Las Vegas, Nevada – Jon Rakoski woke up Sunday morning with one PBA50 Tour title. By the end of the day, he was a two-time title holder and a major champion. He received a text message in the morning from his ball rep Jeff Johnson ready to drill a new ball for him to use just in case they needed it. Johnson is always prepared, and he did not want to leave a hole in Rakoski’s arsenal ahead of his first-ever championship match at the  2024 USBC Senior Masters.

“Jeff Johnson is a lifesaver. I love this guy to death,” Rakoski said. “He did an awesome job laying out all of my equipment. It is an honor to have him behind me.”

Earlier in the week during match play, Johnson told Rakoski he needed to use a different ball on each lane, but Rakoski told him that isn’t something he likes to do. Johnson came back with, 'Well, if you want to win you have to use this ball on one lane and that ball on the other lane.' Ultimately, Rakoski listened and struck out for 280 and won his match.

Johnson points to that moment as Rakoski bought into the process, which made it easier for him to again trust Johnson this time. To win the title, Rakoski needed “more pop in the backend” to overcome the urethane that went down the lane from the previous right-handers. So, he used the ball Johnson drilled for him on the right lane only in the title match. As with every suggestion Johnson had made during the long week, it turned out to be the right decision.

After going undefeated in match-play on Friday and Saturday to earn the No. 1 seed, Rakoski was nearly perfect in the title match against left-hander Mike Bailey. Up to that point, Bailey had put on an impressive show shooting 242, 277 and 269 for 788. However, in the third frame, he left the Greek church getting just two for an open frame and left the big-four in the seventh frame. All of his errant shots came on the left lane.

After Rakoski rolled his seventh straight strike to open the match, he gave a fist pump as he secured his second career title. On the first shot in the 10th frame, he left a 10-pin, clapped, smiled at the crowd, and pointed straight at Johnson. It felt good off his hand, but he thinks it might have been a little fast with all of the adrenaline he was feeling. He closed out the game with a solid 8-pin to earn the 278-200 win. He walked straight toward Johnson for a double high-five and a bear hug. Rakoski collected the $20,000 first-place prize.

“It has been a crazy whirlwind,” Rakoski said. “It is everything that I’ve put into my bowling career. It all came to fruition this week.”

After receiving his trophy from PBA60 bowler and USBC Hall of Famer Ron Mohr, Rakoski raised the trophy high in the air. As soon as he got an opportunity, he called his wife, Cheryl, who encouraged him to bowl full-time on the PBA50 Tour just las year.

“As soon as I heard her voice, I started crying. It was emotional. She is behind me 1000%,” Rakoski said. “I had a very successful first year and I said I’ll do it one more time and see what happens.”

In Bailey’s first PBA50 stepladder appearance, he set the lanes up ideally for himself. In the opening match against No. 5 seed Andres Gomez, Bailey shook off an open frame in the fourth, converted the 2-4-6-10 in the sixth and posted nothing but strikes on his other deliveries for a 242 game. Gomez had a chance to win the match but left a 10-pin on his first shot in the final frame, picked it up and got 8 for 236.

Next up for Bailey was defending 2023 USBC Senior Masters champion John Janawicz. Janawicz started with a double then back-to-back spares of the 10-pin. Bailey picked up the 8-pin in the first frame and followed that up with nine straight strikes. That ninth strike sealed his win after Janawicz responded with strikes on seven of his final eight shots. The final score was 277-267.

In the semifinal match, Bailey rolled his first clean game of the day. He started with a pocket shot that caused the 8-pin to lean right and remain standing. Bailey got the spare and added three straight strikes. His opponent, No. 2 seed Randy Weiss, was also making his first PBA50 Tour stepladder appearance. Weiss started with a spare and added five straight strikes for the lead. But in the seventh frame, Weiss pulled his shot left through the nose leaving the 3-4-6-7-9-10. The open frame was huge as Bailey struck from the sixth frame on for the 269-218 victory.  

Raskoski said his road to holding up the championship trophy was phenomenal. And it just so happens the Rakoskis’ are getting a trophy case built in their home. Eventually, this new trophy will join his trophy from the 2023 PBA50 Monacelli Championship, and his Eagle from the USBC Open Championships. “Oh my gosh, unbelievable. This is a crazy ride,” he said.

“It was special for both of us. We communicated well all week long,” Johnson said. “For him to get the trophy at the end was the cherry on top. I think it opens the doors now for the next win.”

Next up for Rakoski and Johnson, they will travel to Greeley, Colorado for the 2024 PBA Senior U.S. Open, with action beginning Thursday on BowlTV.


Championship Round Scores

Match 1 – Bailey def. Gomez 242-236
Match 2 – Bailey def. Janawicz 277-267
Match 3 – Bailey def. Weiss 269-218
Championship match – Rakoski def. Bailey 278-200


  1. Jon Rakoski, $20,000
  2. Mike Bailey, $12,000 
  3. Randy Weiss, $9,000
  4. John Janawicz, $7,500
  5. Andres Gomez, $6,000

Final standings - 2024 Senior Masters

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