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Young Campbell River bowler lands perfect game — twice in 2 weeks

Ethan Belanko scored twelve strikes in a row, then did it again two weeks later
Ethan Belanko recently bowled two perfect games, two weeks apart at the Campbell River Bowling Centre. Photo courtesy Campbell River Bowling Centre

A young bowler from Campbell River recently bowled a perfect game, twice!

On Monday, Feb. 14, 17-year-old Ethan Belanko scored his eleventh strike in a row. He was one away from the elusive perfect game. Nerves got the best of him, and he said his last ball was “a little too hard and didn’t carry the strike,” ending his game one point short of the elusive 300.

However, he wasn’t dissuaded and headed back to the lanes the next day where he shot 12 strikes in a row for his first ever perfect 300 game. Now this achievement is nothing to sniff at. The odds of the average bowler getting a perfect 300 are 11,500 to one. It’s rare enough that a few TV shows and movies have used the feat as a main plot point, including Married… With Children, The Simpsons and The Big Lebowski.

What makes it even more impressive is that less than two weeks later, on Feb. 27, Belanko did it again.

“It was definitely a lot of nerves, knowing you’re able to step up there and do something some people don’t have the opportunity to do,” he said after his first game.

Belanko started bowling when he was 12 years old. At the time, he had an average score of 133. Over the years, he has increased his average score to 220. He currently bowls in two adult leagues as well as the youth league. Before his two perfect games, Belanko’s biggest achievement was winning the provincial championship.

“To take my talent to the next level achievements are great, but goals are still always going to be set,” he said. “I hope to make the BC Tenpin team again because the last time I qualified it (The national tournament) was canceled due to the pandemic.”

To get to this point, Belanko has been staying fit and practicing spares. His advice for new bowlers: “To take your time and let the progress show itself.”

Belanko bowls at the Campbell River Bowling Centre, which has ten lanes for 10-pin bowling (Belanko’s chosen discipline) and eight lanes for five-pin bowling.

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