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September 18, 2010 Inaugural Pack Horse Ford Cannonball Run, Shepherdstown, WV

Men in the Water

The inaugural PACK HORSE FORD CANNONBALL RUN WV Irish Road Bowling competition was held in Shepherdstown, WV on Saturday, September 18th, 2010. Approximately 47 bowlers competed on the historic Trough Road, which approaches the site of the significant Shepherdstown Battlefield. Confederate and Union troops engaged here on September 19th and 20th, just 2 days after the bloody battle at Antietam on September 17th. We were fortunate to meet Civil War re-enactors before the match, as the soldiers were wading across the Potomac River in the tradition of their proud forefathers, who crossed 148 years ago. (See pictures below.)

Most bowlers were first-timers of all ages from Washington, DC, Maryland, Virginia, Oklahoma, and West Virginia. A couple of bowlers remarked how much fun they had and hope the event will be held next year so they can return and bring more family members. Several big throws were reported, including the great beginning shot by John Doyle, West Virginia State House of Delegates (D-Jefferson). Trophies were awarded to the 1st Place Team, who set the course record of 36. The 2nd Place Team, who also received a score of 36, but whose bowl went a shorter distance past the finish line, received gift certificates from the O’Hurley’s General Store. It was a beautiful sunny late-summer day situated amidst the enchanting natural surroundings of Shepherdstown, WV.

Shepherdstown is located 20 minutes past Harpers Ferry, WV, and we hope to get more bowlers participating from the DMV (DC/MD/VA) area next year. Many thanks for the hard work of organizers Road Master Mary Wolfe, Don and Tom Neville.

Judy Mize, Secretary, WVIRBA


More Photos of Shepherdstown, WV - September 18, 2010. Civil War Soldiers Re-enactors Wading Across Pack Horse Ford. Before the Match or Score:

September 10, 2nd Annual Pack Horse Ford Cannonball Run, Shepherdstown, WV

A rolling farmland and bright sunshine in a Civil War setting was “Almost Heaven” for 50 bowlers on September 10th in Shepherdstown, WV. Many family first-timers bowled at this exciting event on Trough Road. “Once you bowl, you’re hooked” was expressed by several bowlers. Pat Dickman, Bunker Hill, WV, said “I came to watch how the game was played so I could bowl next year. “ Instead, Pat ended up bowling on the 1st place team. A black kilt was worn by Chris Neeley. The winning teams tied at 44 bowls, so the match was decided by distance past the finish line, only 10 feet! Accolades to Katy Fidler, who was kind enough to allow her property to be used again for registration and parking. Trough Road has a rich history of where 1862 Confederate and Union troops fought, as the Confederate army retreated from Antietam. Shepherdstown is located 20 minutes past Harpers Ferry, WV, and we hope to get more bowlers participating from the DMV (DC/MD/VA) area next year. Many thanks for the hard work of organizer Road Master Mary Wolfe. Mary also organizes the Morgan County Fair Irish Road Bowling at Cacapon State Park, Berkeley Springs, WV.

November 25, 2005 End of the Year Report Load O' Blarney

Top O the Morning Road Bowlers,

Well, 2005 has been a good season. If we did not have a good basic, exciting new sport, whatever growth Irish bowling has made in the USA in 2005 would not have happened. Starting with the Irish Spring Festival, Ireland, WV in March (147 bowlers on Saturday, more than 60 Sunday), we have had record participation at every one of our 13 "scores" (matches) open to the public. This Civil War era cultural heritage sport in the green hills of West Virginia is rolling along.

According to a letter received from Cork Military Barracks Museum, County Cork, Ireland, Irish soldiers fighting in West Virginia during the American Civil War bowled country roads between battles, as Irish troops have done in military engagements all over the world for hundreds of years.

In West Virginia, Irish troops fought at Carnifex Ferry near Summersville, at Greenland Gap in Hardy County (Confederate troops burned a farmhouse with them in it), and established Fort Mulligan near Petersburg.

Upcoming Events:

Annual banquet - Tentatively scheduled for January 7. Please reply with an alternate date if this is not good for you. We had a good turnout last year in early January, rather than waiting to have the banquet in the Spring close to the Irish Spring Festival.

Agenda for the Banquet - Please send suggestions for the agenda. WV Irish bowling is growing, so for 2006 the Competition Committee will look at divisions, or as they are called in Ireland, "grades." Individuals and/or teams will be graded into divisions.

2006 Schedule - Next season's schedule will be most of the same festivals and fairs as 2005, but we are open to any suggestions. Contact us about new events for the 2006 WV Irish Road Bowling Tour. Deadline: the 2006 schedule will be finalized in Jan/Feb.

2005 Autumn Scores

Holly River State Park Fall Challenge October 8 and 9.

