Top pro bowlers make stop in West Michigan for PBA50 Tour event

PBA Senior Tour taking part in the Spectrum Lanes Open
PBA50 Tour comes to West Michigan
Posted at 7:39 PM, Aug 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-03 08:11:45-04

WYOMING, Mich. — 110 professional bowlers are in West Michigan this week for the PBA50 Tour Spectrum Lanes Open.

The entry list includes several Hall-of-Famers, major champions, and other big names.

"The list includes Pete Weber, Norm Duke, Chris Barnes, Parker Bohn III, Bob Learn Jr. and probably a dozen more that I didn't name," said Spectrum Lanes and Woody Press Box General Manager Mike Eaton Jr.

PBA Senior Tour in West Michigan

Pete Weber is one of the best bowlers of all-time and even after 37 national final victories in his career, Grand Rapids is still a place he remembers well.

"I won in 2003 and shot a 299 on TV," he smiled when asked about Grand Rapids. "I tied my dad in PBA titles at the time so Grand Rapids has a very special place in my heart."

Pete Weber makes stop in Grand Rapids
Pro Bowling Association Hall of Famer Pete Weber at the Spectrum Lanes Open qualifying on Monday.

Chris Barnes is a newcomer to the PBA50 Tour as he now does double duty on two tours bowling all over the country.

"I'm still competing on the tour and bouncing back and forth all summer actually," Barnes said after notching his 20th career win between the two tours. "I was in Lubbock, then Hammond, then Houston, and this morning I flew into Grand Rapids."

The bowlers admit the PBA50 Tour (or Senior Tour as it's formerly known) is a bit more relaxed, but don't be mistaken: Everyone is there to win.

Pro Bowler Norm Duke
One of the most recognizable names and faces in the sport of bowling, Norm Duke at Monday's qualifying at Spectrum Lanes.

"It's much different atmospheres, both tours you're trying to win and there's still a lot of people that are very competitive, this one is full of superstars like Pete and those guys that I look up to," Barnes added.

Even as he gets older, Weber hasn't lost his competitive edge, as seen in years past.

"If I'm bowling this tournament I'm here to win," he added. "This is competitiveness for me, but they're right; it is a lot more friendly out here and much more relaxing, and I'm not trying to beat the kids anymore."

John Burkett has 32 perfect games to his credit and that's after a 15-year Major League Baseball career in which he was a two-time All Star in 1993 and 2001.

Now, he's a professional bowler.

John Burkett
15-year MLB pitcher turned professional bowler John Burkett at Monday's qualifying event.

"My intention was to be a professional bowler, then I was drafted into baseball out of high school, I got $12,500 for my signing bonus so I was like, good I'll never have to work again, that's a lot of money," Burkett laughed, recalling his 18-year-old days.

While he notched his first PBA victory in 2019, it was on a regional tour. Now, his goal is to win a big and national event like the one here in Grand Rapids.

"That's the dream, I want to win a tournament, at least one, every time I come out here I think I can but sometimes I'm reminded maybe I can't," Burkett joked.

PBA50 Tour Spectrum Lanes Open
PBA50 Tour Qualifying at Spectrum Lanes on Monday.

The Spectrum Lanes Open will continue over the next two days, with the finals scheduled to begin on Wednesday night at around 7 p.m.