July 18, 1988 12:00 PM

Dave Kremer remembers well how his rise to greatness began. “Well, it started out like a fish story,” says Kremer, 25, a production manager for a chemical company in St. Louis, Mo. “A year ago in July, a bunch of us were standing around the bowling alley one night after a few beers, and one guy said he knew a guy who could stack three bowling balls on top of each other. Another guy said he’d seen a guy stack four. And I said, ‘I bet I can balance more than that.’ ” That night Kremer successfully stacked five. Then six. Then seven.

It took another month for him to reach eight, and several more months for him to repeat the event on videotape for historic verification. In March, when a local paper sent a photographer down, Kremer could stack only seven balls. Now, after many attempts, his record stands at nine—an exploit captured on tape by a local TV crew. (Yeah, there are only eight balls in the photo—this is an achievement not easily duplicated.) The tape has been forwarded to the Guinness Book of World Records, in the hope that Kremer’s feat will make the 1989 edition.

His is surely a stupid human trick, but one with a method. “I always place the thumbhole of the first ball down, which steadies it. The next thumbhole will go on top of the center of the first ball. There’s a weight between the thumb and finger holes, so the thumbholes are always down.” He sets the heavy 16-pound balls at the bottom, progresses to the 14-and 12-pound balls and tops it off with eight-pounders.

More often than not, the balls come crashing to the floor, creating tiny but costly dents in the surface of Saratoga Lanes. “I’ll let Dave do the trick for the press this time,” said the alley’s owner, Tom Buck, as Kremer prepared to do the stunt for PEOPLE. “But the next time he does it, it better be for God.”

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