Local Mark Vetter sets a world record for between-the-legs bowling
August 21, 2014
Local bowler Mark Vetter set a new world record for bowling between the legs. He rolled a 280, eclipsing the old record of 224.
EAGLE — Mark Vetter's bowling world record is Colorado's best rolling since voters legalized pot.
Vetter set a new world record for bowling between his legs, and he's probably the only world record holder you know.
It's not weird. It's unique, and it will take a perfect game to break Vetter's world-record score of 280.
"The best thing about all this? Now I get to bowl regular again," Vetter said after breaking the record Tuesday at Eagle's Back Bowl.
Saving his best for last
When we last visited Vetter a week and a half ago, he'd bowled 33 games trying to break the world record. He'd have had it if Satan hadn't nailed the 10 pin to the floor. On Tuesday, Satan must have misplaced his hammer.
After 15 games Tuesday, he announced he'd try two more then call it a night. His 17th game was the world beater. It'll take a perfect game to beat him, and some divine intervention to subdue the 10 pin.
A quick lesson for those who misspent their youth hanging around places other than bowling alleys and don't know where a 10 pin is. In bowling, the pins are arranged in a triangle. The 10 pin is skulking in the back right corner, hiding in the dark and lying in wait to dash your dreams.
Vetter finally broke the record in his 17th and final game Tuesday.
Thirty-three games a week and a half ago and 17 on Tuesday is 50 games. Robert Mann is an accountant and was sitting next to us when Vetter broke the record. Mann did the math, and accountants are fairly incorruptible.
Perfect practice makes perfect
Here's the deal. Vetter is the best in the world at this thing he does.
You watch him work and struggle and sweat and get so close so often, but not quite make it. Then he wipes his sweaty brow and tries again … and again … and again.
And that, young people, is how greatness is achieved.
The record was 224, set Jan. 25, 2013, by Frederick G. Magliacane at Bellair Lanes in Daytona Beach, Florida. Technically, Magliacane still holds the record until the Guinness people confirm Vetter's efforts.
The Guinness world record and Guinness beer people are the same family, which explains why they keep track of world records for things like bowling between your legs.
Vetter hit a 226 in practice a couple of weeks ago. He hit 217 in last week's record attempt. Early in Tuesday's record attempt he rolled a 219 with a spare and strike in the 10th frame. Had it been reversed, a strike and spare, he'd have the record, but not the probably-unbreakable 280.
"If I'd have broken it then, I probably would have stopped and not rolled my 280," Vetter said after it was done.
The record roll
After two and a half hours and 15 games Tuesday, Vetter said he'd try two more games then call it a night. He was tired and he looked it.
"People thought I was checked out. I was checked out," Vetter said.
When it became mathematically impossible in a game for Vetter to break the record, he started a new game. Tuesday's 16th game ended after five frames.
He opened that 17th game with a strike and followed with a spare in the second frame. Then the stars aligned and his ball began to hit the pins like the fist of God — it didn't have to hit hard, it hit just right.
"I finally started going up there and putting the ball in the right place and letting the ball do the work," Vetter said.
He rolled five straight strikes and the atmosphere changed from admiring his willingness to stick with this to, "Hey, maybe this time."
"I put together that five pack (five straight strikes) and thought, 'Hey, this is shaping up to be good,'" Vetter said.
Yes it was.
He was within one ball of a perfect game, 300. That spare in the second frame was his only imperfection.
Bowling can be hard, but it's not complicated. With bonuses for strikes, 30 pins are available for each frame. In 10 frames that's 300 pins. Trust us. Mann the accountant did the math.
About between-the-legs bowling
Vetter was bored one day and started bowling with his left hand, and sometimes through his legs. We're told beer might have been a factor.
"Never underestimate the motivational power of beer," he said.
Anyway, one day he threw a 211 between his legs. He found out there's a world record and that he'd gotten close, practically without setting down his beer.
He starts like a normal bowler, striding toward the line. On his last step he swings his right arm around and fires the ball between his legs in a huge, graceful arc. The ball swings right to left, or left to right, across the lane like a politician chasing votes in an election year — and it is an election year.
Vetter is originally from St. Louis, and during his first attempt a week and a half ago, the St. Louis Rams football team was playing a televised preseason game while he was bowling.
On Tuesday, the St. Louis Cardinals were beating the Cincinnati Reds when he broke the world record.
What does that teach us?
God loves baseball and bowling.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and firstname.lastname@example.org.