Ryan Shafer (born August 18, 1966) of Horseheads, New York is a right-handed professional ten-pin bowler who has won five national titles as a member of the Professional Bowlers Association (PBA). He currently participates on both the PBA Tour and the PBA50 Tour. He has also won 34 PBA Regional titles, and has collected over $1.75 million in PBA earnings. Shafer rolled the 19th-ever televised 300 game in PBA Tour history, accomplished March 18, 2007 at the PBA Pepsi Championship, and set a PBA record for a televised event by rolling 18 consecutive strikes overall.
Shafer joined the PBA in 1986, and was named PBA Rookie of the Year in the 1987 season. After laboring on tour for 13 years without a national title, Shafer finally broke through on January 21, 2000 with a victory over PBA Hall of Famer Mike Aulby in The Orleans Casino Open. He would win a second title in 2000 at the PBA Wichita Open on July 1, and would later be named Bowlers Digest Player of the Year for the 2000 season. In addition to his two wins, Shafer made match play 11 times in 19 events and had five more championship round appearances during the season, including a runner-up finish at the Tournament of Champions major.
In 2001, Shafer repeated as champion at The Orleans Casino Open, earning his third PBA Tour title. On November 23, 2003, he defeated Chris Barnes in the final match to collect his fourth title at the PBA Empire State Open. His fifth and (to date) final PBA Tour title came at age 49 in the 2015 PBA Xtra Frame Gene Carter’s Pro Shop Classic.
Shafer rolled the PBA Tour’s 19th-ever televised perfect 300 game at the 2007 PBA Pepsi Championship in Indianapolis. Shafer opened the next game with six more strikes, setting a PBA record for a televised final round by rolling 18 consecutive strikes. He would unfortunately be denied the title when he was defeated by Norm Duke in the final match. Shafer would post another televised 300 game during a singles match at the 2011 GEICO PBA Team Shootout, a non-title event featuring PBA players.
Shafer has been called one of the most underrated players on the PBA Tour over his 30+ year career by bowling writer Bill Spigner, PBA TV analyst Randy Pedersen, and others. This is mainly based on Shafer’s performances in major championships. He holds the PBA record for major championship final round appearances without winning (15), and has finished runner-up in a major five times among his 13 total runner-up finishes. Overall, Shafer has made 56 top five finishes in PBA Tour events.
PBA Tour titles
2000 The Orleans Casino Open (Las Vegas, Nevada)
2000 PBA Wichita Open (Wichita, Kansas)
2001 The Orleans Casino Open (Las Vegas, Nevada)
2003 PBA Empire State Open (Latham, New York)
2015 PBA Xtra Frame Gene Carter’s Pro Shop Classic (Middletown, Delaware)
Top five finishes in PBA majors
1992 Bud Light PBA National Championship
1998 BPAA U.S. Open
2000 Bayer/Brunswick Touring Players Championship
2000 Brunswick World Tournament of Champions (runner-up)
2001 Bowling’s U.S. Open
2002 PBA Tournament of Champions (runner-up)
2003 PBA World Championship
2006 63rd U.S. Open (runner-up)
2006 Denny’s PBA World Championship
2008 H&R Block Tournament of Champions
2008 Denny’s PBA World Championship (runner-up)
2009 H&R Block Tournament of Champions
2011 68th Lumber Liquidators U.S. Open
2011 PBA World Championship (runner-up)
2012 69th U.S. Open
Awards and honors
1987 PBA Rookie of the Year
2000 Bowlers Journal Player of the Year
Holds PBA Tour record for consecutive strikes rolled in a televised event (18 in 2007)
2x PBA Steve Nagy Sportsmanship Award winner (2008–09, 2012–13)
3x PBA East Region Player of the Year (out of 6 years eligible)
Shafer was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age 19. He became more outspoken about dealing with the disease when he began wearing a visible insulin pump on PBA telecasts in 2005. He has since become a spokesperson for Animas insulin pumps.
Shafer’s wife, Michelle, passed away in early 2014, just five days before he was scheduled to accept his second PBA Steve Nagy Sportsmanship Award. Michelle took her own life after dealing with depression for a number of years.
When not bowling tournaments, Ryan works in his pro shop.