PBA Spare Shots: Jason Belmonte’s Star is Rising in the Eyes of Australia’s Mainstream Media
by Bill Vint | Friday, August 31, 8:51 AM
Despite producing several world-class champions over the past few decades, Australian bowlers have never been top-of-mind sport in their home country until Jason Belmonte began to gather trophies around the world. Even after raising to his stature as arguably the world’s best bowler, it has taken the non-stop promotional efforts by “Belmo” himself, a hands-on effort led by Australia’s Lynne Clay and the PBA’s constant coverage of Belmonte’s accomplishments to get key media doors opened.
After winning PBA Player of the Year honors in four of the past five years, becoming the fastest “millionaire” in PBA history, collecting nine major championships (among his 18 PBA Tour titles) and other unprecedented feats, the sport’s most popular (and/or most disliked) personality – depending on your viewpoint regarding his two-handed technique – has seen his “star” rise in his homeland.
Earlier this year, the Australia Broadcast Corporation – the country’s version of America’s ABC-TV – profiled Belmonte’s life and bowling career in a six-and-a-half minute segment on its popular prime time “7:30” magazine-style program (http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/meet-the-world%E2%80%99s-number-one-tenpin-bowler,/9847034).
In July, “Inside Sport,” Australia’s version of “Sports Illustrated,” published an eight-page tribute to Belmonte under the headline, “That’s How He Rolls” (https://www.pba.com/content/files/downloads/INSIDE_SPORT_magazine_July_2018.pdf)
And because Belmonte early-on embraced social media and its global platforms, he has cultivated a world-wide fan base. Most recently, working with the wildly popular “Dude Perfect” YouTube channel for the second time in four years, Belmonte helped orchestrate a series of outrageous “trick shots” that recorded more than 10 million views in the first 24 hours (www.youtube.com/watch?v=wSB9JvsBT4M).
Editor’s Note (pba.com feature photo): Dude Perfect is a group of former basketball players and Texas A&M University roommates who created what has become the second-largest YouTube channel in the world. The group teamed up with Belmonte in 2014 to create “Bowling Trick Shots 1,” which has since notched nearly 90 million views, many of them among the highly-coveted youth market.
Among the trick shots on the first episode was a “two-handed, 250-yard strike.” When he was approached to do a second version, Belmonte said, “After the success of the first video, I knew we had to up the ante. And after three days of shooting, I told the boys, I’m not sure how we did it, but we just made a better video…”
Watch both YouTube videos, and you be the judge.
BJI PUBLISHER DECLARES “BELMO” BOWLING’S MOST INFLUENTIAL PLAYER
Speaking of Jason Belmonte, Bowlers Journal International publisher Keith Hamilton, in his “Leading Off” column in September’s issue, declares “Belmo” as “bowling’s most influential” player, citing the eye-catching number of youth bowlers who are now throwing the ball using Belmonte’s two-handed technique.
Relating statistics from the recently-completed USBC Junior Gold Championships, Hamilton notes 25 percent of the U12 (12-and-under) age group bowled two-handed as did 24 percent of the U15 players and 19 percent of the U20 players. Overall that represented 21 percent of the entire field.
Hamilton’s conclusion: “By the time Belmonte is finished bowling, I’m not certain how many titles he will have won. But his impact on the game might just make him the most important and influential bowler ever – and, without question, of the 21st century.”
XTRA FRAME ON FLOBOWLING TO GO INTERNATIONAL FOR NEXT EVENT
PBA Xtra Frame on FloBowling will go international for its next event, providing live coverage of the final day of competition in the PBA International-World Bowling Tour Storm Lucky Larsen Masters from Malmo, Sweden, beginning at 2 a.m. EDT Sunday, Sept. 9.
Fans can track daily results of the Lucky Larsen Masters while the tournament is underway at his website: (http://luckylarsenmasters.com/results2018/). Australia’s Jason Belmonte is defending champion.