A record turnout at Holly River, bowling through the rhododendron glades along a trout stream, made the 2005 Holly River State Park Fall Challenge a big success. Some rain in the morning stopped in time for the start of the score. Just before the start, the Glade Creek United team, the alpha team from the Wild and Wonderful West Virginia Irish Road Bowling Association Southern Wing, rolled up to the start in kilts and battle armor, and Mark Whitt piping his bagpipe marched his troops and all the teams into battle. Twenty teams fired their shots into the road and the great roll began. Halfway through a fine warm mist descended into the valley, but the teams were so fired up by then that they were taking off their jackets in the mist. Afterwards, all the teams and spectators, 125 people in all, met in the large beam and river-stone pavilion in front of two large fireplaces. Then the rain started to pour down but all were warm as the bagpiper jumped up on the blazing hearth and began to play, just as Ken McClintic and the Holly River Boys marched in carrying a roasted pig on a spit high overhead. It was a scene from the Middle Ages, with cold beer (Strohs!) instead of mead.

Stonewall Resort Yankee Skedaddle November 6.

Several road records were broken or tied in 2005, in fact at our final score at the Stonewall Resort Yankee Skedaddle, three teams broke or tied the course record. The Holly River Boys (Ken McClintic, Donnie Oates, Sonny Arbogast) tied the course record of 23 shots, Quad S (Kenny Schmidt, Gary Schaffer, Justin Schaffer, Guy Schaffer) from Horseshoe Run near in Preston County shot 22, and the Ireland Road Bowlers (Travis Craig, Jerod Putnam, Shannon Gear, Denton King) shot 19, four shots below the old record for the 1.3 mile road.

After the score, we had a picnic at a park overlooking the lake - thanks Ken McClintic and the Holly River Boys for the cookout dinner. It also was one of our four quarterly meetings. The banquet is tentatively January 7, probably in the Weston/Buckhannon area, if no objections from the members. We discussed a new grading system for 2006, and scheduling the singles tournament for Spring 2006, to qualify two competitors from the WV Irish Road Bowling Association to send to the 2006 North American Championships in Boston.

2005 Ladies Longshot Champ

After the match the Ladies Longshot Competition gave us a new champ for 2005. Pam Cronin has been one of our strong competitors all year, and, since beginning Irish bowling only in 2004, she proved that practice makes perfect by winning the Ladies Longshot Competition against 10 other ladies. Pam has a smooth balanced bowling style that would do very well even across the ocean in Ireland. Thanks Pam, and congrats!

Message from Ireland, the Country

We appreciate hearing from all of our friends in Ireland (the Country). Please send us road bowling news.

Emma Fitzpatrick from Rosscarbery Co Cork sends us:

"Lads! Wats the crack??? All Ireland u-16 Champ here and Female Bowler of the Year! Bowling is the job and thanks to the Lappins in Keady for putting up with me at the All Irelands! "

Thanks for your e mail Emma and congrats on the Female Bowler of the Year! We hope to get the West Virginia strong arm bowlers over to the Emerald Isle to see you soon. Maybe we can invite you up into our WV mountains one of these days. We would probably even let you go home afterwards (just kidding, Emma).


Our web site is adding new pages and pictures, as we figure out how to work the #*!&#! thing. See our online store for the official West Virginia Irish Road Bowling Tour "Starter Pack" and T Shirt. We have sent starter packs to 28 or more states. Also we have West Virginia Irish flag hand blown glass ornaments for holiday decorating (please don't throw them into the road, even after the Guinness), and hand-made-in-West Virginia hardwood bookends that also hold your bowls (when you go bowling the books fall down). And last but not least the wondrous ORBDOC straight from Ireland, WV ("easy" assembly instructions)!

Notes from the Southern Wing

The first Wild and Wonderful West Virginia Irish Road Bowling Association "Southern Wing" Knights of Columbus road war took place last week. Report below by Danny Kuhn, captain of the Glade Creek United winning team. We are waiting for a report from the White Sulfur Springs Knights to hear their side of the story. By the way, when do we bowl at The Greenbrier??

Four teams consisting of Knights of Columbus and wives met in Lewisburg on November 13 for the first Southern Wing intramural score. The course circled the campus of Greenbrier East High School and Middle School, and was a full two miles long, including two long, tight circular driveways. The score began with a bagpipe call to arms and ended with refreshments provided by the White Sulphur Springs Knights. Glade Creek United bowled a winning 48 on the long and challenging course.

Top Teams

Our top teams are getting better and better. The Ireland Road Bowlers (Travis Craig, Jerod Putnam, Shannon Gear, Brian Craig, Chad Westfall) from Ireland WV, had another great year and lowered several of their road records. In 2005, however, they were pushed hard by several other top teams. Team Carp from Weston (Chip Turner, Randy Geer, Chuck Turner, John Myers, Bill Bullion), traded victories with the Ireland Road Bowlers, they both won several tournaments this year. Holly River Boys (Ken McClintic, Donnie Oates, Sonny Arbogast and Captain Blaise Arbogast) were clipping the heels of the Ireland team all year, Quad S from Horseshoe Run (see below), Macadam Mayhem (Mark Wilt, Aaron Wilt, John Nelson, Brian Wilt) was always near the top, the Running Rebels (Rev. Doug Smailes, Zack Smailes, Cory Smailes, Don Gain) who only play at the Irish Spring Festival, the Preston County Polecats ( Coach Paul Martin, Anthony Zinn, Chad Bishop, Brad Martin) who only play at the Buckwheat Festival, and Martin Oil (C.J. Martin, Jim Bostic, Randy Coffman, Steven Cutright) who only play at the Strawberry Festival, were three home teams who bowl low scores and defend their local road very well. If I have forgotten any hard throwing (and low scoring) teams, please let me know. We need to let everyone know who the big dogs are on the WV Irish Road Bowling Tour.

