Meet Jim Cripps, the Incredible Backwards Bowler

You’ve probably never seen anything like this before, I sure haven’t. Tennessee native James Cripps earned the nickname Backwards Bowler for a very simple reason – he’s able to bowl perfectly well without even facing the lanes.

Believe it or not, it all started as a friendly bet. Jim Cripps loved bowling, but he admits he was pretty terrible at it, so at one point a friend challenged him to try and score 150 points backwards. It sounds impossible, but Jim says he managed to land a strike on his first try, and ended up with a final score of 163. After that he just couldn’t stop bowling backwards. “We never settled up on the bet, but I think I definitely came out the winner of the bet because it truly has been great,”Cripps said. As you can imagine, his skills improved dramatically over the next few years, and he now has an average of 204 points per game and holds a Guinness record of 278.

Photo: The Advocate

But what many people don’t know is Jim was almost forced to stop bowling backwards, because bowling lane operators didn’t approve of his unorthodox style. “No backward bowling, they considered it horseplay,” Cripps says. ” The first time, I actually had a 90 in a fifth frame, and they kicked me out. And I looked at the two lanes beside me; I said nobody else had the score higher than me. But yet I’m horseplaying, we don’t allow it get out. So I got out.” Luckily he found places in which he could practice his skills, and has once even managed to strike 11 times in a row.


“I love the sport of bowling & turning around has changed my life as well as given me the opportunity to meet and make friends from all walks of life. From Bowlfest in Las Vegas to Trick shots in Tokyo and all the stops in between, seeing the wonder from both children and adults when you make a shot they thought was impossible is both humbling and AWESOME!” Jim says on his official site. He definitely deserves all this new-found fame. I can hardly hit a few pins the old-fashioned way, but he plays a great game without even looking.


via Laughing Squid