Gene Davis grips his bowling ball in his stance before throwing during practice Wednesday at the lanes. CNJ staff photo: Eric Kluth
By Michelle Seeber
Gene Davis fell in love with bowling when he was 9 years old.
He got into bowling, he said, because his brother played baseball, and Davis didn’t like baseball.
His love for the sport, coupled with “lots of practice over the years,” has earned him a reputation for being one of Clovis’ best bowlers.
About four years ago, the 44-year-old manager of Mainline Bowl broke a record, shooting an 858 in a three-game series for the Continental League with his 16-pound ball.
That means that out of 36 possible strikes, he made 34.
“I was really shocked,” he said. “I missed one strike in each of the two games of three. It didn’t hit me until a few days later.”
He opened the series with a perfect 300 game and backed that up with two consecutive 279 games. Davis threw the ball only 38 times in the series.
As a reward for his feat, Davis received two rings from the American Bowling Congress — one for shooting the 300 and one for the 800 series.
Davis had done nothing to prepare for his accomplishment, other than practice.
“It was just our league playing against another league,” he said.
Davis, however, was bowling well in 2000.
His score average was 228, the highest he or anyone in the league had managed in Clovis, he said.
Davis ranked in the top five bowlers in New Mexico, shooting an 837 before his best series, and the time before that, an 805.
Though it’s the best he’s ever bowled, he still wants to shoot 900 in a series, a perfect score, he said.
Asked why he likes bowling so much, he said he didn’t know.
A little prodding from fellow bowler Paul Davidsen of Portales provided the answer.
It’s the challenge.
“You play as a team, but it’s still an individual sport,” Davidsen said. “So, you’re pretty much challenging yourself every time you bowl.”
Davis said, “You only have two chances to knock ’em all down. Practice is the key. It’s the key to anything.”
Davis has worked at Mainline Bowl since July 1997. Before that, he lived in South Korea with his wife, Karol, who was in the U.S. Air Force, and their two daughters, Carollyn and Rachel.
Karol is now retired, he said, adding, “We just had a grandbaby Christmas Day.”
Will the baby girl learn to bowl like her grandfather?
“Hell, yes!” he said.