Wilson gets No. 7 pin, 300 this time

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 29, 2002

[01/26/02]Wearing the sapphire ring he won when he bowled a 299, Rick Wilson can now show off the diamonds.

Wilson, who faltered in 1996 on the final roll in his quest for a 300, drained the finale on Jan. 18, setting off a wild celebration including his son, who was visiting from New Orleans.

“Everyone let me know,” said Wilson, who looked away in nervousness before the final pins fell. “Eddie Turner was on the approach right next to me, and he was more excited than I was.”

In his 299 game, Wilson had the perfect game heading into the 12th and final roll. He left the No. 7 pin standing.

It was a No. 7 that had Wilson a little worried during the perfect game as well.

“There’s an old saying in bowling that if you hit six in a row, the ball gets heavy on number seven,” said Wilson, who became the 10th person to bowl a 300 at RCB. “It did.”

He admitted that it took him hours to get to sleep, replaying the frames in his head. Luckily, though, he doesn’t have to be at work at the Isle of Capri until the late afternoon.

“Somewhere around 3 a.m., I went to sleep,” Wilson said with a chuckle.

“Thursday, my wife and I played cards and relaxed.”

Until that night’s league match of course. Wilson threw seven straight strikes in practice and on the first hole of the game, he had a strike.

Could he roll a second straight 300?

“I expected it to pick up right where I left off,” he said. “After the first strike, the rest of the night was lousy.”

Wilson, 58, who has been bowling at Red Carpet Lanes since 1976, carried the seven, then “everything was back to normal.”

He nailed the next four shots, setting up the dramatic finish.

“The last shot was in the same place as the other 11 and it felt good,” Wilson said. “I just hoped it carried the seven.”

The crowd let him know.

“They all came down and were hugging my neck and shaking my hand,” Wilson said.

It was the eighth 300 game in the 40-plus year history of Red Carpet Lanes, the first of 2002.

A Newellton, La., native, Wilson used to make the hour-plus drive to Vicksburg on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. In 1976, he moved to Vicksburg and continued to bowl regularly.

He now bowls on a Wednesday Night Couples team with his wife, Glenda, and the Red Carpet Lanes’ owners John and Monica Magruder.

“It’s something every bowler shoots for,” Wilson said.

“I was wondering ever since I shot the 299 (if I’d get the 300). It’s a rarity. Everything has to be just right.”

His next milestone will be a 700 game.

Like the 300, he has come close in the past with a 668 on the night of his 300 game and a 672 on the night of his 299 game.

He said he’ll try for the 700 as long as the arthritis in his knees and back allow him to play.

“I love this game,” Wilson said.