At just eight years old, Hugo Belmonte is already eyeing off his father's crown as the best bowler in the world.
But before he gets a crack at beating his dad Jason's 25 PBA titles, Hugo will look to take on some of the best in NSW when Central Tablelands team Orange plays host to the 30th NSW Country Championships, starting today (Friday, January 22).
This will be the first time that the bowling prodigy takes part in an open-age competition, but he's not shying away.
"I'm definitely excited," he said.
"It's going to be hard to beat them, they are way older than me."
Hugo's best score on the lane is already a staggering 208.
Asked what his dream is he said: "To be the best bowler in the world and be better than my dad.
"My dad sometimes teaches me, but Nonno usually teaches me."
Nonno, aka as Hugo's grandfather Aldo, runs Orange Tenpin Bowl with his wife Marisa. He said people need to learn how to walk before they can run.
"Around this age group, we just tend to let them get the feel of the game themselves before we really start teaching them the basics of the game," he said.
"Let them get the feel and see how the ball reacts on the lane, how the scoring works and when they get to that level then you can start teaching them a bit more.
"The main thing is they are having fun to begin with, then if we see some potential like Hugo, that's when we get serious."
IN OTHER NEWS:
Hugo certainly won't be hard to pick out when he takes part in the singles, doubles and team events over the span of the four-day tournament.
If his age and height weren't enough of a giveaway, he even shares his old-man's distinctive two-hand bowling style.
"He started bowling as young as his dad, but when he got to five he started taking part in competitions and by the time he got to six or seven, he really fell in love with the game," grandmother Marisa said.
"He just can't get off the lanes. He's a real natural and has a real feel for the game.
"There is also a determination to bowl better every time he steps up to the lane. He's not necessarily looking at beating someone else, he's actually looking at beating himself and improving himself.
"He bowls with his cousin and they're called 'power cousins' and that was his father's team name when he was a junior as well. He lives and dreams about bowling."
As for the tournament itself, things will look a little different than years gone by.
For starters, there will only be about 150 participants, down from 300 in 2020, due to COVID restrictions.
"Moving forward, we can't just stop having events all the time, especially in Australia we are pretty good at jumping on things when there are any cases," Marisa said.
"There will be temperature checks at the door, wearing face masks in the centre at all times in doors except they can pull the mask down when they bowl, and people are very happy to do it."