- Last Updated on 08:10 AM 05/22/13
- BY Doug Ford
The first name in bowling products is Brunswick, and 20-year-old Matt Wilborn has snagged a sponsorship deal with the iconic company, the first-ever for a bowler competing at World of Sports Bowling Center in South Boston.
The shirt Wilborn sported while practicing at World of Sports on Monday displayed a number of logos advertising Dexter bowling shoes, Turbo bowling tape and wrist supports, EFX Performance balancing bands and DV8 bowling products.
“I’m representing the DV8 brand of Brunswick, a branch of Brunswick,” said Wilborn on Monday after a practice session.
Wilborn first drew the notice of Brunswick while bowling in the six-month long U.S. Bowling Congress Open Championships last year in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
“Brunswick sponsored it, and around 68,000 bowlers came through there the entire run of the tournament,” recalled Wilborn.
“I finished about 556th out of that group. I did really good with a total of 2,300 points, in singles, doubles and team events.”
Brunswick approached him via email about a month ago, and Wilborn subsequently talked to Brunswick Bowling representatives through email and via Facebook before coming to a sponsorship agreement.
“When you think of bowling, you think of Brunswick, said World of Sports Bowling Center owner Jay Burnett.
“Matt’s done all the work,” said Burnett, “and he’s been on the road a lot to see how his game compares to some of the best.
“Obviously, he’s one of the highest-ever averaged bowlers to ever come through the house here.”
“For bowling, it’s all about practice and matching your equipment,” Burnett added.
“With people behind him now, he’ll be able to take his game to another level, and we’re just really happy to be a part of it.”
World of Sports has been helping Wilborn some with sponsorship, but being able to see him roll his first ball there at the age of 12 and reach this level has been even more satisfying,” Burnett noted.
“This means I get to represent the greatest bowling company, ever, and have fun doing it,” said Wilborn, who rolled his first 300 game when he was 15-years-old and rolled his first 800 series about a year later.
Wilborn estimates he’s rolled at least six 800 series and 10 or more 300 games since that time.
“This is a stepping stone,” explained Wilborn, who will compete at the Pro Regional level while representing Brunswick.
“I still have a lot more practice to do, but one day I’ll be up there with the big time pros,” recalled Wilborn, whose bowling idols are Walter Ray Williams Jr. and Parker Bohn III.
Things have changed drastically in the sport of bowling, mostly owing to advanced technology, Wilborn explained.
Bowling balls now are totally different than they were before, and lane conditions are totally different, he said.
Sometimes, bowlers have to adjust to “wet” and “dry” lane conditions during a game, Wilborn pointed out.
“Your bowling ball is basically a sponge on the lane,” he noted.
The son of long-time bowlers Barney and Betty Wilborn, Matt obviously learned his lessons well, and he’s always lent a helping hand to anyone wanting to improve their game, according to Burnett.
“We’re going to have a summer camp, and Matt’s going to be a head coach for that,” he said.
“Matt has a passion for a number of different areas, not only for bowling but for helping people.
“Something good has happened to him, and he’s going to use it to the best of his ability.”