Local bowler feels he’s come a long way in 1st year as professional

EJ Tackett
Photo by Steve Clark.

In November of 2012, EJ Tackett, of Huntington, was experiencing his first action as a member of the Professional Bowlers Association (PBA).

A year later, he was on the other side of the world, competing in a PBA event in Tokyo, Japan, in front of cameras for ESPN.

Tackett's first year on the PBA Tour has been a whirlwind. In addition to his Japan trip, the 21-year-old has competed in tournaments across the United States, consistently challenging PBA veterans.

"I've been bowling pretty good," Tackett says.

He cites the Milwaukee Open, which took place May 29 to June 2 in Wauwatosa, WI, as one of the most memorable tournaments he's competed in.

"I made my first TV show there," Tackett states, referring to the tournament's final round, which aired on CBS Sports Network. He captured fourth place in a field of 82.

"That's probably the biggest highlight of the year for me," he says.

A month later, Tackett traveled to Columbus, OH, where he competed in the U.S. Open. The tournament spanned July 21 to 27 and saw Tackett record another top 10 finish, claiming sixth place in a field of 260.

"Just barely missed the show there," he notes.

A month prior to his Tokyo trip, Tackett journeyed to Las Vegas, NV, for the World Series of Bowling, which consisted of five tournaments from Oct. 25 to Nov. 3.

Tackett considers consistency to be a trait possessed by all successful professional bowlers, and he exhibited that trait himself over those tournaments.

"I had three top 10's out of five tournaments," he says.

Tackett's most recent tournament was the Round 1 International Japan Cup - "definitely the farthest" he's been for bowling. The experience of being at the tournament, which took place from Nov. 27 to 30, was a good one, Tackett says.

"I actually made my second show while I was over there," he shares. "I ended up finishing fourth."

Tackett's finish was the best of any American. The tournament finals air on ESPN on Jan. 12 at 1 p.m.

Tackett is off until mid-January, when he participates in a tournament in Detroit. His bowling commitments in the Motor City, though, don't end after that.

"I got drafted into the PBA League onto a team," Tackett explains. "So, I spend a week in Detroit after that tournament bowling for my team."

The team, the L.A. X, includes Jason Belmonte, Parker Bohn III, Mika Koivuniemi, Andres Gomez and Tackett. The squad is managed by PBA veteran Andrew Cain and owned by NBA star Chris Paul.

Tackett sees his Japan trip as a potential precursor to even more globetrotting next year.

"I'm hoping maybe next spring to go overseas and do some more bowling," he says. "See how everything's going. If I'm still bowling good then, I'll probably go."