Jodi Hiraoka bowling to strike out hunger 

click to enlarge Still on top of her game: Jodi Hiraoka, a San Francisco United States Bowling Congress Hall of Famer, hasn’t posted a sub-200 average since the 1980s. - CINDY CHEW/SPECIAL TO THE EXAMINER
  • cindy chew/special to the examiner
  • Still on top of her game: Jodi Hiraoka, a San Francisco United States Bowling Congress Hall of Famer, hasn’t posted a sub-200 average since the 1980s.

With each strike rolled at Charity Turkey Bowl XI, Serra Bowl will donate a turkey to help feed the Bay Area’s hungry this holiday season.

At last year’s event, held annually two days before Thanksgiving, three turkeys were donated from just one roll of the ball. While performing in the “zany tricks” portion of the day’s program, San Francisco United States Bowling Congress Hall of Famer Jodi Hiraoka knocked down all 30 pins with one perfect shot.

Participating in her sixth Turkey Bowl on Tuesday, Hiraoka looks forward to conquering any trick shots thrown her way.

“I’ve been coming back because it’s a lot of fun to do,” Hiraoka said. “We’re there to help out the kids and to get a lot of strikes.”

The San Francisco native, who has lived in Daly City most of her life, was her father’s scorekeeper in the 1970s when he competed at semipro-sanctioned bowling tournaments.

At age 13, she replaced the scoring pencil with her own bowling ball. A varsity basketball and volleyball player at Serramonte and Westmoor high schools — Hiraoka graduated from Westmoor when Serramonte closed after her junior year — she became a competitive bowler in 1983 at the age of 19.

Two years later, in 1985, Hiraoka won the National Bowling Association’s Western Bill Rhodman Singles Classic and was second in the national finals in Toledo, Ohio.

Hiraoka’s current average is 204, and the southpaw bowler hasn’t posted a sub-200 average since the 1980s. Her four-game Japanese American National Bowlers Association women’s singles series record of 957 held up for 17 years.

“It was pretty heartbreaking,” said Hiraoka, who was in Las Vegas in March of 2010 to see her record shattered. Her sadness was short-lived, however, as she was elated to watch her son, Robert, capture the men’s singles title that weekend.

Daughter Nichole has also adopted the family bowling tradition; she has even succeeded in accomplishing the one feat that mom has yet to achieve: a perfect 300 game.

“My proudest moments were when my son bowled an 842 series at Classic Bowl on a Thursday night last June, and the next Tuesday night my daughter bowled a 300 game and an 815 series,” said the gleaming mother of the two Skyline College students. “And I was there to watch them both.”

On Tuesday, Hiraoka will be taking time out from her job search — a layoff victim seeking a position in accounting — to help increase the turkey donation count while offering tips to aspiring bowlers.

Charity Turkey Bowl XI

WHEN: Tuesday, 10 a.m to 3 p.m.

WHERE: Serra Bowl, 3301 Junipero Serra Blvd., Daly City

WHO:
Pro bowlers, coaches, celebrities, friars, kids of all ages

STRIKE OUT HUNGER: For every strike, the St. Anthony Dining Room in San Francisco or the North Peninsula Food Pantry & Dining Center in Daly City will receive a turkey.

CONTACT: Mike Leong, Serra Bowl general manager, (650) 992-3444

INFO: www.serrabowl.com

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David Liepman

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