CHICAGO – “The Bad Boy of Bowling,” an award-winning documentary centered around the life-and-times of Professional Bowlers Association Hall of Famer Pete Weber, will premiere on the ESPN Films 30 for 30 Shorts website (http://espn.go.com/30for30/shorts) on Tuesday, February 23. Later in the week, the film will make its broadcast debut as part of Friday Night Movie Night on ESPN’s SportsCenter on Friday, February 26 during the 6 p.m ET hour.
The ESPN Films 30 for 30 Shorts documentary, directed by SideStilt Films’ Bryan Storkel and produced by Amy Storkel and Daniel Judge, covers the sometimes controversial but always successful career of the youngest of bowling legend Dick Weber’s three sons. Pete Weber, who made his PBA debut at age 17, went on to win PBA Rookie of the Year honors in 1980.
Still active on both the traditional PBA Tour and the PBA50 Tour at age 53, Weber has won 37 PBA Tour titles (fourth-best on the all-time titles list) and earned more than $3.8 million (second only to Walter Ray Williams Jr.’s $4.6 million) despite occasional clashes with PBA leadership, battling personal demons along the way, and never apologizing for his approach to life and PBA competition.
While capturing the essence of Weber’s career through the eyes of his fiercest competitors as well as Weber’s own insights, Storkel also provides “Bad Boy” viewers with a history of PBA competition during the Weber years.
“It’s been an amazing experience,” Storkel said of producing the film. “I knew about Pete for a while. I saw him in “League of Ordinary Gentlemen: a few years back. When we were asked to do a 30 for 30 film, I thought about bowling because 30 for 30 hadn’t done a bowling segment, and I immediately thought about Pete and his father, and how their lives were all centered around bowling.
“I think having the father-and-son element creates something even non-bowling fans will enjoy,” Storkel added. “It’s really a human story, not just a bowling story.”
After reviewing the film, despite it showing some of his darker moments, Weber’s reaction was, “I thought it was awesome.”
PBA CEO and Commissioner Tom Clark said, “The story of Pete Weber is one of the most compelling in sports history. It was a great decision by ESPN to feature Pete’s story in its artful 30 for 30 documentary series and producer Bryan Storkel captured the story in a way that will entertain and inform those familiar with Pete’s career while also introducing him to those who don’t know much about him.”
Prior to its debut as part of ESPN Films’ 30 for 30 Shorts series, “The Bad Boy of Bowling” was shown at more than 25 film festivals across the United States, where it routinely received rave reviews and won a special jury prize at the DOC NYC festival, one of the largest and most prestigious festivals.
“The film’s largest screening was at the Maryland Film where it played to hundreds of fans on opening night,” Storkel added. “We could hear the crowd laughing out loud, crying… It was pretty special.”
“The Bad Boy of Bowling” will be widely available to fans through ESPN’s and PBA’s digital platforms and social media outlets following its formal release.