Country Star Training to Become Pro Athlete: ‘I’m On My Way’

Country music crowd

Getty Crowd at country music concert

Jimmie Allen has a busy few months ahead of him, as the former “American Idol” contestant and mentor teams up with “Idol” winner Carrie Underwood as the opening act of her Denim & Rhinestones tour, starting October 15, 2022. But in between performing, the country star is seriously focused on becoming a professional bowler and will even host his own tournament in early October.

Inside Jimmie Allen’s Passion for Bowling

Allen discovered bowling during the pandemic, according to the Professional Bowling Association (PBA), calling it his “pandemic passion.” His friend, former NFL player Cortland Finnegan, introduced him to the sport and Allen loved it so much that he decided he wanted to become an expert in it, so he often bowls several hours a day in cities where he’s on tour, as well as at home in Nashville.

“Since the moment my friend Cortland Finnegan introduced me to bowling, I’ve been hooked,” Allen said in a PBA press release. “I’ve been a fan of the PBA for years as a viewer. But I’m excited for the next part of my journey with the PBA, and that is to make bowling a worldwide sport with the same respect that’s given to basketball, baseball, and football.”

The Grammy-nominated performer belongs to five bowling leagues and when he and Underwood are on a break in January 2023, he’ll use the month to play in a variety of tournaments, with plans to try out for the Professional Bowlers Association in 2023. There are approximately 3,000 professional bowlers in the world. By comparison, there are nearly 1,700 players in the NFL.

To go pro, Allen needs to score at least 200 on average across a season; while there are summer and fall seasons in bowling, Allen is likely going to attempt this feat during the league’s January short-season.

On The Bobby Bones Show in June, Allen said professional bowlers can make good money in tournaments; they can win money in tournaments, but also rake in major sponsorship dollars. He also told Bones he’s grown so serious about the sport, that he’s become a “snob” when he’s talking to other people about bowling.

“I’ve become a snob now with bowling,” he said. “I’ll ask for, like, their house pattern, what’s their shot, what’s their oil, and then when I go to a bowling alley now and I see people next to me bowling with house shoes on and a house ball, I’m like, ‘what are you doing having fun!? No.'”

Allen said he’s not the only celebrity who’s gotten serious about bowling; he said baseball great Mookie Betts travels to tournaments when he’s not playing for the LA Dodgers, and country artist Chuck Wicks is also serious about it.

On July 1, Allen tweeted an update on his progress, sharing that he was bowling in his first United States Bowling Congress Open Championship tournament.

Allen To Host Celebrity Bowling Tournament

Before Allen hits the road with Underwood, he’ll host The Jimmie Allen PBA Challenge on October 5 at the Bowlero Lanes in Matthews, North Carolina. He and some of his country music buddies — including Wicks, Chris Young, and Neon Union — will perform before the celebrity bowling starts.

After the concert, Allen and celebrity friends including former NFL great Terrell Owens and hip hop performer Nelly, will bowl alongside PBA Tour stars Pete Weber, Kyle Troup, Sean Rash, Ronnie Russell, and AJ Johnson. Fans can purchase tickets to the event, and the tournament will be televised on FOX on October 16.

Each star will be paired with a PBA player for a doubles competition, with the artists bowling the odd-numbered frames and the PBA players bowling the evens. The event will also feature a Celebrity Super Clash, in which each celebrity rolls one shot and the low score is eliminated in each round until only one celebrity player remains.

Fans can live stream the PBA on the FOX Sports and FOX Now apps or at The Jimmie Allen PBA Challenge will air Oct. 16 on FOX, either before or after local NFL games in each market.

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