Chris Barnes (bowler)
February 25, 1970
Chris Barnes (born February 25, 1970 in Topeka, Kansas) is an American professional bowler currently on the Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) Tour. He attended Topeka High School, and then bowled collegiately at Wichita State University, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Management. He was a member of Team USA for four years.
Barnes, a right-handed bowler, is currently one of the leading professionals on the tour. He has won over $2 million (U.S.) in total prize money during his 15-year career on tour, and earned at least $100,000 in twelve consecutive seasons (1999 through 2010–11). He also won the PBA Rookie of the Year Award in 1998 and earned PBA Player of the Year honors in the 2007–08 season. This makes him only the third bowler in PBA history to win both Rookie of the Year and Player of the Year honors in a career (joining Tommy Jones and Mike Aulby). He is one of only six players in PBA history to earn a career "triple crown" (accomplished by winning the U.S. Open, PBA World Championship and Tournament of Champions). To date, Barnes has rolled 46 perfect 300 games in PBA competition, including one of the PBA's 23 nationally televised 300 games.
He has been married to Lynda Barnes (née Norry) since 1999. Lynda, an accomplished bowler in her own right, currently represents the United States in international competition as a 12-time member of Team USA, and won both the 2008 USBC Queens and 2008 USBC Clash of the Champions tournaments.
The couple lives in Double Oak, Texas. Their twin sons, Troy and Ryan, were born in May, 2002.
Barnes currently owns 17 career PBA Tour titles, ranking him 19th all-time (tied with Carmen Salvino). His titles include the 62nd U.S. Open, the 2006 Dexter Tournament of Champions and the 2011 PBA World Championship. Winning these three majors makes him just one of six PBA players to earn a career "triple crown." He had won at least one title in eight consecutive seasons, before being shut out in the 2009–10 season despite four TV Finals appearances. Barnes only needs a USBC Masters title to complete a career "grand slam." He has qualified as the #1 seed in the Masters three times, but has yet to win it.
Barnes also won the first two PBA Motel 6 Roll to Riches tournaments in 2005 and 2006, which included a winner-take-all grand prize of $200,000. At the time, these were the two largest prize checks in the history of televised bowling, but the earnings do not count toward PBA totals. The 2006 tournament was held in Lewisville, Texas, a mere eight miles from his residence. In 2007, Barnes narrowly missed having an opportunity for a three-peat at the event. His first chance to earn a spot in the event would have been by winning a major title. He made the TV finals for the 2007 World Championship and Tournament of Champions, but he did not win either. He also could have earned a spot on the show as the World Point Rankings leader, but he finished second behind Wes Malott. And lastly, he could have made it as one of the top two vote getters in an online fan poll, held on www.pba.com. But Barnes finished third, behind legends Walter Ray Williams Jr. and Norm Duke.
Barnes was the fastest player to reach $1,000,000 in career earnings, reaching that mark in 220 events, easily eclipsing the previous record of 253 events held by Pete Weber and Jason Couch. He eclipsed the $1.5 million mark in total PBA tour earnings during the 2007–08 season. He was ranked #26 on the PBA's 2008 list of "50 Greatest Players of the last 50 years."
Difficulties in televised finals
Although he has 17 titles, Barnes has often struggled or been the victim of bad luck in the live televised finals of many tournaments. His first 16 titles came in 81 TV finals appearances, and he has finished runner-up 25 times. In the 2000 season alone, he made 12 TV finals without winning a title—to date the most season TV finals appearances without a victory in PBA Tour history.
On two occasions, Barnes has lost a match in a PBA major by a single pin:
- On January 27, 2008, he faced Michael Haugen Jr. in the finals of the H&R Block Tournament of Champions in Las Vegas. Through six frames, Barnes held a 53-pin lead over his competitor, and seemed to have the match well in hand. Up by 41 pins in the ninth, Barnes left the 10-pin standing on his first throw and narrowly missed his spare giving Haugen hope. Haugen, who had strikes in his previous two frames, struck in the ninth to cut the lead to 19. Haugen went on to throw two strikes and 9 pins in the final frame. Barnes, needing 20 pins to tie, spared in the tenth and needed a strike on his final throw to force extra frames. But he left the 4-pin standing to give Haugen his first career major victory, 215–214. In an iconic thrill-of-victory/agony-of-defeat moment, Haugen hive-fived the crowd while Barnes sat on the approach in disbelief.
- In April, 2009, Barnes qualified as the #2 seed in the U.S. Open. A title in this tournament would have given him his second straight Player of the Year award. In the semifinal match against Mike Scroggins, Barnes needed a strike on the first ball in the 10th frame to move on to the title match. On what appeared to be a clean pocket hit, however, he left a single 8-pin standing. After making the spare, he still could have forced a sudden-death roll-off by striking on his final shot. This time, he left a single 10-pin, giving Scroggins a 200–199 victory.
On January 24, 2010, Barnes was the #1 seed in the finals of the 2010 H&R Block Tournament of Champions in Las Vegas, but was defeated by Kelly Kulick, 265–195. Kulick made history in this match by becoming the first woman to win a PBA Tour title.
