One of Iowa’s 150 legislators is hoping to strike out — a lot — this weekend. Senator Mark Zieman (pronounced ZEE-man), a farmer and trucking company owner from Postville, bowled a perfect 300 game at the state bowling tournament three weeks ago and is on his way to the National Bowling Tournament this weekend in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
“I wouldn’t say I’m a championship bowler,” Zieman says. “I just got a little lucky.” Three weeks ago in that state bowling tournament, Zieman hit two milestones — that first, perfect game of 12 strikes in a row, and he bowled his first 700 series, too. That means he scored over 700 points in three consecutive games. Zieman bowls in a league that travels from bowling alley to bowling alley in northeast Iowa.
“It’s a sport I can do all winter long. It’s also a social event because there’s a lot of people in a small area and so you can visit with a lot of people,” he says. “It’s also a good excuse to get out of the house once in a while in the winter.”
Zieman, who is 60 years old, bowls every other week when the Legislature is in session in Des Moines. “I started 40 years ago, and probably averaged 110, 120 and I’m carrying over a 200 average now,” Zieman says. As you might suspect, Zieman will be taking his own bowling ball to the national tournament. It’s multi-colored with lots of blues and greens and is a fingertip ball, which means the holes in the ball aren’t very deep and he holds and releases it from his fingertips.
During an interview with Radio Iowa on the Senate floor, Zieman said he throws the ball with a hook, depending on the condition of the lane.
“You always throw a ball according to the conditions because the conditions won’t change for you so you have to change for the conditions. It’s about like working in this place (the legislature),” Zieman said, laughing.
Radio Iowa’s O. Kay Henderson asked him if he had named his bowling ball, but he was reluctant to answer on tape. “Not what I’m going to say on there,” Zieman replied, laughing and pointing to the recorder. “No, I’m not going there.” So the name of Zieman’s lucky bowling ball will remain secret.