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Perham's 1st 300 bowler

Randy VanWatermulen became the 1st bowler to roll a 300 game in Perham when he was perfect at The Cactus on Feb. 1.

John George

As Randy VanWatermulen sat by a table at The Cactus getting ready for the Monday Night Men's Bowling League, there was a pat on the back, a "That a boy", or a "There he is", from everyone walking by. Just one week earlier, on Feb. 1, he became a local legend.

When VanWatermulen bowled his perfect 300 game on league night, Feb. 1, it was like he was was bowling it for everyone at men's night. It was like he was bowling it for everyone at The Cactus. It was like he was bowling it for everyone in Perham.

In a way, he was.

VanWatermulen's 300 game is believed to be the first, and only perfect game ever rolled in Perham. Not just at The Cactus. Anywhere. Ever.

And everyone at Monday Night Men's League knew it.

"The only time I really got nervous was in the 10th frame with everyone watching," he said. "It got pretty quiet. I figured to myself I'd probably leave the 10 pin."

But he didn't. He nailed it. Or should I_say, he nailed all 10. The 12th and final strike.

"The whole house exploded," he said. "That was pretty cool."

VanWatermulen wasn't to nervous as he went through his first nine strikes. He's been down this road before.

His previous high game was a 279, which he hit several times. "Like eight of them," he said.

"I've bowled 10 strikes in a row before," he added, knowing full well it takes more than 10 for a perfect game.

Another reason he wasn't that nervous until the very end was all the attention wasn't on him all night. On another lane, Jeff Tweeton was flirting with perfection as well.

"You pay attention to the other lanes," VanWatermulen said. "I knew Jeff had a pretty good game going."

Tweeton took a perfect game into the 10th frame as well. But his second ball of the 10th frame didn't quite connect. He finished with a 289. Another bowler that night, Lyle Bethel, rolled a 278.

"It was a good night to be bowling here that night, I guess," VanWatermulen said.

He was quick to add his team, D & O Drywall, didn't even get the high team game that night. That honor went to Lakes Cafe. D & O did move into first place overall for the season, and they had the high scratch series (2,454) and high handicap series (2,661). VanWatermulen finished with a 730 series for the night. Tweeton had a 310 handicap game, and a 749 handicap series.

"That's something, to be the first here," VanWatermulen added. "I knew when I hit that last strike that I was the first ever here. It's something (no previous perfect games) everyone knew."

Now there's been one. And everyone at The Cactus know's it.