Chris Barnes (bowler)

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Chris Barnes
Chris Barnes (bowler) 2014.jpg
Barnes in 2014
Born Chris Barnes
(1970-02-25) February 25, 1970 (age 47)
Topeka, Kansas, U.S.
Nationality American
Years active 1998–present
Bowling Information
Affiliation PBA
Dominant hand right

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,[1] 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 $2.2 million (U.S.) in total prize money during his 18-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. At the time, this made him only the third bowler in PBA history to win both Rookie of the Year and Player of the Year honors in a career, after Mike Aulby and Tommy Jones. Jason Belmonte has since joined that group. Barnes 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 54 perfect 300 games in PBA competition, including one of the PBA's 25 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.

Career achievements[edit]

Barnes after winning the 2014 Emir's Cup in Doha

Barnes currently owns 18 career PBA Tour titles, ranking him in a tie for 15th all-time. 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."[2] 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.[3]

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 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."[4]

Barnes bowled the PBA's 22nd-ever televised 300 game in a semifinal match of the 2011 GEICO Shark Open at the PBA World Series of Bowling (broadcast March 4, 2012).[5] Barnes won the 2014 QubicaAMF World Cup, and he achieved a televised 300 game in the semifinals before defeating Germany's Tobias Börding in the two-game final, 269–248 and 231–216. He would roll another 300 game in the semifinals of the 2015 DHC PBA Japan Invitational, which was broadcast live on Japanese television as well as on the PBA's Xtra Frame webcast service. Barnes won a 5 million Yen ($43,032 USD) bonus for the 300 game in that tournament, in addition to the 5 million Yen he also won for winning the tournament itself.[6]

On September 30, 2015, Barnes announced he would undergo surgery to repair a herniated disc in his back, forcing him to withdraw from the PBA Fall Classic in Las Vegas, NV, and putting his participation in the December 2015 PBA World Series of Bowling in doubt. The surgery is the same procedure that was done to Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, and was performed by the same doctor.[7]

Difficulties in televised finals[edit]

Although he has 18 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.[8]

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 PBA 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.[9] In an iconic thrill-of-victory/agony-of-defeat moment, Haugen high-fived the crowd while Barnes sat on the approach in disbelief.[10]
  • 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.[11]

On January 24, 2010, Barnes was the #1 seed in the finals of the 2010 PBA 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.[12]

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.[13] 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.[14]

In the media[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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).[15] 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.[16]

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.[17] 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.[18]

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.[19]

Skills Challenge[edit]

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.

Professional putting[edit]

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.[20]


  1. ^ "Former Topeka Bowler Barnes Wins Again on National TV". Topeka Capital-Journal. December 9, 2012. 
  2. ^ Vint, Bill (January 16, 2011). "Barnes Upsets O’Neill to Win PBA World Championship, Complete PBA's Triple Crown."
  3. ^ Vint, Bill (January 29, 2012). "Mike Fagan Tops Chris Barnes to Win First Major Title in Alka Seltzer Plus Liquid Gels USBC Masters."
  4. ^ Experts select Earl Anthony as Greatest Player in PBA History. Retrieved on 2015-04-18.
  5. ^ Vint, Bill (March 4, 2011). "Barnes Bowls 300 One Game Too Early; Belmonte Wins GEICO Shark Open for Second World Series Title."
  6. ^ Vint, Bill (January 18, 2015). "Bowlmor Chris Barnes Enjoys Rewarding Day with 300 Game, 18th Career Title in DHC PBA Japan Invitational". Retrieved January 20, 2015. 
  7. ^ Vint, Bill (September 30, 2015). "BPBA Spare Shots: Chris Barnes to Undergo Back Surgery, Withdraws from PBA Fall Classic". Retrieved October 14, 2015. 
  8. ^ Exempt Player Bios ("Career" paragraph) at Retrieved on 2015-04-18.
  9. ^ Bowling. The Sports Network. Retrieved on 2015-04-18.
  10. ^ Thomas, Jason (August 16, 2010). "Top 10 Moments in T of C History."
  11. ^ Scroggins Wins 66th Lumber Liquidators U.S. Open for Second Career Major. April 4, 2009
  12. ^ Schneider, Jerry (January 24, 2010) "Kelly Kulick makes sports history as first woman to win a PBA Tour title."
  13. ^ Wiseman, Lucas. "Williams wins second Masters title." Article at on February 14, 2010.
  14. ^ Vint, Bill (April 17, 2011). "'X Factor' Dick Allen Sweeps Chris Barnes to Win End-of-Season Dick Weber PBA Playoffs Title."
  15. ^ Chris Barnes bio at World Tenpin Masters website Archived October 4, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  16. ^ Exempt player bio at Retrieved on 2015-04-18.
  17. ^ "Inside the 2008 WTBA Men's World Championships." Article at, August 30, 2008.
  18. ^ "Team USA's Barnes, Nation to compete in World Games".
  19. ^ "Barnes, Terrell-Kearney win Masters gold at PABCON Championships." Article at, September 22, 2009.
  20. ^ Putt-Putt TV Series Contestants. Retrieved on 2015-04-18.

External links[edit]