Bowling: Xenia bowler, 71, is still perfect

Ken Ray had long ago dismissed any thought of rolling another perfect game.

“I didn’t think I had it in me anymore,” Ray said.

The 71-year-old Xenia bowler was mistaken.

Ray rolled a 300 game on March 10 at Poelking Lanes in the Poelking Deluxe League. He has now bowled at least one perfect game in each of the past six decades, starting in 1974 at McCook’s.

“I fell in love with the game when I was very young,” he said. “I had two 300s that first year and bowled most of them in the 70s and 80s.”

Ray competed for several years on the PBA Tour but, by the late 1980s, his knees started to bother him. While he still loved the game, he bowled less often. But there was still an occasional honor score, most recently in 2012.

“I’m 71 and, to be honest with you, my arthritis in my hands makes it tough to bowl sometimes,” he said. “But I’ve never gotten to the point where I didn’t want to go bowling. I’ve always looked forward to it.”

While exercise and entertainment are his primary reasons for bowling these days, they aren’t the only reasons.

“I still have a little competitive spirit in me,” he said, smiling.

He competes in two leagues a week, averaging about 205.

A perfect game, however, seemed highly unlikely that Tuesday night as Ray’s first game was a disappointing 160.

“I couldn’t carry, I had had it with that ball,” he said. “I got another ball out and threw 12 strikes – it was a great ball change.”

While he isn’t sure of his exact count, Ray thinks he is now close to 30 career 300 games. And while he isn’t counting on another perfect game anytime soon, he has no intention of hanging up his bowling shoes.

“I don’t think I’ll ever quit bowling.”

•Closed until further notice: A recent order issued by the governor has left bowling centers across the state shuttered indefinitely. Bowling Proprietors Association of Greater Dayton President Mike Poelking has instructed league presidents or secretaries to contact center owners or managers to make decisions regarding league postponement. Each center will handle the leagues on a case-by-case basis.

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