Wednesday, 17 June 2020
Belmonte, Mr Jason
I've spoken to the House before about some of the high achievers who can be found in my electorate of Calare. Today I'd like to recognise one of Orange city's sporting icons, tenpin bowler Jason Belmonte. Jason, known as 'Belmo' to his friends and family back home, is a terrific bloke who, some might say, was destined for bowling greatness. In 1983 Jason's parents, Aldo and Marisa, opened the first family owned and operated tenpin bowling centre in Orange, New South Wales. From 18 months old, Jason was whipping balls down the bowling lanes, and at age four he won his first tournament. From there the trophies just kept getting bigger.
Fast forward to today, and Jason is one of the best tenpin bowlers that Australia and the world have ever seen. He has shattered numerous records, with a total of 24 Professional Bowlers Association victories, including 13 major championships and 11 further titles. He is one of two bowlers in PBA history to have won the 'super slam'—all five major titles. Jason joined the PBA millionaires club in a record-breaking 131 tournaments, and the achievements just keep rolling in. With stellar performances in 2019, Jason capped off the decade with a fifth PBA Player of the Year award.
Jason has made famous his trademark two-handed, footy-pass style bowling technique, fondly referred to as 'the bowl' by his family. Jason recalls picking up a bowling ball as a young kid and going to bowl one-handed, only to realise he was too little to use the traditional style, so he used two hands and has done so ever since. His unorthodox delivery has received universal admiration, with thousands of kids and adults embracing the style today.
While Jason's career often means he's on the road, his thoughts are never far from his country home town. Following the recent bushfires which ravaged much of regional Australia, including central-western New South Wales, Jason announced that he will donate to Red Cross Australia $50 for every strike he throws in televised matches in 2020 and $100 for strikes in championship matches. As he said, 'So many people and animals have been affected by this disaster and they need all the help they can get!'
On behalf of the House, I would like to congratulate Jason on his wonderful contribution to the sport of tenpin bowling and on showing the world what country Australia can achieve. I would also like to congratulate Jason's parents on their wonderful contribution to the economic and sporting life of Orange and extend my congratulations and commendations to Jason's wife, Kimberly. They are a family with young children, and it's not easy being a professional sportsperson on the road on an overseas tour. To Jason and the Belmonte family: this House salutes you.