Professional Women's Bowling Association

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Logo introduced in 2014, to debut in the 2015 season. Website is pwba.com.

The Professional Women's Bowling Association (PWBA) organizes and oversees a series of annual tournaments for the top competitive women ten-pin bowlers. The series is often referred to as the "women's tour" of bowling. The PWBA was formed in 1960 but ceased operations in 2003. The PWBA Tour was re-launched in 2015 by the United States Bowling Congress (USBC) and Bowling Proprietors’ Association of America (BPAA) with a three-year funding commitment.[1] The 2015 schedule featured seven regular-season events, three nationally televised major events, and stops from coast to coast.[2] In addition, through a new partnership with the Professional Bowlers Association (PBA), the PBA began conducting PWBA Regional (women-only) events and PWBA members will be allowed to bowl all PBA events.[3]

In the media[edit]

Many PWBA events were televised on ESPN and ESPN2 from the late 1980s up until when the association folded in 2003. From 2004-2006, the WIBC Queens event (renamed USBC Queens in 2005) was the only scheduled event for female bowlers that received TV coverage.

For the autumn of 2007, the USBC acquired rights to the U.S. Women's Open. The event was televised for five Sundays on ESPN, with the action being called by PBA legends Nelson Burton Jr. and Marshall Holman. This event also served as the qualifier for the PBA Women's Series, a special four-stop mini-tour for the top 16 females. The finals for the mini-tour events were televised along with the regular PBA broadcasts for four Sundays on ESPN in November–December, 2007.

The U.S. Women's Open returned for five weeks in September–October, 2008. The PBA Women's Series was expanded to eight events in the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons but was then discontinued.

History[edit]

PWBA and LPBT signs still visible July 2014 at the door of the longtime former home of the organizations, The Cherry Bowl in Rockford, IL.

The PWBA was formed in 1960 by a group of professional women bowlers. After the organization struggled, some of the players left the PWBA in 1974 to form the Ladies' Professional Bowlers Association (LPBA). The two merged again in 1978, forming the Women's Professional Bowlers Association (WPBA). When the WPBA dissolved in 1981, bowling center proprietor John Summer of Rockford, Illinois, started the Ladies Pro Bowlers Tour (LPBT), a private company, to continue the women's tour. The LPBT adopted the PWBA name and a new logo in 1998. In the fall of 2003, the PWBA Tour ceased operations before the completion of its 2003 season, primarily due to dwindling interest in sponsoring women's bowling.[4]

The Women's International Bowling Congress (WIBC) then acquired the rights and assets of the PWBA. This gave the WIBC control of the PWBA name, trademark, logo, website domain (pwba.com), as well as the PWBA's historical records. The United States Bowling Congress (USBC) acquired the PWBA when the WIBC merged with the American Bowling Congress (ABC), Young American Bowling Alliance (YABA) and USA Bowling in 2005.

Without a PWBA Tour, women either retired from professional bowling, competed in the remaining women-only tournaments in the United States, or moved on to other bowling tournaments outside of the United States. Wendy Macpherson started competing in the Japan Professional Bowling Association (JPBA) in 2004, going on to earn ten JPBA titles. In 2007, the Japan Bowling Congress (JBC) started the DHC Cup Girls Bowling International - at the time the third largest women's tournament in the world in prize money, just behind the U.S. Women's Open and the USBC Queens.[5]

Some women chose to bowl in professional men's tournaments. The Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) opened its membership to women in April 2004. Former PWBA members such as Kim Adler, Carolyn Dorin-Ballard, Liz Johnson, and Kelly Kulick became exempt members of the PBA Tour. Women have had limited success in PBA events. Missy Parkin was the first female PBA member and now holds three PBA Regional Titles.[6] Liz Johnson was the first woman to win a PBA Regional Tournament and the first to advance to two different televised PBA Tour finals.[7] Kelly Kulick is the only woman to have won both a national and a major PBA tournament, with her defeat of Chris Barnes to win the 2010 Tournament of Champions.

The USBC sponsored the PBA Women's Series starting with the 2007-2008 season, allowing women PBA members to compete in a small number of events without their male counterparts. It was not continued after the 2009-2010 season.

The PBA created the PBA Women's Regional Tour program in 2014, in which women bowl with and against their male counterparts, but there are specific prizes and benefits for women only.[8]

2015 PWBA rebirth[edit]

The PWBA Tour returned from a 12-year hiatus in 2015, thanks to a three-year funding commitment from the USBC and BPAA. The 2015 tour had ten stops (seven standard tournaments and three majors), running from May 13 to September 13.[2]

See also: PWBA Bowling Tour: 2015 season

2016 season[edit]

The PWBA Tour expanded to 13 events in 2016, with one additional major (GoBowling.com PWBA Players Championship). CBS Sports Network aired the final round of all PWBA Tour events this season on a tape-delay basis, except for majors which aired the final round live.

See also PWBA Bowling Tour: 2016 season

2017 season[edit]

The 2017 PWBA Tour retains the format of 2016, with nine standard tournaments and four majors. CBS Sports Network will air the final round of all PWBA Tour events this season on a tape-delay basis, except for majors which air the final round live.

See also PWBA Bowling Tour: 2017 season

Future[edit]

Although the three-year funding commitment from the USBC and BPAA ends with the 2017 season, the PWBA announced on May 4, 2017 that there will be a 2018 season, consisting of 14 events.[9]

Notes[edit]

Notable Members of the Original Tour[edit]

  • Donna Adamek
  • Kim Adler
  • Lynda Barnes
  • Leanne Barrette
  • Lisa Bishop
  • Alayne Blomenberg
  • Cindy Coburn-Carroll
  • Stephanie Chiera
  • Patty Costello
  • Cheryl Daniels
  • Dede Davidson
  • Marianne Dirupo
  • Carolyn Dorin-Ballard
  • Cathy Dorin-Lizzi
  • Anne Marie Duggan
  • Helen Duval
  • Jeri Edwards
  • Karen Ellingsworth
  • Michelle Feldman
  • Rene Fleming
  • Kendra Gaines
  • Julie Gardner
  • Shirley Garms
  • Carol Gianotti
  • Nikki Gianulias
  • Tennelle Grijalva-Milligan
  • Liz Johnson
  • Tish Johnson
  • Cara Honeychurch
  • Kelly Kulick
  • Karen Krejcha
  • Wendy Macpherson
  • Dana Miller-Mackie
  • Debbie McMullen
  • Betty Morris
  • Michelle Mullen
  • Jeanne (Maiden) Naccarato
  • Sue Neidig
  • Lori Nichols
  • Carol Norman
  • Virginia Norton
  • Sandy Postma
  • Stacy Rider
  • Jan Schmidt
  • Robin Romeo
  • Tori Romeo
  • Jackie Sellers
  • Sandra Jo Shiery
  • Aleta Sill
  • Michelle Silver
  • Linda Kelly
  • Judy Soutar
  • Diana Teeters
  • Kim Terrell-Kearney
  • Tammy Turner
  • Lisa Wagner
  • Leila Wagner

References[edit]

External links[edit]