Newcomers of the Year, 2005 season:

1) Quad S (Kenny Schmidt, Gary Shaffer, Justin Shaffer, Guy Shaffer) - Jill Slaubaugh came to the Gold Dollar Days in June to see road bowling for the first time and purchase road bowls. Then she went back to Horseshoe Run in Preston County and her community bowled six (6) miles a week for the rest of the summer. No one had even heard of Quad S when they appeared at the Doddridge County Fair and won their first ever competition. They finished second to the Ireland Road Bowlers at the Barbour County Fair, and have won or finished second at every match they played since then. They tell us their mountain in Preston County is tougher than any they have seen on the WV Irish Road Bowling Tour. Thanks Jill!
2) Glade Creek United (Danny Kuhn, Mark Whitt, George Baker, Mike Snow, Kevin Smith) from Raleigh County rolled into the Strawberry Festival in May and were dubbed Commanders of the WV Irish Road Bowling Tour "Southern Wing." Since then they have established Irish bowling in southern West Virginia. Mark Whitt's first ever shot from the start line on Turkey Run at the Strawberry Festival went farther than anyone's before or since, including the legendary Boston Boys (and best of all Mark managed to miss breaking a lady spectator's ankle by several inches). These guys get the cultural heritage thing and show up to bowl in kilts. Mark is a bagpiper and makes our matches better. Faugh a Ballaugh!!

Around the USA

New bowlers are trying to get clubs formed in Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, California, if they can just figure out who they are. We are working to help with organizing that, compiling e mail lists from those states. Word is getting out about this old-in-Ireland/new-in-the-USA sport. At our 2005 scores TV stations from Harrisburg, PA and Louisville, KY, and CBS News Sunday Morning rolled down the roads with us. We t'rew da bowl in National Public Radio's parking lot with Scott Simon. The Washington Post, the New York Times and the Weston Democrat whooped and hollered with the rest of us and even jumped into a few ditches chasing bowls. From Mary Ellen Slater and Wade Cowart 's Post Toasties to the Jack (Hitt) and Jeremy (Murch) Show, Carol Han's fast bowling, Bill Geist and Amy Rosner battling the heat, Anne Marshall in the autumn leaves, and WV's own Chad Samples covering the road bowling beat - You all come back to see us in the West Virginia hills any old time.

Best Match of 2005

There were many very close matches on the WV Tour in 2005, but we have to give this to the three-handed match at the Buckwheat Festival on Sunday Oct. 2, among Travis Craig, Jerod Putnam and North American Region Champion Con O' Callaghan of Boston. Travis pushed Con hard over the 1.4 mile course in Kingwood, but Con showed why he won the 2005 championship, throwing some amazing uphill shots while winning with 14 shots to Travis's 15.


So many people made this year a success, I am sure to leave someone out. We have to start with thanks to Shannon Gear, Judy Mize, President Travis Craig, Vice President Jerod Putnam, John Nelson. This group traveled to almost all the matches, as they have been doing for years now, and have worked very hard to make this new sport grow. Shannon, Jerod and Travis again represented West Virginia in the North American Championships in Boston, and compete very well against the best in North America. Travis just missed a trip to the All Irelands on the very last shot in Boston. Shannon designed our T shirts and chased down sponsors. Judy makes the long trip from DC to the matches, does the registration and helps as a course official while finding a little time to throw a few shots herself. John keeps us all organized amid road bowl mania.

Special thanks to Margaret, John Twomey, Barry, Kevin, Roger and Carmel, Con, Mike and Yvonne, Brendan and Bridget and all our friends in Boston who make us feel right at home every time we go up to visit. Thanks also to North American Champion Con O Callaghan from Boston for coming to WV again to teach and help us learn this sport, at the Forest Festival and Buckwheat Festival in October. Thanks to Susan Greene and Jim O Driscoll of Bol ~ Chumann who are giving strong support to road bowling in WV.

Thanks to the "Road Masters" who set up and run the various matches. Irish Spring Festival- Denton "Buzz" King; Strawberry Festival - Amy Hall; Carp Festival - Chip Turner; Gold Dollar Days - Chip Turner; Doddridge County Fair - Richard McMillan, Amy Hall; Barbour County Fair - Bruce Short; Mountain State Forest Festival -Shannon Gear; Preston County Buckwheat Festival - Mark Wilt; Holly River Fall Challenge - Ken McClintic; Stonewall Resort Yankee Skedaddle - Jennifer Riffle, Scott Cochran.

Thanks also to our sponsors - Burton Hunter at the Strawberry Festival, Burt has full speed ahead enthusiasm and a vision for growing WV Irish road bowling that is invaluable. Thanks to C.J. Martin and Jim Bostic for the barbeque at C.J.'s house at the Turkey Run finish line, they fed everyone not just one, but two days, after our matches! Thanks to Shannon Gear for the lunch at the finish line in Elkins, and to Mark Wilt for the Buckwheat Breakfasts in Kingwood. Thanks Ken McClintic and the Holly River Boys for the medieval pig roast feast at Holly River State Park, and also for the cookout along the lake after the Stonewall Resort Yankee Skedaddle.


