Bowling Turkey (The History and My Experience)

Bowling Turkey (The History and My Experience of Landing One)

Bowling Turkey

A “bowling turkey” refers to the accomplishment of securing three successive strikes within a single ten-pin bowling game. A strike is achieved when a player manages to knock down all ten pins with their first ball in a frame, earning the highest possible score for that frame.

The term “turkey” has its roots in bowling’s early history when three consecutive strikes were regarded as an exceptional feat, and players were often awarded a live turkey as a prize. Although the practice of presenting live turkeys has ceased, the term remains an enduring symbol of the prowess and accuracy needed to pull off this difficult achievement in the thrilling world of bowling.

Why Is It Called A "Turkey" - Origin of the Term "Bowling Turkey"

In bowling, the term “turkey” is synonymous with the remarkable achievement of scoring three strikes in a row. But have you ever wondered about the origin of this unusual term and how it became associated with bowling success?

This section of the article reveals the captivating history behind the bowling turkey and its journey to becoming a beloved part of the sport’s culture.

A Glimpse into the Past: Tournaments and Their Prizes

The roots of bowling turkey can be traced back to the late 18th and early 19th centuries when bowling tournaments started to gain popularity.

During these events, prizes typically included various food items, such as a ham, a grocery-filled basket, or even a turkey. Especially around Thanksgiving in the United States, turkeys became a popular prize, adding a festive element to the tournaments.

The Inception of Turkey: An Unsolved Enigma

While the precise moment when a turkey was first offered as a prize for scoring three strikes in a row remains unknown, it is clear that this creative idea spread rapidly among bowling enthusiasts.

Eventually, the term “turkey” became integral to bowling vocabulary, symbolizing the challenge of achieving three consecutive strikes.

Earning the Prize: The Difficulty of Scoring Three Strikes

In the early days of bowling, obtaining three strikes in a row was incredibly difficult. Bowling lanes lacked today’s smooth, refined surfaces, and pins were often positioned by hand, sometimes unevenly.

Moreover, bowling balls tended to be unbalanced, and tournament organizers sometimes employed tricks to make knocking down pins more difficult, such as adding weight to the pin bottoms.

Consequently, the prospect of winning a turkey for achieving three consecutive strikes was a highly coveted challenge, even for the most experienced bowlers.

New Terminology for a Changing Game

As technology and lane conditions improved over time, scoring multiple strikes in a row became more frequent. Consequently, new terms emerged to describe this increased strike occurrence. Some examples include “ham bone” for four consecutive strikes, “wild turkey” for six consecutive strikes, and “golden turkey” for nine consecutive strikes.

Although these terms are not as well-known as “bowling turkey,” they reflect the sport’s ongoing evolution.

What Comes After A Turkey In Bowling

Among the most recognized achievements in bowling is the “turkey,” which represents three consecutive strikes. However, there are other, less-known milestones in bowling that follow a turkey, each with its distinct name.

In this section, we’ll delve into the lesser-known bowling achievements after a turkey and what it takes to reach them.

The Four-Bagger: Four Strikes in a Row

After a turkey, the subsequent achievement is a ” Four-Bagger,” which signifies four consecutive strikes, also called a “hambone” in some bowling communities. The term hambone has its origins in the practice of awarding a ham to any bowler who managed four consecutive strikes.

Still, the name four bagger has endured due to its reference to the number of strikes in the sequence. Four strikes are a considerable achievement showcasing a bowler’s skill and consistency.

The Five-Bagger: Five Strikes in a Row

Following a quadruple strike, the next milestone is a “Five-Bagger,” which refers to five consecutive strikes. Five strikes are less frequent than turkeys but still relatively common among skilled bowlers. A five-strike demonstrates a bowler’s ability to maintain high accuracy and precision over several frames.

The Six-Pack (Wild Turkey): Six Strikes in a Row

The next bowling accomplishment is the “Six-Pack” or “Wild Turkey,” which represents six consecutive strikes. As the name implies, a six-pack is an impressive achievement highlighting a bowler’s ability to consistently hit the pocket (the ideal point of contact between the ball and the pins).

A six-pack is an indication of a bowler’s expertise, and achieving one is a source of pride and satisfaction.

The Seven-Bagger: Seven Strikes in a Row

Seven consecutive strikes are often called ” seven-in-a-row ” or a “seven-bagger.” As the number of consecutive strikes increases, so does the rarity and prestige of the accomplishment. A seven-bagger is an extraordinary achievement that showcases a bowler’s ability to maintain focus, consistency, and skill over several frames.

The Eight-Bagger: Eight Strikes in a Row

An “eight-bagger is the term used for a bowler who achieves eight consecutive strikes. This achievement is increasingly rare and highlights the bowler’s exceptional skill, concentration, and ability to perform under pressure.

