John Hinkle bowled a perfect game in Peoria, Illinois, last week — and while it wasn’t his first, it was the most special.
That’s because he’d added his late father’s ashes to his bowling ball.
Hinkle shared a video on Facebook of the final throw that clenched him that coveted 300 on April 12. The two-handed bowler is seen launching the ball down the lane before it makes a dramatic hook to the left and sends every pin flying.
His crew breaks into cheers before he drops his elbows to his knees, taking in the moment.
A man approaches and Hinkle pulls him into a hug as the bowling alley announces his score over the loudspeaker: “Landmark Lanes, we want to congratulate John Hinkle on a 300!”
Hinkle, a 39-year-old counselor at Peoria Public Schools, said the weight of the moment started to hit him near the end of the game.
“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,” Hinkle told WMBD.
Peoria River City Bowling Association explained that due to new weight hole rules, Hinkle had to plug one of the holes on his ball to play.
He decided to use some of his dad’s ashes in the plug.
It took Hinkle a while to find someone who would accommodate his request, but once he did, he knew the ball was a winner, WMBD reported.
“I was talking to my brother and told him, ‘I’m shooting a 300 with this ball,” Hinkle told the outlet. “And Joe said, ‘do it!’”
Hinkle’s dad, John Hinkle Sr., died in 2016.
He’s remembered as a kind man who was always ready to help. Hinkle Sr. loved to fish and watch NASCAR and was an avid bowler.
He bowled in the American Legion League at Landmark for more than 30 years.
“This makes up for so many nights growing up when we slept in a bowing alley while our parents were finishing league night,” Joe Hinkle, John’s brother, told WMBD.
During his decades in the game, Hinkle Sr. came as close to scoring a 300 as a bowler can but never bowled a perfect game, according to the outlet.
That all changed last week.
“He never had a perfect game until NOW,” John Hinkle wrote on Facebook.
Hinkle said he knows his father was watching.
“It’s special,” he told WMBD. “He was there. This is the best (300 game), and definitely the hardest. I was shaking.”