For Chad Welch, it was a perfect night.
At least when he went on a streak most bowlers only dream about.
Playing with his Crook Creek #1 teammates, the man with a 15 handicap found perfection on an alley in the Elusive Pocket.
The bowling alley got its name from a description of that “pocket” which strikes all of the pins down, according to owner Ardis Kraulik.
But for Welch, it was no longer that elusive.
For more than a game in his Mixed Commercial League game in Bowman Jan. 29, he pounded out strike after strike after strike by hitting the “elusive pocket” repeatedly.
According to Welch, there wasn’t any warning of his hot streak when he was warming up before the game. “It was coming off my hand really nice … but that has happened plenty of times. You just never think that it is going to be ‘the’ night, I guess.”
The man with a 183 average wasn’t too surprised when he got off to a good start. He said that he has bowled six strikes in a row before.
“When I got to the ninth (frame), I thought ...’Man I am getting close,’” he recalled. “Something is going to screw it up.”
“When I got to the tenth frame, you can throw three balls in the tenth frame. The first one wasn’t too bad. After the second on, I was like this is really close,” he recalled.
When he got ready for his final throw in the game and a chance to bowl a ‘300’, Welch said he had one thing on his mind.
“All I can do is screw up. So, I just slowed everything way down. I was pretty nervous.
“I threw the last one to the outside and it came back. I didn’t think it was going to, but it rattled them out of there,” he said.
He knew he was drawing attention as the streak of strikes grew. “They kept it kind of quiet. Nobody said a whole lot, which was a good thing. Everybody just continued bowling, which was really good. Nobody stopped bowling to watch or anything.... but when I threw the last ball, everybody cheered so I knew they were watching.”
According to Welch, it seemed every bowler there came over to shake his hand, postponing the rest of the bowler from finishing up for a couple of minutes. “It took awhile before they could continue to bowl,” he added.
The team will be finishing up the league season by mid-March, he explained.
“Our team won 24-11 that night,” he said. “We were in third place, so that should have moved us up (in the team standings). I haven’t even looked.”
He admitted he had a best score of 289 years ago.
In his second game of the night, he continued the streak for four more frames until he ended up with three pins standing. “So I had 16 in a row.”
The bowler with a 15 handicap finished the night with scores of 186 and 187, to average 225 for his three games. “That will definitely bring my handicap down.”
His team also won the competition Jan. 29 at the Elusive Pocket.
He admitted being a little superstitious and wanting to do everything the same the next time he would be playing. “I am very superstitious. I’ll wear the same everything.”
Welch said he has been bowling in Bowman for more than 10 years and with the same Crooked Creek #1 team (Ron Braaten, Lanny Anderson, Bob Osendorf and Jim Schaeffer).
He also said he was using his personal bowling ball during the streak – a Roto-Grip Wreck-Em.
According to the owner, it was the first time she knew of a perfect game being bowled there.
Welch got started bowling when he subbed for his father long ago, he recalled. “The older guys just started retiring off the team. Then we end up with the team we’ve got.”
The Bowman native works at Continental Resources, a midstream oil producer.
The next league season will start in September, the president of the local bowling association said.