The Nine-Bagger (Golden Turkey): Nine Strikes in a Row

A “nine-bagger” or “Golden Turkey” is a remarkable accomplishment that signifies nine consecutive strikes. This achievement is increasingly uncommon, even among professional bowlers, and is a true testament to a bowler’s skill and consistency.

The Perfect Game: Twelve Strikes in a Row

The pinnacle of bowling achievements is a “perfect game,” which comprises twelve consecutive strikes, leading to a score of 300. This rare and awe-inspiring accomplishment represents the highest level of bowling success. It is a testament to a bowler’s talent, dedication, and precision.

Funny Bowling Lingos

  1. Gutter Gobbler: A ball that rolls into the gutter rather than hitting any pins.
  2. Hambone: A series of four strikes in succession.
  3. Splitsville: A tough split where the pins are widely separated, requiring a spare.
  4. Brooklyn: A strike occurs when the ball hits the opposite side of the headpin, often unintentionally.
  5. Deadwood: Pins that have been knocked down but remain on the lane.
  6. Granny Style: A two-handed bowling technique reminiscent of how a grandma might bowl.
  7. Cherry Picker: A bowler who only manages to knock down the front pin, leaving the rest standing.
  8. Picket Fence: A term for the 1-2-4-7 or 1-3-6-10 spare leaves resembling a line of fence pickets.
  9. Clean Game: A game where a bowler achieves a spare or strike in each frame without any open frames.

Turkey Strike vs. Turkey Bowling

Turkey Strike and Turkey Bowling are two distinct recreational activities that provide fun and entertainment.

Turkey Strike involves using frozen turkeys as bowling balls to knock down pins, providing a unique challenge due to the turkeys’ irregular shape and weight distribution. This activity often serves as a fundraiser or charity event, bringing communities together for a good cause.

On the other hand, Turkey Bowling typically uses a standard bowling ball decorated to resemble a turkey, maintaining the traditional aspects of bowling while adding a festive twist. Participants enjoy the familiar gameplay with the added visual appeal, making it a popular choice for holiday-themed events or parties.

My Story

One enjoyable Friday evening, my friends and I decided to switch up our routine and head to the local bowling center, seeking a refreshing and exciting experience. We were greeted by the familiar scents of well-worn leather shoes and the distinctive sounds of bowling balls crashing into pins, filling the air with a vibrant, communal energy.

As we laced up our bowling shoes and selected our balls, I felt a bit out of place, having not bowled for quite some time and far from mastering the sport. Yet, that night turned out to be unexpectedly remarkable.

My initial rounds were average, but soon I managed to score two consecutive strikes. Initially, I thought little of it, but as I lined up for my third roll, the excitement from my friends was evident. Achieving three consecutive strikes, known as a “bowling turkey,” is a notable feat in the sport.

With anticipation high, I took my shot. The ball rolled smoothly and struck the pins perfectly—I had scored a turkey! This achievement brought an unexpected sense of accomplishment, symbolizing personal progress and a deeper engagement with bowling. The cheers from my friends made the moment even more memorable.

Since that evening, bowling has become a staple in our social outings. We’ve begun to explore more of the sport’s terminology and techniques, from mastering the challenging 7-10 split to avoiding the dreaded gutter ball. Each session adds excitement and complexity to our gatherings.

Scoring that bowling turkey has become more than just a fun story; it symbolizes perseverance and camaraderie. It reminds us that with determination and support, we can overcome challenges and achieve great things, even if it’s just in a game of bowling.

So, the next time you find yourself at a bowling alley, think of the magic of the “bowling turkey.” Tackle the challenges, celebrate your victories, and most importantly, enjoy the moments with your companions. That’s what truly captures the spirit of bowling.

My Take on How to Bowl a Turkey Successfully

As a passionate bowler, I’ve learned that securing a turkey in bowling, or getting three strikes in a row, demands a blend of accuracy, steadiness, and mental concentration. To achieve this, I always pick the right ball that offers a snug fit and enables an effortless release.

Next, I establish a specific starting position and target on the lane, aiming for the “pocket.” That is the space between the headpin and either the 3-pin (for right-handers) or the 2-pin (for left-handers). I uphold a consistent pace and fluid motion throughout each approach to guarantee precision.

Most importantly, I concentrate on staying calm and mentally collected during the game, envisioning my intended outcome and preventing pressure from affecting my performance.

Wrapping Up

Achieving a “bowling turkey” has been a thrilling and unforgettable journey for me. I have come to recognize the commitment, expertise, and steadiness necessary to land three strikes in a row during a bowling match.

This feat has enhanced my self-assurance and deepened my passion for the sport. Additionally, I have learned the value of friendship and encouragement among fellow bowlers as we all work towards achieving new goals and rejoicing in our victories together.

I will persist in sharpening my abilities and aspire to accomplish even more, motivated by the feeling of triumph that accompanies each bowling turkey.

Leave a Reply