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Dick Weber - Bowlers' Low Pay Outrages Elias

pba bowling told started

It was an interview with Dick Weber and some other leading bowlers of the day that planted the seed that eventually grew into the PBA. During the course of the interview, Weber years later told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the conversation got around to compensation. "Eddie wondered how much we got paid. We told him, and he was outraged and said we should be getting more. He asked us what we would think about a professional bowling association."

Not long thereafter, thirty-three of the leading bowlers of the 1950s met with Elias to discuss the idea at a motel in Mountainside, New Jersey, after the American Bowling Congress Masters Tournament. "He said he needed 50 bucks from each of us before we started talking," Weber recalled. "He told us he would make money first and we would make money second. He started getting tournament sponsorships and the purses went from $2,000 to $2,500 and from there it blossomed to what we have today. Everything he said, he did, and it worked." And thus the PBA was born. Elias served as the fledgling organization's legal counsel and worked diligently to promote the sport during the PBA's early years. With the help of television coverage and larger purses, Elias managed to bring bowling into the mainstream. In 1959, the nineteen-year-old Weber, one of the PBA's thirty-three charter members, won the last two of the three tournaments on the inaugural PBA Tour. He went on to win eight of the PBA's first twenty-one tournaments.

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