John Hinkle, Jr., of Peoria, Illinois, was gifted the love of bowling by his late father, John, Sr. In fact, the younger John came to excel enough at tenpins that he even became a two-time NCAA bowling champion while at Western Illinois University two decades ago. But for all of John Sr.’s own career in bowling, namely 30 years at Landmark Lanes, he never achieved a perfect score of 300. So when John, Sr. died in 2016 at the age of 62, his son made it his duty to get his dad that perfect game – and on April 12, 2021, John, Jr. finally did it.
“This makes up for so many nights growing up when we slept in a bowling alley while our parents were finishing league night,” John, Jr.’s brother Joe kidded with WMBD-TV. John Hinkle, Jr. had bowled 300 plenty of times before but what made this night special was the ball. Hinkle employs a unique two-handed throw which makes no use of a ball’s thumb hole, therefore Hinkle filled it with his father’s ashes so his father could be with him and Joe at Landmark Lanes one more time. “I was talking to my brother and told him, ‘I’m shooting a 300 with this ball,'” Hinkle told WMBD-TV. “And Joe said, ‘Do it!'”
“I had tears in my eyes in the 11th and 12th frames. I couldn’t tell you where that last ball went, I had so many tears just throwing it,” John said. “It’s special. Dad shot 298, 299 — never had a 300. I had goosebumps, chills. He was there.”
Hinkle went onto his Facebook page afterward and labeled it an “epic night.”
“I can’t express what tonight means to me,” he added.