Well, this report is way over the four page limit, maybe our biggest load o'blarney yet. Who knows what 2006 will bring, the new schedule will be worked out over the next couple months. In West Virginia the sport has been played more seriously and skillfully in 2005 than ever before, but as Bill Geist of CBS News Sunday Morning promised us, we are in no danger of losing the truly whacky -ness factor that makes WV Irish road bowling special. Stay tuned for 2006 news, keep hurling the bowls and we will see you in the road or in the ditch,

O David Powell, publicity/ membership chairman, Wild and Wonderful West Virginia Irish Road Bowling Association.

October 13, 2005 West Virginia Irish Road Bowl Report - O Blarney Line

Hi road bowlers - Our Irish sport is still gaining momentum in the hills of West Virginia: October 1 at the Forest Festival in Elkins and Oct. 2 at the Buckwheat Festival in Kingwood we had lots of bowlers, as well as Bill Geist, Amy Rosner, Mike Hernandez and Eric Jensen of CBS News Sunday Morning who traveled the roads of West Virginia to see what Irish bowling is all about. Bill assured us that no matter how seriously we bowl down the road, WV Irish Road Bowling is in no danger of losing that pure wackiness factor that makes it great. That agreed, CBS News Sunday did see some long throws by our local champions Jerod Putnam and Travis Craig; as well as Con O Callaghan, the 2005 North American champion from Boston; the strong arms from Horseshoe Run; Macadam Mayhem; the Preston County Polecats; and many others. CBS News Sunday Morning competed in the Forest Festival and Buckwheat Festival matches, then everyone made a pilgrimage back to ye olde road in Ireland, West Virginia where it all began, Wildcat Road to Duffy Bridge.

Results - Buckwheat Festival October 2

34 shots - Quad S - Justin Shaffer, Guy Shaffer, Gary Shaffer, Kenny Schmidt (tied 2003 course record for 4 person team)
35 Shots - CBS News Sunday Morning - Bill Geist (captain, grand roadmaster, chief arbiter of corners and straightaways), Con O Callaghan, Shannon Gear, Anthony Winn, Travis Craig, Jerod Putnam
35 shots - Preston County Polecats - Anthony Zinn, Coach Paul Martin, Chad Bishop, Brad Martin

Two years ago the Preston Co. Polecats took the Ireland Road Bowlers down to the last shot, both teams bowling 34 shots. Ireland Road Bowlers won on distance across the finish line on the last shot, and dad-blamed if the same thing didn't happen again this year. The two teams tied for second place (35 shots) and again on the last shot Travis Craig blasted one far over the finish line to edge out those Pesky Preston Polekats. Lightning strikes twice.

44 shots - Middle Eastern Eye Wear (MEEW) - Travis Mersing, Nathan Jones, Josh Feather, Clifford Moul
48 shots - Macadam Mayhem - Mark Wilt, Aaron Wilt, John Nelson
49 shots - Road Masters - Pam Cronin, Jeff Hamman, Ian Cronin, Judy Mize
52 shots - Big L - Jill Slaubaugh, Timothy Schmidt, Kaitlin Schalker, Jesse Schalker

Three-handed Shootout

After the Team Awards (Buckwheat Breakfasts) were made, after the cars and pickup trucks full of red-faced bowlers pulled away, after the noise and excitement, all that remained was a quiet sun- dappled West Virginia country road in late afternoon on a warm autumn day.

Just like that spaghetti western, the Good, the Bad and the Ugly, three gunslingers stepped up to the line.

The three fast bowlers: Travis Craig and Jerod Putnam, the two best Irish bowlers in West Virginia, both from Ireland, WV and Con O'Callaghan of Boston, 2005 North American Champion.

The Shootout on Pleasant Dale Road, The Three-Handed Score That Nobody Saw, was one of the best matches ever thrown in West Virginia.

True to grade, Con O Callaghan was longest off the start - he threw the "fore-bowl," with Travis second and Jerod third. All maintained places until the fourth shot, when Jerod, with a six multiple windmill windup, threw a "monster bowl" over 200 yards to go into first place, all were even in shots, and Jerod had thrown fore-bowl ahead of Con and Travis.

Two shots later Con had regained less than a bowl of odds (one full shot) lead over Travis and Jerod.

Into the first sharp downhill curve, Jerod shot through the upper edge with slightly too much speed, and hit a hedge, just a few inches from regaining the downward curve which then would have carried him many yards farther. The bowl instead stopped dead. Next Travis shot a very fast bowl, which barely held the lower edge of the curve, only by a few inches, and stayed in the curve running forward far down the hill. Con, an old fox, looked over the downhill curve, read the road carefully, then tossed a very soft throw onto exactly the correct path. The bowl slowly rolled around the curve, began to gain speed, and finally followed the curve all the way down, almost as far as the long throw by Travis. It is not always power that scores.

Con maintained his nearly one bowl of odds lead with his soft shot, Travis down almost one shot, and Jerod down over one bowl of odds in the hedge. Irish bowling is very unforgiving at the highest levels. Jerod, nearly two bowls down late in the match, graciously picked up, leaving Con and Travis to battle the last 1/2 mile to the finish.

