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Center Point's Meader Bowls Unexpected Record Series

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Sometimes it's better to be lucky than good.

That's exactly how Chris Meader, 35, of Center Point, felt after doing something no one else in Iowa State USBC BA Tournament history had done bowl an 868 series.

It was a feat that made him the state tournament record holder.

In order to earn his mark, Meader rolled a three-game series of 290, 278 and 300 on May 11.

"Never in a million years would I have thought I would have shot that, honestly," Meader said. "I don't discredit my bowling by any means. I can do it. To say in the back of my mind that I'm going to go in and shoot 868, it was not even fathomable."

It was a moment, however, that came after many years and hours practicing and learning from experienced players.

Meader took up bowling at the age of 12 when his mother, father and brother bowled at May City Bowl in Cedar Rapids every Friday night. As his affection for the game grew, he started entering competitions with his brother.

"I guess I went out and bowled three or four days a week plus I bowled league on Saturday mornings as a kid," Meader said. "We had our own Saturday morning league that only kids bowl in."

He bowled on the club team at Cedar Rapids Jefferson because, at that time, the sport was not sanctioned by the Iowa High School Athletic Association.

"We would match up against all of the other schools like Washington and Kennedy and places like that," Meader said. "And then we would actually have our own district and state tournament.

"In my high school career, if I remember right, we won two state titles and we were runner-up twice. We were a pretty dominant team and we had a lot of great bowlers."

Meader graduated from Jefferson in 1996 and began working at Pro Bowling Concepts in Cedar Rapids. It was there he first met owner Kris Kinkead and manager Dave McNabb.

McNabb, who is the uncle of Meader's wife, began bowling with Meader in the state tournament as doubles partners and have been playing together off and on for the last 12 years. At the state tournament in May, McNabb was on Meader's team when he rolled the tournament record series.

"Probably feeling just less nerves and more excitement," McNabb said of the team and Meader during the series. "I think that's what kept it going. In the game of bowling if you let the nerves get to you, you're always going to be doomed.

"We all just kind of fed off each other and we bowl with a great group of guys. Chris has always been a critical part of that team."

Meader has been bowling less in recent years because of the time commitment, but had been bowling in Marengo before the state tournament. He said the extra practice was helpful, but there is really one key to his success when the day of competition arrives.

"Actually my teammates, they were really helping me out," Meader said. "Dave McNabb really put a lot of confidence behind me and would say you're really throwing the ball good and keep it going. We had some guys behind us that were spectating, heckling us a little bit. That kind of helped out, too, the drive a little bit. I credit more of my score to my teammates keeping me motivated."

Even when he was sitting at 568 after two games, Meader felt very composed entering his final game. He said his naturally laid back personally probably is an aid, as well as being surrounded by other supportive bowlers.

He was perfect in that final game, something that made his kids and wife at home very excited and proud to hear.

"My son and daughter, they both bowl," Meader said. "So now they've got something to look up to. I don't want to say it puts me in the upper echelon of bowlers in Iowa, but everybody has a good day once."

The state record is a point of pride for him.

"He's always had the ability," McNabb said. "We all felt like it was just one of those days. Like golfing, you strike the ball well and you shoot it just the amount of yards you want. Every shot he took was just right where it should have been. We all just kind of felt we were kind of working together and just kept encouraging him. He just had one of those days, a career day."

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