In February, 2010, Barnes again qualified as the #1 seed at the USBC Masters, but was the victim of a 290 game by Walter Ray Williams Jr. in the televised championship match. After the match, Barnes expressed his frustration with recent TV finals performances: "The last two Masters here in Reno, I've gone undefeated in match play. I haven't lost a three-game match, yet I haven't won either tournament. TV is one of the best things the sport has going for it, but it is probably the worst thing I have going for me personally."
In April, 2011, Barnes had a chance to win the first-ever Dick Weber PBA Playoffs. In the final match against Ritchie Allen, he had a 25-pin lead after five frames before leaving two 7-10 splits on back-to-back pocket hits.
In the media
During the 2006–07 Denny's PBA Tour season, fellow Denny's PBA Tour bowler Norm Duke took part in the ESPN telecasts for events in which he failed to reach the TV Finals. Along with Dave Ryan and Randy Pedersen, he served as a second color commentator. However, during events in which Duke made the TV Finals, Barnes filled in as the third commentator. In the 2011–12 season, Barnes has been the third commentator for several World Series of Bowling finals events, joining Pedersen and Rob Stone.
Barnes is also an official Sport bowling spokesperson for the United States Bowling Congress (USBC).
A League of Ordinary Gentlemen
Barnes is featured in the 2006 documentary A League of Ordinary Gentlemen, along with current PBA Tour stars Pete Weber and Walter Ray Williams Jr., and 20-time PBA Tour titleist Wayne Webb. The film follows the four bowlers as they take part in the 2002–03 PBA Tour season.
World Bowling accomplishments
In addition to his PBA accomplishments, Chris also won the World Tenpin Masters tournament in 2006 and was a semi-finalist in 2007 (losing to eventual tournament winner, Jason Belmonte of Australia). In 2008, he made the finals of the World Tenpin Masters, but lost to Guy Caminsky of South Africa. At the end of the 2007–08 season, he was ranked second in the PBA World Point rankings to Walter Ray Williams Jr.
Barnes won four gold medals at the American Zone Championships in Costa Rica in 1997. He represented the USA at the WTBA Championships in Bangkok, Thailand in 2008. Chris was also chosen (along with female pro Stefanie Nation) to represent Team USA at the 2009 World Games, which took place in Kaohsiung, Taiwan in July, 2009.
In the 2009 Pan American Bowling Confederation (PABCON) Championships, Barnes helped Team USA gain a sweep of all six medals with his gold medal in the Masters singles event.
Barnes is one of the top trick-shot bowlers on the tour today. He has made the "Flying Eagle" more than anyone, but perhaps his greatest skills shot is his ability to bowl with his opposite hand, his left hand.
His skills paid off in the 2005 Miller High Life Skills Challenge, when he defeated Parker Bohn III for the $20,000 top prize. In the 2006 PBA Skills Challenge, Barnes lost to eventual champion Norm Duke in the semifinals. For the 2006–07 Denny's PBA Tour season, bowlers competed in pairs. Barnes teamed up with 13-time tour titleist Del Ballard Jr. They were defeated in the opening round by Wes Malott and Chris Johnson.
Prior to his bowling career, Barnes was a member of the Professional Putters Association, where he played professional Putt-Putt tournaments. In 1989, Barnes made his first television appearance earning $7,000 in the Putt-Putt SKINS game.
- "Former Topeka Bowler Barnes Wins Again on National TV". Topeka Capital-Journal. Dec 9, 2012.
- Vint, Bill. "Barnes Upsets O’Neill to Win PBA World Championship, Complete PBA's Triple Crown." Article at www.pba.com on January 16, 2011. 
- Vint, Bill. "Mike Fagan Tops Chris Barnes to Win First Major Title in Alka Seltzer Plus Liquid Gels USBC Masters." Article at www.pba.com on January 29, 2012. 
- Experts select Earl Anthony as Greatest Player in PBA History
- Vint, Bill. "Barnes Bowls 300 One Game Too Early; Belmonte Wins GEICO Shark Open for Second World Series Title." Article at www.pba.com on March 4, 2011. 
- Exempt Player Bios ("Career" paragraph) at www.pba.com
- Thomas, Jason. "Top 10 Moments in T of C History." Article at www.pba.com on August 16, 2010.
- Scroggins Wins 66th Lumber Liquidators U.S. Open for Second Career Major 
- "Kelly Kulick makes sports history as first woman to win a PBA Tour title." Article at www.pba.com on January 24, 2010.
- Wiseman, Lucas. "Williams wins second Masters title." Article at www.pba.com on February 14, 2010.
- Vint, Bill. "'X Factor' Dick Allen Sweeps Chris Barnes to Win End-of-Season Dick Weber PBA Playoffs Title." Article at www.pba.com on April 17, 2011. 
- Chris Barnes bio at World Tenpin Masters website
- Exempt player bio at www.pba.com
- "Inside the 2008 WTBA Men's World Championships." Article at www.bowl.com, August 30, 2008.
- "Team USA's Barnes, Nation to compete in World Games"
- "Barnes, Terrell-Kearney win Masters gold at PABCON Championships." Article at www.pba.com, September 22, 2009.
- Putt-Putt TV Series Contestants