Also on the schedule for Sept. 8-9 is the PBA Grand Hotel Casino and Resort Southwest Open from Shawnee, Okla., Sept. 8-9. The PBA Double Decker West/Northwest Open presented by Roto Grip will air on FloBowling.com from Double Decker Lanes in Rohnert Park, Calif., Sept. 29-30.
All PBA Xtra Frame on FloBowling events are covered live from start to finish. Existing Xtra Frame subscribers need to transition their current subscriptions to FloBowling by visiting https://www.flobowling.com/claim-account. New subscribers can enroll at FloBowling.com.
PBA NOW ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FOR TONY REYES COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARD
The PBA is now accepting nominations for the 2018 Tony Reyes Community Service award, named in honor of the late PBA Tour player in recognition of his service to the bowling community. The award will be presented in early January to a PBA member in good standing, based upon the extraordinary community service, charitable and/or educational contributions the nominee has made during the 2018 calendar year.
The postmark deadline for nominations will be Thursday, Nov. 15. Nominees must be current PBA members in good standing. The winner will be selected by a PBA committee and announced during The Clash telecast on FOX on Sunday, Dec. 23, along with the 2019 Chris Schenkel PBA Player of the Year, Harry Golden PBA Rookie of the Year and Steve Nagy Sportsmanship Award winner.
Reyes award nominations may be submitted by anyone. Additional information and nomination form may be obtained by visiting https://www.pba.com/Corporate/Awards.
Past winners of the Tony Reyes award are: Parker Bohn III (2013), Missy Parkin (2014), Ed Godbout (2015), Rhino Page (2016) and Del Ballard Jr. (2017).
PBA REGIONAL UPDATE: FOUR EVENTS ON TAP FOR LABOR DAY WEEKEND
● Labor Day weekend will include the PBA60 Wilson & Sons Pest Control Super Senior Open and the PBA50 Mooresville South Open presented by Columbia 300 at George Pappas’ Victory Lanes in Mooresville, N.C.; the PBA50 Hammer/Strike Zone Alleys Open in Pottsville, Pa., and the 23rd annual Illinois Valley Midwest/Central Open presented by Ebonite at Illinois Valley Super Bowl in Peru, Ill.
● For complete PBA Regional schedules, rules and entry information, visit pba.com, open the “schedules” tab and click on PBA Regional Tours to find the event(s) in your area…and remember, you can follow “live scoring” for all PBA Regional events on pba.com (easily accessible for Apple device users using the PBA app).
● England’s Dom Barrett and wife Cassie became first-time parents with the arrival of Colby Henry Barrett on Saturday, Aug. 18, weighing in at 7.3 pounds.
● The PBA was saddened to learn of the passing of MaryAnn O’Neill, mother of PBA star Bill O’Neill, on Saturday, Aug. 18 at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. She was 63. The family has asked that memorial contributions in MaryAnn O’Neill’s name be made to the Polycystic Kidney Disease Foundation, 1001 E. 101st Terrace, Suite 220, Kansas City, MO 64131 or at https://pkdcure.org/.
● Anne Wangeman, wife of long-time PBA tournament host proprietor Jim Wangeman, passed away on Aug. 27 at the age of 83. The couple built and operated Harvest Park Bowl in Brentwood, Calif., which is approaching its 25th year of operation, and has most recently been host of the PBA50 Tour’s Northern California Classic. A Celebration of Life will be held at Harvest Park Bowl on Sept. 2 at 2 p.m. PDT. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Harvest Park Bowl Youth Scholarship Program, Harvest Park Bowl, 5000 Balfour Rd., Brentwood, CA 94513.
● FloBowling has retained Lucas Wiseman as its Senior Editor to produce editorial content for the PBA’s new live streaming partner. Wiseman, who studied journalism at the University of South Florida, has covered bowling for more than 20 years including stints in the daily newspaper realm and 13 years in public relations and social media positions with the United States Bowling Congress. Most recently he worked as the public relations manager for a national sports marketing agency and continued to cover bowling on a freelance basis.