Bowler bowls perfect game with father's ashes in his ball

John Hinkle Jr., a former NCAA bowling champ at Western Illinois, has bowled a few perfect games in his life.

But the most recent 300 score he bowled is without a doubt the most meaningful.

The 39-year-old Peoria (Illinois) Public Schools counselor went viral this week after he posted on Facebook that his latest perfect bowling score came when using a bowling ball that contained the ashes of his late father.

"I can't express what tonight means to me," Hinkle wrote in the April 12 Facebook post. "He never had a perfect game until NOW."

Hinkle told ESPN that after his father died in 2016, he was cremated and he wanted to honor in a way that reflected their relationship bowling together.

"I have talked about trying to put ashes in a bowling ball for a few years now," Hinkle said. "I asked around if people could do it and everyone said they don't think it would work. One of my childhood friends opened her own pro shop in a nearby bowling alley, and I brought the idea to her. It worked on the first try."

Hinkle told CBS affiliate WMBD in Peoria, Illinois, that he filled the thumb hole on the bowling ball with the ashes and sealed the hole.

"Bowling was a big part of my whole family. Growing up my twin and I lived in the bowling alley waiting on mom and dad to finish their league nights. Every Saturday morning they would take us to bowl in our league, starting at the age of four," he told ESPN. "As we got older you would never see my brother and I bowl without our parents sitting right there supporting us."

After college, Hinkle and his brother and father were teammates in the same bowling league for more than 13 years.

"That's what bowling was about to us ... being able to do it with my family," he said. "When I shoot a 300, the first person to hug me has always been my twin or my father. It's like we do this together."

Hinkle won't stop bowling after this momentous feat, but will retire the unique ball after he plays in the PBA Tour of Champions in May.

"I will no longer throw this bowling ball because I accomplished what I wanted to do for my father. His bowling ball and scores will be displayed at my house next to all my other accomplishments," he said.