Travis threw powerfully long and straight, but Con, completely warmed up and working hard, matched Travis shot for shot. One shot by Con was just deadly accurate, climbing steadily uphill through a double curve, at least 100 yards, always avoiding a steep drop-off to the right and finally stopping in the road on the left side. The match ended with Con O'Callaghan holding his nearly one bowl of odds lead to the finish.

In one of the best-ever matches in West Virginia, Jerod and Travis pushed the North American Champion from Boston to some of his best Irish bowling, on Pleasant Dale Road in Kingwood. Con O' Callaghan stated that this road, with its uphill and downhill curves, would henceforth be a particular favorite of his. The way Con played those curves, we can see why. Con O Callaghan covered the course, starting from the corner of Pleasant Dale Road and Greens Run Road to the house just below the start line, in 14 shots, Travis Craig in 15 shots.

After the match, in the pub Con's tired right wing was hanging low and he announced that he would not be pitching for the Red Sox the next day. Too bad - the way it turned out they needed him.

Holly River Fall Challenge, Holly River State Park Oct. 8 & 9

On October 8 and 9 Holly River State Park had their best ever Irish road bowling tournament. Rumor has it that the rain stopped just before the start, then waited until everyone had a chunk of pork roast in hand, in front of the fire under the park pavilion before starting again. Also, they say the WV Irish Road Bowling Association Southern Wing rolled in with a bagpiper, and kilts to hide their bowls. They marched to the line in fine form and shot a 41.

More info on this match and the Forest Festival later if you can stand it.

Special thanks to Shannon Gear and Judy Mize; Shannon for organizing the Forest Festival Irish bowling sponsored by Mountain Hospice, and for hosting everyone, especially the CBS News Sunday Morning crew, making Elkins, West Virginia one of the very best Irish bowling towns anywhere; and to Judy Mize for looking out for everyone - from Boston to New York to Washington DC to Wild and Wonderful.

OK enough O' Blarney Line, see you in the road or in the ditch, O David O Powell

September 26, 2005 O'Blarney Line

Hi folks, lots of news,

Upcoming Matches:

October 1, Saturday - Noon - North American Champions' Challenge Exhibition Match

1:30 p.m. Team Bowling - come one come all

Mountain State Forest Festival
Elkins, West Virginia
Georgetown Road - 2 miles south of Elkins
Right on Robert E. Lee Avenue from Rt. 33, 250 headed into town (from the west), then follow Flood Control Road to Georgetown Road.

Con O' Callaghan, current North American Junior C Champion (highest rated bowler in North America) will be at the Forest Festival Saturday for an exhibition match and to teach this ancient Irish sport. Come out to see the best bowler this side of Ireland! You can learn a lot just watching him throw.

See www.forestfestival.com

October 2, Sunday 1:00 p.m. Everyone Welcome

Preston County Buckwheat Festival
Kingwood, West Virginia
Pleasantdale and Green's Run Road
Register at Kingwood Post Office or Pleasantdale Road start

Bowl teams of 2, 3 or 4 - or just come out to try and we will match you up on a team. Con O Callaghan, highest rated Irish bowler this side of Ireland, scheduled to bowl at the Buckwheat Festival. Buckwheats for the winner, our best prize of the year.

See www.buckwheatfest.com

October 8&9 Saturday and Sunday, 1:30 p.m.

Holly River Fall Challenge
Holly River State Park
Hackers Valley, West Virginia

This just might be our most beautiful road course, Campground Road in Holly River State Park. A lofting bridge, trout stream, giant boulders and rhododendron thickets make this an ideal West Virginia experience.

See www.hollyriver.com

November 6 Sunday 1:00 p.m.

Stonewall Resort Yankee Skedaddle
Stonewall Jackson Lake State Park
Roanoke, West Virginia
Stonewall Resort Road
Skedaddle Them Yankees !!

See www.stonewallresort.com or call 1 888 278 8150.

Online Store www.wvirishroadbowling.com 

See our online store for info about ordering extra road bowls, the magic ORBDOC, T shirts, rules and strategery booklet, etc.

Doddridge County August 20

Eleven teams (44 bowlers) came out to bowl on a hot day in August. Amy Hall, Buckhannon and Richard McMillan, West Union handled this match, as some of our bowlers were in Boston at the North American Region Championships. Thank you Amy and Richard! The Doddridge County Cross Country Team was out in full force (28 shots) . The big surprise of the tournament was a team from Horseshoe Run in Preston County, the Team Quad S (Justin Shaffer, Guy Shaffer, Gary Shaffer, Kenny Schmidt). Who are these guys?? It turns out, they had been practicing all summer on their home course - six miles per week !!! They demolished the competition on the Old Route 50 course, and tied the course record of 25 shots. Thank you Jill Slaubaugh for cracking the whip on these guys and putting together this new Preston County team.

Barbour County Fair September 3

The New York Times Magazine decided to look into Irish road bowling mania in the green hills of West Virginia for a sports edition. They sent Jack Hitt, a very talented writer/reporter to see Irish road bowling in this special corner of the nation and Jeremy Murch, a talented photographer, to take pictures to prove that they actually showed up.  We let them come into the hills,  then we let them leave, so they just might come down for another match one of these days. Welcome back any time Jack and Jeremy.

