With his heart racing, pumping “about 1,000 beats per minute,” Dylan Obowa lined up across 10 obstacles that stood between him and perfection. Those same 10 obstacles stood in front of him 11 times before this and 11 times before he sent them flying all around. As he began his walk, he stared at the maplewood barrier one final time.
Then an explosion of cheers rang out as Obowa bowled his first 300 game Nov. 15 at Northern Aire Lanes in Fergus Falls. The 16-year-old competed in the United State Bowling Academy Flight Tournament at the lanes.
“I'm not surprised at his 300 game at all,” Fergus Falls High School bowling coach Dean Paulson said. “He's put in a lot of time and effort to get to this point ... and he'll have many more down the road.”
Obowa realized that he could roll a perfect game around the ninth frame. His prior best was a 298, two pins away from the feat. Being so close in the past still did not prepare him for that final 10th frame. As he approached the lane with his Motiv Venom Shock ball, things changed.
“It felt like something out of a movie, going up to the approach with my heart pounding out of my chest, my hands and legs were shaking so much I thought I was going to fall over. When I threw the final ball It looked perfect out of my hand and it was. At that moment my mind went blank ... I didn't know what to feel. Then came a moment I'll never forget. I turned around to a huge crowd of people cheering for me and best of all, seeing all of my family and co-workers at Northern Aire Lanes share this moment of happiness and excitement with me ... I'll never forget it,” Obowa said.
“Dylan is a humble but fierce competitor,” Northern Aire Lanes manager and coach Luke Loeffler said. “He has a strong desire to find a way to score no matter what the lane conditions are. Dylan is one of the most dedicated junior bowlers in my times of junior bowling.”
“Dylan is a great kid. He has a passion for the sport that is second to none. He works hard on his game at practice, and puts his heart into every competition. As a coach, you cannot ask for more than that,” Paulson added.
The six-game tournament saw Obowa finish with 1,328 pins, finishing second overall. The tournament is a traveling circuit that allows youth bowlers to earn scholarships and a chance to qualify for a spot at the Junior Gold National Tournament. Obowa bowls mostly in the Northern Division which includes other bowlers from central Minnesota and North Dakota.
Obowa has been bowling competitively for about seven years and the rush of seeing a clear deck after the first shot is a major thrill for him. “I think the best thing about bowling to me is that feeling when you throw the perfect shot and out of your hand you know all 10 pins are going down, there's nothing quite like it,” Obowa said.