John Hinkle used a custom bowling ball to pay tribute to his late father, who was also a bowler

By Jason Duaine Hahn
April 22, 2021 04:26 PM
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While John Hinkle has bowled more than his fair share of perfect games, his most recent one is likely the most special.

A former NCAA bowling champion, Hinkle scored a perfect game — also known as a 300 — on April 12 while using a bowling ball with his late father's ashes in it. His father, John Hinkle Sr., died in 2016 and was also an avid bowler, but he had never scored a 300 in his career.

"I can't express what tonight means to me," Hinkle, from Illinois, wrote on Facebook the night of the perfect game. "I just bowled a 300 with my ball I put my Dad's ashes in. He never had a perfect game until NOW."

"Epic Night," the 39-year-old added.

Hinkle told WMBD it took him years to find someone who was willing to put the ashes in the ball. But the wait was undoubtedly worth it for such a powerful moment.

"I was talking to my brother and told him, 'I'm shooting a 300 with this ball," John recalled to the news station. "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," he added.

Since Hinkle bowls two-handed, he's not allowed to have three open holes in a ball, so his father's ashes were placed in the thumb hole of his ball.

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"This makes up for so many nights growing up when we slept in a bowling alley while our parents were finishing league night," Joe Hinkle, John's brother, told WMBD.

John said he believed his father was there to witness the fitting tribute.

"It's special. Dad shot 298, 299, never had a 300. I had goosebumps, chills," John told the news station. "He was there. This is the best (300 game), and definitely the hardest. I was shaking."