Klepac bowls 49th, 50th perfect games

Tom Klepac

The accomplishment of rolling a 300 game in bowling is rare enough for most, but not for Columbia’s Tom Klepac. 

The 62-year-old had already bowled 48 career perfect games entering Wednesday night summer league play last week at West Park Bowl in Columbia. 

But even Klepac enjoyed a rarity on this night, rolling two 300 games to reach 50 for his career.

“There are people who bowl a lifetime and never get a 300,” Klepac said. “To have two in one night… I’m pretty excited about it.”

Klepac didn’t roll two consecutive 300 games; he sandwiched a 267 game in between.

His first perfect game came nearly 38 years ago in September 1980. This was obviously the first time he had rolled two  12-strike games in one night.

Klepac gave a rough estimate of 10,000 league games bowled over his career.

In the summer, Klepac currently participates in a trio league at West Park Bowl to keep his game sharp for the more intense winter season, during which he bowls on Monday and Thursday nights. 

In the summer trio league, bowlers do two sessions each week to complete a 24-week schedule in 12 weeks.

“I’ve noticed that if I bowl in the summer, it keeps me sharper for the winter,” he said.

In addition to 50 perfect games, Klepac has accomplished an 800 series a total of 16 times. 

Klepac first bowled in a junior league when he was 7 and bowled a lot with his father as a youngster. His father, now deceased, carried a 200 per game average.

When Klepac secured his 40th perfect game in 2014, he told the Republic-Times his new goal was 50. Now that he’s reached that goal, Klepac has set a new goal for himself.

“I’m a person who sets goals for myself, both personally and professionally” he said. “Now that I’ve reached 50, maybe I’ll try to get one for every year of my age.”

Klepac is proud to say he’s been a part of a group of longtime bowlers who have enjoyed each other’s company for 28 years. That includes such bowlers as Mike Harrington, Walt Rich, Larry McIver, Dave Mann and Mark Schanuel.

They all have 300 games  and 800 series to their credit. 

“When you bowl with the same guys for so many years, they are able to offer suggestions as they understand your game,” Klepac said.

So, what are the keys to bowling success, according to Klepac?

“Consistency and repetition,” Klepac answered. “You have to be consistent and hit the same target in your execution, shot after shot. Understanding the conditions change with each game and having the ability to adjust quickly.”

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