Adding more luster to a brilliant week of professional bowling in the region, PBA pros spend their time eagerly paying for it to those who would follow in their stead.
Minister, Ohio – Jakob Butturff has never been to Minster before, and it stands to reason that a guy from Tempe, Arizona to Las Vegas wouldn’t know anyone here. It didn’t matter.
Tuesday night he made lots of new friends by attending a pro-am event at Minster’s Community channels as part of their first edition Regional Classic Ernst Apparel PBA, the first of the back-to-back zone PBA events this week. The 13th annual BowlerStore.com Classic, presented by Pla-Mor Alleys and one of the most popular stops on the PBA summer tour, kicks off in Coldwater this Friday.
But heading into Wednesday’s qualifying round Minster Butturff (pronounced Buttruff) and Versailles pro Michael Davidson were courting in the VIP tent outside Community Lanes, growing nostalgic for how far they had come in such a short time.
Butturff, who grew up in Las Vegas, is only 27, owns seven PBA touring titles, 27 PBA regional titles, one major PBA title, and owns one of the 300 PBA game shows. Two years ago, he had the best of a six-year PBA career, winning three touring events (including the USBC Masters event) and a quarter of a million dollars.
Davidson is 25, in his second full PBA season, with two regional wins, and holds around a tenth of Burrturff’s best year in terms of earnings while averaging 211 (PBA online stats) for 2020. .
It is not an easy way to make a living, even as a professional.
“You earn your way every week on tour. The competition is incredible, ”said EJ Tackett, another PBA pro from Bluffton, Indiana. “I think that’s why the tour has such a big appeal for blue collar workers. A lot of the guys here weren’t from much and the people who come to support appreciate how difficult it is. “
But in this context, winning and winning were secondary motivations for Davidson and Butturff on Tuesday. The two were competing in the junior and adult pro-am event to share the PBA experience with aspiring local bowlers like Mallory Lessing and her high school teammate Sarah Thomas of Fort Loramie.
And both said they appreciate the fact that many children in the area find their competitive outlet and success through bowling because they don’t fit the physical profile of football and basketball.
“It’s a great opportunity for us to remember where we started,” said Butturff. “I started bowling when I was five because both of my parents were bowling. It was just recreational at first, but as I got older I started to enjoy it more.
“I started bowling competitively in high school because there is nothing in me that looks like football or basketball,” he laughed. “I never even thought of playing [football]. But there were about 33 high schools around Las Vegas at the time and bowling was a pretty big thing. There were tournaments and purses, and I started bowling at the junior bowlers tournament they have on the west coast. Bowling became my thing – something I loved and was good at, and my dream was to be a professional bowler when I was 25. And now I’m 27 and I go bowling on tour with the best in the world.
“I actually grew up playing football, basketball and baseball in Versailles,” he says. “But I had started bowling early and started to really enjoy it by the time I was in sixth grade. By the time I was in eighth I realized I was pretty decent at it, and by the time I got to high school I knew I wanted to improve myself at bowling, I thought it might be my future, and I didn’t. want to risk injury in football or basketball. So I gave up other sports in first grade and concentrated on bowling.
They smile at the mention of those kids who might look out of place in a football helmet, but like Coldwater High School bowler Keaton Bruns, who is as thin as a pencil, can take your money for it. lunch in the local streets all day.
“I was that kid,” Butturff says.
“And that’s the beauty of bowling,” Davidson adds. “Not everyone can play football and basketball. But with this sport, you can bowling all your life and enjoy it. You can weigh 95 pounds or 230 pounds and there’s no limit to how far you can go.
“You see football players whose careers ended at the age of 30,” says Butturff. “Then there’s another 40 years of life where they don’t know what to do. But Norm Duke is a great example of what you can be as a bowler. Norm won his first PBA tour in 1983, eleven years before I was even born. And he’s still touring competing at a high level. You won’t see a baseball or football player doing this when they are in their 50s. They cannot compete in these sports for thirty years.
And what would it have been like to have had the opportunity to play with a professional like Norm Duke at the age of 15?
“I don’t know if I could have bowled,” Buturff said with a laugh. “I would have sweated too much. But that’s the kind of impact a person like Norm could have on the life of a young bowler. He and Parker Bohn were my two idols when I was growing up. And now we watch and see kids and you think about what kind of impact you can have. On my very first stop on the PBA tour, Parker Bohn was part of the pairing right next to me, and he was the very first to welcome me to the PBA tour. I was in complete shock. It was like my “fan girl” moment. My whole week was spent there. I could have finished in last place and it wouldn’t have mattered.
“I’m a Parker Bohn guy myself,” Davidson says. “I’m lucky because I’ve known him for a while. I saw him when I was hanging out with my parents at the Coldwater tournament, and he was just great with everyone.
“And then in my first year of touring, I was at an event in Brunswick with him, and he stayed there with us all night, just telling stories while he signed posters. He had a clinic in there. do the next morning… but he stayed there all night with us, signing autographs and telling stories. And he was like, ‘If you ever need anything on tour, call me.’ It was a big impression on me because you will never find a better human being.
On Tuesday, Michael Davidson and Jakob Burrturff were making their own impression on the next generation by paying it up front in the manner of Norm Duke and Parker Bohn III. There were autographs because Davidson signed a bowling pin for Mallory Lessing. And after a few drinks, I can absolutely vouch for that… Jakob Buturff himself is a pretty good storyteller.
“You know, lefties have all the girls,” he laughs. “Because we’re usually in the final. “