EJ Tackett, of Huntington, capped off his first season as a member of the Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) by winning the 2012-13 Harry Golden PBA Rookie of the Year award.
Tackett, 21, received a call on Tuesday, Jan. 14, from the PBA informing him of the good news.
"It's always an award that you want to win, but you can't think about it," he says.
It became hard not to think about it, though, as the season progressed. Last June, Tackett made the final round at the Milwaukee Open, finishing fourth, and followed up that performance with a sixth place finish at the U.S. Open in July and a trio of top 10 placements at the World Series of Bowling in November.
By the time he made the final round of the Round 1 International Japan Cup in Tokyo later that month, claiming fourth, Tackett knew the award was his.
"Making the show in Japan pretty much was like, ‘Yeah, I'm going to be Rookie of the Year,'" he states. "It was pretty conclusive at that point."
There's no question in Tackett's mind where the award, which is voted on by PBA members and longtime bowling journalists, ranks among his accomplishments.
"It's by far at the top of the list," he says. "It's the biggest award that I've ever gotten."
Tackett will receive the award at his next tournament, the Barbasol PBA Tournament of Champions in Allen Park, MI, which runs through Jan. 26.
With his first season as a pro under his belt and a major award to show for his efforts, Tackett knows exactly what he wants to do for an encore.
"The next goal is to win a tournament," he says. "To win a title."