WALLA WALLA - Rick Howerton set an impressive mark at Bowlaway Lanes in Walla Walla Saturday.
The 58-year-old bowler scored an 879 in a series of three games during the Marley and Dave Jacobs Memorial Tournament while bowling cleanup for a three-man team, the Gene Boys.
That score breaks the previous Walla Walla city record of 859 rolled by Duane Thompson, and ties several other states' records for most points over three games, although it falls short of the Washington state record.
The current state record is 898, set by Spokane's Eddie Williams in 2007, according to the U.S. Bowling Congress.
Howerton came just shy of beating that mark when he missed the 9 pin in the third frame of the first game and picked up a spare. It was the only pin he missed Saturday.
From there, he hit 33 straight strikes, for 35 out of 36 possible strikes on the evening, and bowled two perfect games in the process.
"The ball was rolling really well before the tournament," Howerton, who started bowling when he was 8 years old, said. "I thought we'd score well, but I no idea I would shoot anything like that."
Howerton is no stranger to success on the lanes. This is the fourth over-800 game he has bowled, but all his previous games fell in the low 800s. His previous high was an 817 he bowled last year.
Howerton said he realized he was on course for a special night after the second game.
"When I shot the second 300 I thought, ‘Oh this is amazing, I have 21 strikes in a row,'" Howerton said, "and I just kept on going.
"Of course I got nervous," he said. "It was kind of like, ‘Oh man, when is this going to end?' It was almost like I was in a dream."
Howerton's high score helped lead the Gene Boys to a tournament victory with a 2,292 team score.
The second-place team rolled a 2,205.
"Every ball was right in the pocket, it was wonderful to watch," Howerton's friend Alda Postlewait, who was at the tournament, said. "You don't see it very often, even in the pro's."