Boone bowls 300 at Blue Ridge

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A bowler for 40 years, Ralph Boone of Galax rolled his first 300 game recently at Blue Ridge Lanes.

By Craig Worrell, Sports Editor

Keeping score in bowling can be a daunting task for many. On March 18, Ralph Boone needed no help keeping track, from neither pencil and paper nor the automated scoring monitors at Blue Ridge Lanes. Boone knew that 12 strikes equaled a nice, round, magic number. A retired Federal employee and a bowler for 40 years, Boone rolled his first perfect game recently while competing for the Yard Man team in the Thursday night Blue Ridge League. Boone hadn’t taken a perfect game passt the ninth frame more than just a few times in his four decades in the sport. Contrary to what many would think, the final ball wasn’t the most nerve-wracking. “I got to the 10th frame and I was pretty nervous,” said Boone, 64. “The 10th and the 11th ball I was really nervous.” His 10th ball of the night met the pins a little outside of the ideal spot, but it did its job, leaving him two rolls shy. No. 11 hit the head pin, but all 10 hit the deck. Well before he got to his last ball, all other activity in the facility had come to a complete standstill. Boone’s game was the focal point of all in attendance. “There wasn’t a sound in the whole place,” he said. “You could have heard a pin drop. Soon enough, everyone would hear 10 pins drop. Boone said that once he got cleanly through the 10th and 11th, the nerves had subsided.  “By the 12th ball I knew I had a 290 [score] so the pressure was kind of off,” he said. Appropriately, Boone’s final roll was perfect from the moment it left his hand. “Everybody just went crazy,” he said. “They came up to me screaming and hollering and hugging my neck, even folks I didn’t know. “Rolling a 300 may not sound that exciting, but it feels pretty good.” Even at a place as popular as Blue Ridge Lanes, a 300 game comes around maybe once a year. Boone’s next perfect game happened just a few hours later. “I went to bed that night, but I woke up a couple of hours later, hearing all the people hollering,” he said. “I just laid awake and I could remember every ball I rolled through the whole game. “I didn’t get a lot of sleep that night,” he said.