The new Horseshoe Run Team Quad S faced long time champions Ireland Road Bowlers in a showdown and the Ireland Road Bowlers (Jerod Putnam, Shannon Gear, Travis Craig, Anthony Winn) won, 23 shots to 26 shots. Team Quad S bowled even with Ireland for 1/2 mile, then with some very long shots Ireland pulled ahead for the win.

Thanks Bruce Short, Barbour County Fair, for coming to see what road bowling is.

Boston August 20, 21, 2005 North American Championships

Competitors from the New York, Boston and West Virginia Irish road bowling clubs faced off at Wampatuck State Park, Hingham, Massachusetts on the south shore of Boston, to decide the entries from North America in the All Ireland Championships. Our West Virginia mountain men, Travis Craig and Jerod Putnam again bowled at a very high level, but close is no ceegar and Barry Curran of Boston emerged as champion in the Novice II Division. Jerod who on a good day is very very fast, said it was just was not one of his good days - and Travis bowled well but was taken out by Barry on the last shot over the line. Novice I Champion, Brendan Fleming defended his trophy from 2004, and Con O 'Callaghan was the Junior C Champion. Congratulations Barry, Brendan and Con on the North American championships. Thanks to Jerod, Travis and Shannon Gear for making that long trip to see our friends in Boston. The great sportsmanship and fast competition that we find there will keep mountaineers headed north in years to come - (until we win that dadburn trophy).

All Ireland Championships September 3, 4, 2005

In the top competition of the All Irelands hosted by the Westport Club, County Mayo, the three North American champions, all from Boston, bowled against the best in the world in this old sport.

Con O Callaghan, who has won two All Ireland Championships Novice I was defeated by a bowl and a half of odds in Junior C, a grade higher. Brendan Fleming came up up against a fast bowler in Novice I and was defeated, and Barry Curran bowled very well, but was defeated on the last shot in Novice II. Thanks Margaret O Callaghan for that report.

Around the United States

The Rules and Strategery Booklet, Bowls and Chalk, "Starter Pack" has been sent now to 20 states around the USA.

Tennessee - Paula Lilly who learned the game at the Holly River State Park Fall Challenge, said she was starting a club in Tennessee, and Paula doesn't fool around. In August their first match in Cookeville,
Tennessee brought out 19 teams! They had team uniforms and costumes and bowled through one of the town's subdivisions with hills, curves and hazards. Paula used the West Virginia standard 1.5 mile course distance. Local restaurants donated food and the bowls were flying fast in all directions. Next stop, Nashville!
Iowa - Jeff Wagner started Irish Road Bowling at Sheldon Celebration Days, in Sheldon, Iowa. The Original Discover Irish Road Bowling Team sponsored this event and odds are they won. How did it go, Jeff? If you can just get players out to try, they will come back for another match.
New York - See www.newyorkroadbowling.com

Please send any news about new Irish road bowling clubs in the USA or news from Ireland, so I can put it in the next Irish road bowl report.

Enough O Blarney Line - if any road bowlers can come out to for our matches Oct. 1, 2 to see Con O Callaghan or October 8 & 9 in Holly River, we will make sure you get to throw the bowl and jump in the stream.

See you in the road or in the ditch, O David O Powell 202 387 1680.

August 16, 2005

North American Championships Junior C, Novice 1 & 2

The North American Semi finals and finals are being held in Wampatuck State Park Hingham, Mass. on Sat and Sun. 20th and 21st of August.

Sat 20th Novice 2 semi final

1pm Barry Curran Boston V Travis Craig West Virginia and Kevin O'Connor NY
3pm John Finn Boston V Jerod Putnam West Virginia and Colm Murphy NY

Sun. 21st Novice 1 Final

12pm Brendan Fleming Boston V Paul Lavery NY
2 pm Novice 2 winners from Sat.
3 pm Junior C Final

Con O' Callaghan Boston V Adrian Lappen NY

For more info call David Powell 202 387 1680 or Con O Callaghan 781 492 2593

August 16, 2005 O' Blarney Line

Lots of news, I will try to keep it brief.

North American Region Championships

August 20, 21, 2005 Jerod Putnam, Travis Craig and Shannon Gear are headed to Boston to once again represent West Virginia Irish Road Bowling in the North American Championships. They all made great shots last year, beat the New York bowlers and nearly beat the Bostons to make the 2004 "All Irelands" on their first try. They are going back to Boston this weekend for some old fashioned "Mountain Justice." All West Virginia fans of this new sport appreciate their time and effort making these trips to Boston, they all have a great shot at this championship! Thanks Jerod, Travis and Shannon!! Throw 'em, Whup 'em and Stomp 'em ! Faugh a Ballach !

Upcoming Matches:

August 20, Saturday 1:30 p.m. Doddridge County Fair
From Clarksburg, go west on Rt. 50. Before you get to West Union, take the Smithburg exit (exit to the left). This Old Route 50 road course is wide with many straightaways. Probably the second longest shot ever made in West Virginia Irish road bowling (next to the legendary 422 yard shot by Con O' Callaghan on Shenanigan Hill in Ireland, WV) was made on this Old Rt. 50 course by that ace Irish bowler who later became President of the West Union Bank, based on the fame and glory of that immortal shot. For more info, contact Doddridge County Road Master, Richard McMillan 304 873 1353. See www.doddridgecountyfair.com. The Doddridge County Fair is one of the best in West Virginia and well worth a visit.

