Tulsa native and touring pro Mike Edwards knows what it means to win a Professional Bowling Association Tour title. He did it in the 1994 PBA IOF Foresters Bowling for Miracles Open in Ontario, Canada, defeating bowling legend Pete Weber to snap a 12-year winless streak.
“To finally break through and get that win, you can’t believe it,” said Edwards, the first Native American to win on the PBA Tour. “It was a lifetime deal, a childhood dream.”
Edwards and many of the world’s best bowlers will converge May 17-25 on Shawnee for PBA’s 2014 Summer Swing, a multi-tournament event that will be hosted by Grand Casino Hotel & Resort and FireLake Bowling Center.
The tournaments will be the first PBA Tour events held in Oklahoma since the 2005 Tulsa Championship at The Lanes at Coffee Creek. Edmond’s Boulevard Bowl hosted PBA Tour events as late as the 1990s, including the Seagram’s Coolers U.S. Open in 1989.
“It’s good to see the PBA back in the state,” Edwards said.
The Summer Swing will include four PBA Tour title events: Wolf, Bear and Badger opens and the PBA Oklahoma Open. It also includes the Grand Casino Hotel & Resort Summer King of the Swing, a special event involving four winners plus a wildcard player.
The eight-day program also will include a PBA Southwest Region (think NBA Development League) tournament over Memorial Day weekend.
Tournament qualifying and match play rounds will be May 19-22 at FireLake. The stepladder finals will be conducted in a 1,500-seat arena setting on two specially constructed lanes in the Grand Event Center May 24-25.
All five television finals will air on CBS Sports Network on Tuesday nights in June and July. More than 50 hours of live coverage will be broadcast on Xtra Frame, PBA’s exclusive online bowling channel.
“I think it’s a great choice to come into Shawnee,” said Chris Barnes, a 17-time PBA Tour winner from Double Oak, Texas.
Fans can bowl with PBA stars during the Pro-Am event on Saturday, May 17 at 2 p.m. at FireLake Bowling Center. Players confirmed to bowl include PBA Hall of Famers Walter Ray Williams Jr., Weber, Parker Bohn III and Norm Duke as well as top pros like Barnes, reigning PBA Player of the Year Jason Belmonte, Sean Rash, Tommy Jones, Wes Malott and Mika Koivuniemi.