senior US Open and Senior Masters in the same season.

Representing The Red White and Blue

For Hess, 2021 was everything he dreamed it would be and more but there was one more item that Hess hoped to add to his season. That was the opportunity to represent the United States at the IBF Masters World Championships in Dubai. He had submitted his application and eagerly waited for the official announcement. A few weeks later, he was informed that he had been chosen for Team USA.

“To be chosen by a group of my peers to represent the United States, that’s the cherry on top,” Hess said. “Once I get to Dubai, I know it’s going to be the best feeling I’ve ever had throwing a bowling ball. I hope to be able to stand on the podium and listen to the National Anthem with my teammates with a gold medal around my neck. I think it’s going to be really good.”

Though Hess followed his dream and certainly had the dream season, he’s still setting some big goals for next season.

“I want to build on this year,” Hess said. “Last year was a dream season but that doesn’t mean next year can’t be better. There’s no quit in this guy. I always want to try to be better than I was the last time.”

At Storm, we’re proud that Tom Hess continues to choose to be a member of Team Storm. He’s a great representative for our brand on the lanes and at events. As for his support system at home, they couldn’t be prouder of everything he’s accomplished.

“What he has done is amazing,” Sue Hess said. “It’s been a roller coaster but it’s worth it. Even when he’d have a bad weekend and tell me he was going to quit, I always pushed him to bowl. I’d say, ‘Don’t quit. Keep trying. Keep going.’ Putting yourself out there is the only way that you can learn and get better. We’ve always tried to teach our daughter that. To have the season that he’s had, it’s so cool. This really makes it worth it.”

Jillian Martin Makes History On PWBA Tour

Jillian Martin is no stranger to breaking records, but she made history Tuesday night when she became the youngest bowler to win a Professional Women’s Bowling Association (PWBA) Tour event at just 17 years old at the PWBA BowlTV Classic.  

As the top seed, Martin defeated fellow Storm Staff Member, Verity Crawley 221-188 to earn her place in the record books, a crystal trophy and claim the $10,000 prize. The record was held previously by PWBA & USBC Hall of Fame Member Wendy Macpherson who won the US Women’s Open as an 18-year-old. Wendy is a member of our Storm Hall of Fame Staff.

"I was very nervous going into that match, but I reminded myself how special it was to have an opportunity to win a tournament against the best ladies in the world," Martin said in the PWBA Release. "I wanted to make the most of it and have some fun. I kept telling myself that the whole match. I made a couple bad shots, but it was incredible to have that opportunity and be able to find success at the highest level."

Martin of Stow, Ohio joined our Evolution Staff Program in 2021 and is a member of our Storm Pro Team. This isn’t the first record she has broken. At age 14, Martin decided to move up and compete in the U20 age division at the most prominent youth bowling stage, the 2019 Junior Gold Championships. She led qualifying and is the youngest female to make Junior Team USA. She tied for ninth at the event.

 In addition to being a member of 3-Time Member of Junior Team USA, she has earned 2 Youth Open singles titles and one Youth Open All-Events titles. She was also named the Ohio High School State Athletic Association Girl’s Bowling Champion as a freshman. She placed second at the 2021 PWBA ITRC Classic and third at the 2021 PWBA Hall of Fame Classic won the inaugural PBA Junior National Championship in Florida and has claimed 10 Storm Youth Championship (SYC) titles, which is a record for the girls’ division. Her dedication to the sport of bowling on the lanes is matched off the lanes in the classroom where she maintains a GPA greater than 4.0.

Martin is certainly a rising talent in the sportt of bowling and it’s an honor that she has chosen to represent Storm Products. She will appear on "FOX & Friends" on Saturday to help celebrate National Bowling Day.

About Storm Products, Inc.

Storm Products Inc. continues to lead the bowling industry in innovation through our high-performance bowling equipment featuring the Storm, Roto Grip, 900 Global, 3G and Master Brands. . In addition to creating the highest quality of products that the top athletes choose for PBA and PWBA Tour competitions, Storm strives to continue to inspire existing bowlers, foster and develop new bowlers, and educate those in our industry to provide exemplary service to all bowlers. Visit stormbowling.com to learn more.