September 3, Saturday 1:30 p.m. Barbour County Fair
On Rt. 250 south of Philippi. Point Pleasant Road is one of the best on the tour. Call 304 823 1328.

October 1, Saturday 1:30 p.m. Mountain State Forest Festival
Georgetown Road, south of Elkins, WV, is tough off the mark, then a long sweet downhill roll all the way home. The Mountain State Forest Festival is one of the oldest, biggest and best in WV. Call 304 636 1824 for more info. See www.forestfestival.com.

October 2, Sunday 1:30 p.m. Preston County Buckwheat Festival
In Kingwood, meet at the post office or on the Pleasant Dale Road start in town. The mighty Preston County Polecats and Macadam Mayhem defend their road. Northern-most stop on the tour. See www.buckwheatfestival.com.

October 8 & 9, Saturday and Sunday 1:30 p.m. Holly River State Park Fall Challenge
This is a great weekend of WV Irish bowling. Holly River State Park is the "hidden jewel" of the WV state park system. It is only about 20 miles from Ireland, WV, but way back into classic mountaineer country; our southern-most stop on the Wild and Wonderful Almost Heaven West By Gosh Virginia Irish Road Bowling Tour gives you a bowling road winding along a trout stream with giant boulders, through rhododendron thickets and even a bridge to loft over. See www.wvparks.com. www.hollyriver.com.

November 6, Sunday 1:30 p.m. Stonewall Resort Yankee Skedaddle
On I 79 take the Roanoke exit 4 miles south of Weston. We will have a season ending "Ladies Longshot" competition after the score.
See www.stonewallresort.com, 1 888 278 8150.

New York Club


This is the newest web site on Irish bowling in the USA and it looks great. Fergal Carr, brother of the 2005 Senior Men's World Champion, Eddie Carr, is in the USA and Fergal and Adrian Lappin, a top bowler in the New York club, are making plans to come down to see WV Irish road bowling. More on this later.

In the program of the world championships May 3- 8, 2005 in Skibbereen, West Cork, Ireland, hosted by the Marsh Road Club, was a big article about West Virginia Irish road bowling, thanks to Mary Ellen Slayter of the Washington Post.

USA Irish Road Bowling

New clubs are forming in Amherst, Massachusetts, Charlotte, North Carolina, upstate New York, South Carolina, Minnesota, Michigan, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to name only a few. Please send me any news and info about developing USA Irish road bowling clubs so I can send it out.

The Emerald Isle

Thanks to Susan Greene, Chairperson, and James O' Driscoll, Secretary, of Bol- Chumann na hEireann in Ireland for all your help and encouragement in getting some "home grown " USA Irish road bowling associations up and running.

Of course the best bowling roads anywhere are in Wild and Wonderful West Virginia, so come on down.

Well too much O' Big Block O' Blarney, see you in the road or in the ditch, O'David O' Powell 202 387 1680.

July 19, 2005 Irish Road Bowl Report - O Blarney Line

Top O the Morning Road Bowlers,

Emerald Isle Results


** The Junior C and Novice 1 & 2 All Irelands will be hosted by the Westport Club in County Mayo on the weekend of 3rd and 4th September, 2005.

(Thanks Susan Greene for this info)

Results July 11, 2005

Well folks here are results from the All Irelands Weekend in Cork.

Junior A - Brian O Reily from Armagh won his first All Ireland in a thrilling contest that looked over at the halfway stage with O Donavan over two bowls in front with 4 shots left, O'Reily threw three milers to beat ODonavan by thirty yards.
Women's Under 18 - Kelly Mallon from Madden, Armagh won in a similar fashion with a late surge to oust her Cork opponent. Kelly now competes in another two All Ireland Finals in the Armagh leg of the finals in August, the under 16 and the ladies intermediate.
Intermediate - Gerry Heragarty from Cork beat Harry Toal from Armagh on the last shot. Toal had his chances and should have been a bowl in front going into the capped line but for a poor throw that eventually cost him the score.
Ladies Senior - Debhla Toal from Armagh had a great win over Gretta Cormican from Cork.
Under 14 - Shaun Short from Keady/Tassagh Road in Armagh added to his All-Ireland under 14 title last year in a great performance and a great prospect for Armagh in the bowling future.

All the best, Fergal

(Ed. Thanks to Fergal Carr for this report from across the sea in Ireland.)

Boston Results


Sunday July 24th - Junior C - Con O Callaghan vs. Roger O Riordan. For info call Con O Callaghan 781 492 2593.


Sunday July 17th - Novice 1 - Brendan Fleming defeated Mike Fleming by one bowl of odds. Novice 2 - Barry Curran defeated Frank Finn by two bowl of odds.
Thurs. July 14 - Novice 2 - John Finn defeated Kevin Twohig.
Sunday July 10 - Junior C - Adrian Lappin, NY defeated Florrie O Malley, Boston by two bowls of odds. Mike Fleming and Frank Finn, Boston beat Mike Moloney and Eoin O'Riordan, NY.
Saturday July 9th - Junior C - Adrian Lappin, NY defeated Roger O Riordan, Boston in course record bowling when he covered the line and beat the cross in fifteen shots. In a pickup score Mike Maloney, NY defeated Frank Finn, Boston by two bowls of odds.
Sunday July 3d - Junior C - Con O'Callaghan beat Florrie O'Mahoney.

