Article graphics courtesy by pwba.com
Written by Nathan Wertheimer
Orlando – FL — The professional female bowlers were in town and showed us some great bowling action for the 2019 Bowlerx.com PWBA Orlando Open at Boardwalk Bowl. This year I had a chance to sit and cover this bowling tournament, which was broadcast live on CBS Sports Network for two hours. What an experience it was.
Before the championship even started many bowling fans lined up with their tickets in hand to waiting to find their seat to watch the finals. There were roughly 50-100 people who filled the bleachers on left side of the lane and in concourse area too. The production manager tried to get the crowd fired up. There one of the female on-air talent person who came out and danced on the lanes for everyone. What a sight it was. Someone said she had done this before at another tournament.
Behind the scenes there was a large satellite truck outside in the back from CBS Sports Network for this telecast. There were a total of five camera operators capturing different angles. Two cameras were directly behind the bowlers capturing the pin action. Then another two positioned camera on the side focusing on the bowlers. And the last one was near the pin rack facing the bowlers straight on. The broadcast booth wason a platform which could hold three people comfortably while watching from behind a glass screen. Why is there a glass screen in the broadcast booth? This was to reduce the on-air talent voices when a bowler was making a shot.
Once the production went live on-air then all the bowlers were focusing on their personal game. The finals were bowled on Brunswick synthetic lanes 15 and 16. These lanes were very smooth unlike the traditional wooden lanes. Because this was a live telecast bowlers were timed to make a shot within twenty-five seconds. There wasn’t any dead air time during this telecast. The television lights were very bright compared to the house lighting condition. These televised finals did not use the automatic lane scoring machine. This was done by a tournament official. Everything went very smoothly. There were no re-rack because of a pin error during any matches.
The crowd stayed silent until the bowlers made strikes and spares during match play. People were clapping and cheering during these moments along with background music, which played in a loop. Fans even held up signs reading “Go Liz,” “Queen B,” “Go O’Keefe & Go Danielle,” and “#PBBT #LTSG.” All hand held signs were approved before being shown. During commercial breaks in the middle of the 6th frame, the tournament crew was giving out player bowling balls, signed pin machine guard signage.
Here are a few things I noticed while covering these matches. There were different brands of bowling ball being used. They were Brunswick, Storm, Global, Columbia 300, and Hammer. Most of the bowlers had rubber insert for their two fingers with their shinny bowling balls. All of them used two bowling balls. The main ball was for strikes and the other was for spares.
Another topic was the bowler’s fashion. All of them had bowling ball brand sponsors on their shirts. Some were more colorful than others. I think some bowlers were trying to make a fashion statement. All the women wore knee high skirts.
During the telecast many bowlers were trying to stay focus. Many of these asked questions to the bowling ball company representative who were standing by off on the side. When a bowler missed making a strike or spare, they were trying to regroup for the next frame.
Off camera, the next rest of the bowlers were warming up and trying to stay loose. Some even stretched too. The winners of each game would practice on lane 17 before the next match. Many bowlers used battered powered fans to keep their hands dry.
Here is the bowling stepladder finals breakdown:
Game #1 – #5 Liz Kulkin – 228 beat out #4 Katelyn Simpson – 194
Game #2 – #3 Rocio Restrepo – 197 beat out 5 Liz Kulkin – 179
Game #3 – #2 Shannon O’Keefe – 226 beat out Rocio Restrepo – 201
Game #4 – Shannon O’Keefe – 207 beat out #1 Danielle McEwan – 203
The final round was the most exciting between Danielle McEwan verses Shannon O’Keefe. During the last part of the game, I saw O’Keefe taking a bite of a banana off on the side of camera view. Viewers on TV did not see this. It is believed this gave O’Keefe enough energy to win the final match. Once the finals were over, O’Keefe was in tears of joy holding up the trophy to the crowd. On TV she said, “I don’t know if there are words to describe it,” O’Keefe said. “I’m very proud of my season, proud of how I’m competing and proud of how I’ve been mentally approaching it. This season, more than any other, has just been so vivid to me.”
Directly after the finals were completed, there were media interviews with O’Keefe. With the final scores in the book, O’Keefe is in the lead with points with 105,125, game average of 214.82, and 5 Television appearances so far this year alone.
If you have never seen a live bowling broadcast before you don’t know what you’re missing. I hat goes off to the telecast production crew. This ladies bowling tournament will not be back until a few more years from now. If you would like to see the entire finals photo slideshow please visit at http://www.otownfun.com/?lightbox=dataItem-jzh3nusa . For more information on the Ladies Pro Bowling Tour please visit www.pwba.com .
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Source of information: First hand experience and pwba.com