Tackett receives second career Player of the Year honor after winning five titles and two majors in 2023

Following a career-best season, EJ Tackett of Bluffton, Ind. has been named the 2023 Chris Schenkel PBA Player of the Year.

Tackett won five titles, including two majors, and became the first player to earn the No. 1 seed in four majors during a single season. He received 82.5% of the votes by PBA members and the media.

Anthony Simonsen, who won three titles and finished in the top 10 in all 17 title events, was second with 6.8% of the votes. Kyle Troup edged out Jason Belmonte and Packy Hanrahan for third place in voting. Additional nominees included Kevin McCune, Jakob Butturff and Matt Ogle.

“It's really humbling to know that people think that highly of me and my accomplishments this season,” Tackett said.

With Player of the Year wins in 2016 and 2023, the 31-year-old Tackett became just the 12th player to win the award multiple times.

“Winning Player of the Year once was really cool, but winning it twice — that puts you in a pretty elite category,” he said. “Not a lot of people have done that.”

The PBA Player of the Year award bears the name of Chris Schenkel, a Hall of Fame sportscaster who served as the voice for the PBA from 1962-1997. Tackett and Schenkel were each born in the small county of Huntington in Indiana.

“It's a great honor to add another trophy with his name on it to the trophy case,” Tackett said. “Honestly, it’s unfortunate that I never got to meet him. I really, really wish I would have gotten to meet him. I think he would have been elated to know someone from where he's from was having success in a sport that he loved and was the voice of for so many years.”

Tackett led the Tour with $458,450 in earnings, 41,200 points and a 227.18 average. His five titles, two major championships and two runner-up finishes also led the Tour, while he ranked second with 11 top-five, 12 top-10 and 14 top-25 finishes.

Though Tackett won three of the season’s first five tournaments and ultimately earned the vast majority of votes, Tackett said Simonsen’s own historic pace helped him keep his foot on the gas.

“Obviously I bowled really well, but Simo did have something to do with it,” Tackett said. “He kind of drove me to different heights. I knew I had to keep bowling well and I had to keep winning events if I wanted to be hoisting this trophy at the end of the year.”

Simonsen won three titles and earned 13 top-five finishes while competing in all 17 title events. The 26-year-old two-hander finished no lower than fourth in the five major championships and no lower than 10th in any title event.

Though Simonsen made history with his top-10 finish streak, Tackett set a record of his own by earning the No. 1 seed in four of five major championships. Tackett said his two major victories were the highlights of his season.

First, Tackett avenged his 2022 title match defeat to win the season-opening U.S. Open presented by Go Bowling! That major title marked his first PBA Tour win in his home state of Indiana as he became the ninth Triple Crown winner in PBA history.

Two months later, in perhaps one of the greatest matches in recent memory, Tackett defeated Jason Belmonte to win the PBA World Championship presented by Pabst Blue Ribbon. After Tackett doubled in the 10th frame to clinch the win, his spur-of-the-moment celebration captured the essence of the 2023 season:

“It’s my time!”

Recent Chris Schenkel PBA Player of the Year Winners

Jason Belmonte, 2022
Kyle Troup, 2021
Jason Belmonte, 2020
Jason Belmonte, 2019
Andrew Anderson, 2018
Jason Belmonte, 2017
EJ Tackett, 2016
Jason Belmonte, 2015
Jason Belmonte, 2014
Jason Belmonte, 2013

Complete list of Chris Schenkel PBA Player of the Year winners