Stepladder finals set at 2024 USBC Masters; Booker takes No. 1 seed


After starting with 465 bowlers at the start of the week, only five remain and will bowl for the United States Bowling Congress Masters title Sunday at 1:30 p.m. Eastern live on FOX.

DeeRonn Booker of Albuquerque, New Mexico, entered match play as the No. 58 seed but quickly proved he should not be taken lightly after scoring wins over No. 7 Giorgio Clinaz of Brigham City, Utah, and defending champion Anthony Simonsen of Las Vegas on Day 1 of match play on Thursday.

Friday saw Booker continue the trend as he  defeated whoever stood in his way. First, he took down Jake Peters of Henderson, Nevada by a score of 681-672. 

Next, Booker used a 300 game and a 279 to defeat EJ Tackett of Ossian, Indiana 784-632. 

Sam Cooley of Australia was the next bowler Booker dispatched (673-605), and that victory earned him the right to battle for the No. 1 seed for the TV show against Patrick Dombrowski of Parma, Ohio.

The match was close throughout, but Booker emerged with a 639-603 victory to secure the top spot. Thanks to the win, Booker will be making his TV debut on the major show.

“Everyone I know back in California and New Mexico keeps texting me about how I feel, and it’s a lot of emotions,” Booker said. “This couldn’t have come at a better time. I’ve been working really hard on my game, learning about myself as well as the emotional side of the game.”

Booker already has some experience winning big tournaments as he won an Eagle at the 2023 USBC Open Championships in Reno after taking the Regular Doubles lead with lifelong friend Mark Curtis Jr. on the final weekend of the tournament. Now, Booker will only have to bowl and win one game to capture the 2024 Masters title and the tournament’s $100,000 top prize.

“It’s unbelievable that I’m here, and I’m excited to show everyone that I am here.” Booker said. “If it goes my way, it goes my way. If not, I’ll be back.” 

For Dombrowski, he looks to redeem himself this year after making the modified stepladder in last year’s Masters but falling short and placing fifth. However, he doesn’t plan on changing his strategy when looking back on last year’s shortcoming.

“I just had to keep my head focused and come back here and do the same thing, but hopefully I can get better carry and get that 10 pin down,” Dombrowski said, referring to the unfavorable luck he had on the show last year where he left four 10-pins during his loss to Sean Rash.

Dombrowski also looks to end the month better than it began as he was laid off from his job on March 1. The silver lining, however, was that it gave him the ability to put in more practice time in preparation for the Masters. Now, he will compete for a major title on March 31. 

“If you had told me all this was going to happen last month, I would have told you I wouldn’t have made it this far.” Dombrowski said.  “That last match wasn’t fun, but I’m here and only have to bowl another match to win. Whatever happens on Sunday, happens.”

In the final Contenders Bracket round, Tackett, Cooley, Jason Belmonte of Australia and Richard Teece of England all battled it out for the final three spots on the show. 

All four players kept it close going into the final game, but Tackett was the odd man out once the final frame was rolled as three opens in the final game sank his chances at a sixth-straight TV show and first Masters title.

Belmonte will be the No. 3 seed, and a win would extend his own records for Masters titles (four) and major championships (15). Cooley and Teece are the No. 4 and No. 5 seeds, respectively, and both will begin their quest for their first major title against each other.

The stepladder finals of the 2024 Masters will be contested on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. Eastern on FOX with the champion taking home a spot in the tournament’s storied history, a major title on the PBA Tour and the $100,000 top prize.

For more information on the USBC Masters, visit