Craig resident Jim Wells didn't think too much about the quick -- and flawless -- start to his game Friday night at Thunder Rolls Bowling Center. After all, Wells, a veteran bowler with 35 to 40 years of playing experience, had come close to a perfect score before.
"It wasn't anything new," he said, adding that he'd scored a 297, 298 and 299 in past games.
So, he did what most athletes do when staring down a record -- "He just tried to forget about it." Instead of concentrating on his next roll, he turned his attention to the TV.
"To be honest with you, I was watching the Tigers beat the hell out of the Yankees," Wells said.
Then things got serious.
Wells, who carries a 203 average, came to his line of demarcation, the Bermuda Triangle of previous attempts at perfection, the destroyer of dreams and glory -- the dreaded eighth frame. Things had broken down in the eighth before.
But, Friday was different. Instead of losing his grip on the perfecto, he did what he'd done throughout the night -- he knocked 'em down. That made eight up, eight down.
From there, it was just a matter of taking care of business, and Wells notched another strike in the ninth frame.
He began his game at about 8:30 p.m. by casually throwing a strike in the first frame, and ended it at about 9:15 p.m. with three more, his 10th, 11th and 12th in the final 10th frame.
Welcome to perfection, Jim Wells.
"I was excited," Wells said. "It took me a long time to get to sleep."
A perfect game, or a 300-point game, represents 12 consecutive strikes -- a total of 120 pins knocked down.
Wells recorded not only his first perfect game Friday, but also the first ever rolled in the short history of Thunder Rolls, 990 Industrial Ave. The bowling alley will mark its one-year anniversary Monday.
Thunder Rolls employees stopped play Sunday night to recognize Wells for his accomplishment.
Beryl Dschaak, one of Thunder Rolls' owners, presented Wells with a check for $300, and a copy of the scorecard from Friday night's game.
Fellow players lauded Wells during the presentation with congratulations, applause and calls for "drinks on Jimmy."
Dschaak said Thunder Rolls will honor future perfect games in a similar fashion to Wells'. She described it as, "Bowl a 300, get 300."
Wells said the excitement from Friday night's accomplishment hasn't yet subsided.
"In a way, it still hasn't soaked in," he said.
Joshua Roberts can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 210, or firstname.lastname@example.org.