Kelowna bowler Peter Bartel had little indication he was about to make history, a week ago Thursday, as he took part in his weekly 5-pin bowling league games at the Capri Valley Lanes.
Bartel, 82, was coming off what he called an embarrassing effort in his previous game. But there was nothing embarrassing about what was about to happen, except maybe the attention he would garner.
Bartel would roll a perfect game—12 strikes in a row—for a 450 score. It was his first ever perfect game and only the second perfect game bowled in B.C. this year. In fact, according to research done by the Capri Lanes, Bartel is the oldest Canadian bowler to ever roll a perfect game.
“I have no idea how it happened,” said Bartel. “You just throw the ball and every time it was a strike. I was amazed. The game before was terrible. How that could happen is beyond me.”
As Bartel started to accumulate strikes, a buzz started in the Capri Lanes. As he moved through the frames and kept knocking them all down, other bowlers gathered around.
“Everybody was cheering,” he said. “Every time I got up they cheered and when I got a strike it really roared. It was almost bedlam. Everybody was hooting and hollering and what are you going to do? You stand there like your face is hanging out. It was really quite something.”
Making things even better was the fact that Bartel could share the accomplishment with his family. His teammates consisted of his two brothers and two sisters—the Five B’s—bowling together for a number of years, since his sister Anne got the team started.
“He’s a good bowler,” said Anne. “But to be that consistent for 12 strikes that’s really something. We watched him and cheered him on. All the lanes knew something was going on. I was thinking maybe we were distracting him but he seemed to be in a zone.”
Capri Valley Lanes owner Brian Sargeant has since contacted the Canadian 5 Pin Bowling Association as well as board members and others involved in the sport across Canada. While official ages are not kept in the record books, no one can recall someone older than Bartel rolling a perfect game.
“Until someone can disprove this we think he is the oldest bowler in Canada to do this,” said Sargeant. “I’ve been in bowling for 32 years and I can’t remember a senior bowling even a 400 game let alone a perfect game. It is really quite significant.”
For his efforts Bartel will receive plenty of gifts and attention including free bowling for a year, a houseboat trip and other plaques and recognition from various governing bodies. When he showed up for his regular Thursday league this week Capri Lanes had a cake and celebration ready.
It all begs the question whether he thinks he can pull it off again.
“No, never,” he said. “It would have to be a miracle. But I guess this probably was too. To do that never entered my mind. Sure when you get two or three in a row you think it’s a big deal so when you when you do it all you can’t understand how it can happen.”