by Fred Eisenhammer
NORTH LAS VEGAS – Charles Kenny got an early Christmas present from girlfriend Celia Ramirez and it turned out to be a memorable one.
Kenny unpacked his newly gifted Storm Hy-Road Nano bowling ball, got the holes drilled on the ball and then powered a 300 in his first game with it – all in the same day.
That happened to be the 100th sanctioned perfect game in the career of Charles Kenny, who was named to the North Los Angeles County Hall of Fame four months earlier.
Kenny blasted an 802 series with games of 300, 267 and 235 in league play Dec. 21 at Texas Star Lanes inside Texas Station Casino in North Las Vegas.
Kenny, a longtime San Fernando Valley resident, had moved to Las Vegas in August with Ramirez.
Kenny’s 100th perfect game wasn’t a surprise to people back in L.A.; it was inevitable that the powerful right-hander would reach his target. He had departed for Las Vegas with 98 perfect games in his resume – all of them coming in the L.A. area. He added two more to that total in the past few weeks in Las Vegas.
“For want of a better word, Charles is a ‘beast’ when it comes to bowling, and I say that in the most positive way,” said Valley ace Johnnie Englehart, who himself has shot 69 perfectos.
“He’s built like a linebacker – huge and strong. I’m surprised he didn’t do it sooner.”
The 36-year-old Kenny is a former second-team All-Los Angeles City first baseman at Chatsworth High School. He led the Chancellors to the City Section baseball title in 1999.
Kenny said he was “relieved and happy” about rolling his 100th perfect game. “Honestly, you never know when you’ll shoot the next one,” he said. “Shooting it was very important.”
He credited three individuals as playing a key role in his bowling success through the years. They are Rusty Bryant, Russell Booth and Brandon McGinnes, all of whom have served as valuable “friends and mentors.”
“They definitely have played a part in where I’m at now,” Kenny said.
Kenny said rolling his 100th perfect game “ranked right up there” with his top bowling thrills and accomplishments. He added that being selected to the USBC Hall of Fame still ranked as No. 1.
As far as goals still to reach, Kenny wasn’t sure about his next one. Reminded that he once said he’d like to bowl a 900, Kenny said “that’s always a goal. But that’s a very, very, very high goal.”
Last year, Kenny turned in a stunning performance during which he crushed an 876 series with games of 300, 277 and 299 in league play at Jewel City Bowl in Glendale. Kenny rolled 34 strikes out of a possible 36.
That series is believed to be the third-highest sanctioned series in Valley-area history. Anthony Sharpsteen blistered an 888 in 2011 at now-defunct Mission Hills Bowl. And Sylvester Foster crushed an 878 this year at Pickwick Bowl in Burbank.
Giving Kenny’s 100 perfectos some context, Matt Cannizzaro, the USBC public relations manager, said there are only 40 documented bowlers nationwide who have rolled at least 90 perfect games.
Andrew Neuer, of Lewisburg, Pa., who is competing in senior events and is in his 50s, leads the USBC record list for career perfect games with 180 (through the 2014-15 season).
Kenny has rolled a perfect game at virtually all the current Valley-area bowling centers. Three years ago, Kenny recorded a spectacular performance in which he blasted four perfect games within one month – all at different bowling centers. Those venues included Winnetka Bowl, Santa Clarita Lanes, Mission Hills Bowl and Jewel City Bowl.
Kenny, who now bowls in leagues twice a week, said he’s adjusting to life in Las Vegas after spending all his life in the Valley. He said “of course” he missed L.A. “I have a lot of friends there,” he said, “but it’s been a good change. I’ve already made friends here.”