Local bowler Kalani Kepa'a celebrates 300 at Madras Bowl & Pizza
Kalani Kepa'a has always been popular around Madras Bowl & Pizza, but he was truly the man of the hour last week.
After Kepa'a bowled a perfect 300 in league play just before the New Year, the local bowling alley threw a pizza party in his honor on Thursday, Jan. 6. As it happens, the celebration was also part-birthday party. His birthday was on Dec. 29, and he bowled the 300 on the following day.
"Everyone was like, 'Oh man, you should've done it on your birthday!,'" laughed Kalani. "I wasn't that lucky. I got close, though. I shot a 280 on my birthday."
This kind of success is not anything new for Kepa'a, who noted that he has bowled a handful of 300s at Madras Bowl over the years — as well as a couple of 800s.
"I think an 800 is more impressive because it's a matter of three games," said Kepa'a. "A guy could shoot a 300 and then turn around and shoot 130 the next game. It's a challenge to shoot it, because you've got to throw the ball consistently — but I think an 800 is more impressive than a 300."
In reality, Kalani's final score on Dec. 30 was 304, including his four-point scoring handicap.
Kepa'a noted that he has not thrown an 800 since the new lanes were installed over the summer. And while many a 300 has been thrown by locals at Madras Bowl & Pizza, this one was the first in league play on the new lanes. Kepa'a said that the new lanes are an improvement over the last ones, adding that some of the old lanes had difficult "breaks" — like those on a putting green in golf — that would sometimes cause the ball to veer in one direction or another.
Interestingly, Kalani is trying to get a 300 on all 10 lanes at Madras Bowl — and so far, he has many of them crossed off of his list already.
"So far, I've thrown 300s all the way up to lane 8," Kepa'a mentioned. "I've got eight lanes covered where I've thrown 300. I've still got four more lanes to go before I've got the whole building covered."
Kepa'a floated the idea of listing out the high scores on each lane on the wall above the pins, as an incentive for other bowlers to top the mark.
In addition to the pizza party, Kepa'a was also rewarded with a slew of other prizes. His haul also included: a customized jersey from All Rev Apparel, a bowling apparel company based in Lubbock, Texas; his choice of a new pair of Dexter bowling shoes; a $100 gift certificate to Madras Bowl & Pizza; a $100 gift certificate to Hi-Z Antennas in Culver; and a free car detailing from Detail Plus in Madras.
"I think I was more excited to get all the prizes," said Kepa'a with a laugh.
As for the equipment that Kepa'a used to bowl his perfect game, the local roller mentioned that he drilled the bowling ball himself at home.
"Drilling a bowling ball takes a little bit of technique," explained Kepa'a, noting that the ball is made from a polyester material. "You've got to understand the dynamics of a bowling ball, what the intent of the ball is."
"I always throw my equipment," he added.
The same goes for Tami Kepa'a, the league secretary and Kalani's partner for the past 13-plus years. While she is always cheering in support of her husband on the lanes, Tami noted that she had another good reason for coming to league last week.
"I'm here for the free pizza," she joked.
In truth, Tami is a fine bowler in her own right, especially considering that she picked up the game late in life.
"I never bowled before I met Kalani," Tami said, "and we've been married for 11 years now. In the meantime, we've bumped me up to high school coaching and then being the assistant manager for all of Jefferson County, secretary of the league. I think I'm getting better, though."
Who knows, perhaps she will get her own party soon.
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