“Your heart beats so fast at the end it is hard to keep your speed up. If you normally throw 15 miles per hour, you would throw 12 in the 10th frame. I was always still happy that I threw a big game, but missing out taught me to take extra breaths and make sure I keep my speed up.”
— Daniel Curtis, a Craig resident, on the difficulty of bowling a perfect 300 game
Craig resident Daniel Curtis grabbed his bowling ball Nov. 6 at Thunder Rolls Bowling Center in Craig and approached the lane for the 10th frame.
It was the Sunday Night Mixed league, but the lanes were quiet as Curtis prepared for his final frame.
Everyone was surrounding lanes 13 and 14, including Curtis’ wife, Heather, and his friend and teammate, John Walker.
Curtis had nine strikes and needed three more to complete a perfect 300 game.
All three fell just as the first nine had, and Curtis turned around and jumped with excitement.
“I started running all around the building and almost tackled Johnny,” he said. “Everyone was there to celebrate with me and they all were watching, which didn’t help how fast my heart was beating.
“It’s not every day you see a person bowl a 300, so no one there wanted me to mess up and that was great.”
The perfect game was the second of Curtis’ career — the first came almost two years ago — and he is among eight different bowlers who have notched 300 games at Thunder Rolls.
However, Curtis said the second one was sweeter than the first.
Because Curtis and his team had to bowl on a make-up day two years ago when he bowled his first perfect game, Curtis’ achievement wasn’t officially recognized by the league and he didn’t get his name above lanes three and four.
“Because I was unopposed the last time I threw 300, it was not recognized,” he said. “So, with the second one, I was able to redeem myself and prove I could do it again on a league night and get my name above the lanes.”
Curtis, 30, and his wife moved to Craig from Vernal, Utah, five years ago and decided to join a bowling league.
The two team up Sunday nights, but Curtis bowls in a men’s league every Wednesday.
On Nov. 6, before the games started, Curtis said Walker was boasting he would beat him.
“When he was telling me he would win, I told him I was only going to throw 12 balls that night,” Curtis said. “We kept joking back and forth through the fifth frame, and then I thought it might actually happen, so I shut up about it.
“You don’t always get to call a perfect game, but I did this time.”
While he bowled a 300 game before, it wasn’t the only time the Craig resident had been close.
Last year, Curtis had 10 strikes and missed on his second ball in the 10th frame.
The same thing happened four times the year he threw his first 300 game.
“Your heart beats so fast at the end it is hard to keep your speed up,” Curtis said. “If you normally throw 15 miles per hour, you would throw 12 in the 10th frame. I was always still happy that I threw a big game, but missing out taught me to take extra breaths and make sure I keep my speed up.”
Curtis started bowling at 10 years old with his family in Vernal.
After graduating high school and not having sports to play, Curtis said he returned to bowling when he was 21 because it was a nice alternative.
“You aren’t going to play football as an adult unless you are in the NFL, so bowling and golf are something you can do,” he said. “I’ve always been competitive and bowling is a competition.
“I try to help youth around here get better so they can do the same thing when they get older.”
Every bowler’s goal is to bowl 300, Curtis said, and it’s his technique that sets him apart.
And, even though he now has two brushes with perfection under his belt, Curtis said he is always aiming for more.
“In the 20 years I have been bowling, I know how to hit my mark and I am a consistent bowler,” he said. “When I bowl, I throw to get a strike and I expect it. It doesn’t always happen, but I try for 300 every time.”
Click here to have the print version of the Craig Daily Press delivered to your home.