(Thanks Margaret O Callaghan for these results.)

Wild and Wonderful West Virginia Results

Our (3) matches, the Carp Festival June 12 (five teams, 20+ bowlers) and Civil War Reenactment Gold Dollar Days (ten teams, 40 bowlers), and a community Independence Day Celebration July 2 at Lake Floyd (over 40 bowlers) all had good turnout, better than last year.

Carp Festival - #1 Ireland Road Bowlers won, with a new "short course" record of 14 shots. #2 Team Carp had 16 shots. In the Vintage Division, Team Carp II Seniors won with 19 shots. Over 20 bowlers at Stonewall Resort, see www.stonewallresort.com.
Gold Dollar Days - Team Carp won this one, bowling the tight Weston State Hospital course in 28 shots, with several lofts. 40 bowlers had a great time, including "The Crew" Ron and Beth Madurski from North Carolina with Shannon Gear, and "Steel Arms" - Frank Kupsch and Stephan Kupsch from Germany with Jene Gilchrist and Sean Gilchrist. Team Carp II (Matt Turner, Harold Riffle, Bud Lovett, Mark Wilt) won the Vintage Division with 33 shots. Travis Craig and Jerod Putnam, bowling unofficially as a two person team, 23 shots.

Upcoming Matches:

(NEW DATE) August 20, Saturday 1:30 p.m. - Doddridge County Fair, Old Rt. 50, near West Union, WV. Richard McMillan 304 873 1353.
September 3, Saturday 1:30 p.m. - Barbour County Fair, Point Pleasant Road, fairgrounds.
October 1, Saturday 1:30 p.m. - Mountain State Forest Festival, Elkins, WV Shannon Gear 304 823 3922.
October 2, Sunday 1:30 p.m. - Preston County Buckwheat Festival, Kingwood, WV Mark Wilt 304 329 2065.
October 8 & 9, Saturday and Sunday 1:30 p.m. - Holly River State Park, Hacker Valley, WV. 1 800 CALL WVA.
November 6, Sunday 1:30 p.m. - Stonewall Resort, Roanoke, WV. www.stonewallresort.com, 1 888 278 8150.

For more info, see www.wvirishroadbowling.com.

Enuf O' Blarney, See you in the road or in the ditch, O David O Powell.

June 4, 2005 West Virginia Irish Road Bowling Report - O 'Blarney Line

Irish road bowling is a 350 year old sport from the Irish countryside. Paul Lay, a London journalist, describes a match in Ireland - " in our sporting age of pay-per-view and astronomical wages, there is something pure about road bowling, in which the crowd is as much a feature as the players, where competition takes place on public roads, with no entrance fees, just the close involvement of a community celebrating the skills of a chosen few of their own. That it takes place in gorgeous countryside and gives the followers who traipse the length of the road almost as good a workout as the competitors is a lovely bonus".

June 12 Sunday 1:30 p.m. Carp Festival

Results - Ireland Road Bowlers ( Travis Craig, Brian Craig, Jerod Putnam, Mike O Hooligan) got sweet revenge on their arch rivals, Team Carp (Randy Gear, Chip Turner, and two more O Hooligans). Team Carp had a glorious two match winning streak until the Carp Festival. Stonewall Resort Road (short course) - Ireland Road Bowlers 14 shots, Team Carp 16 shots, Team HFC 17 shots (3rd on distance), Team D&N 17 shots. "Vintage" Division - Team Carp 19 shots winner. Many Carps were caught, but you should have seen "the one that got away." Some disagreements were heard about the rules (actually some downright carping) and if we actually ever get some rules some day that will all be settled. Congrats to all, and thanks Randy, Chip and all of Team Carp for sponsoring this match.

Irish road bowling, Resort Road at Stonewall Resort, Roanoke exit south of Weston. The 1.4 mile bowling course begins at the golf cart crossing with a long downhill straightaway along the golf course into a sharp curve to the right. Then downhill curves and straightaways past the resort entrance, along Stonewall Jackson Lake until a long uphill curve, (Stonewall's Revenge), which is not easily managed in two shots. Finally, short downhill curves to the finish line. Except for Stonewall's Revenge, this course is easy and scores should be low. Thanks to Chip Turner and Randy Gear from Team Carp for organizing this match. In England they have Carp Fishing Tournaments and traditionally kiss the carp before releasing him. With eleven foot West Virginia Civil War Carp in Stonewall Jackson Lake, you could lose your nose trying that, so carp doctors and carp nurses will be on standby to monitor this dangerous situation.

Welcome New Subscribers

For those new to Irish Bowling, see www.wvirishroadbowling.com for info about our road bowling paraphernalia, we have the amazing Original Road Bowl Display Or Carrier (ORBDOC) You Could Be A Legend! with assembly instructions; the Decorative ORBDOC with Tri - Color Irish Flag Bowls; the Starter Pack with a Rules and Strategery Booklet for beginners; and the Collector's Item 2005 Wild and Wonderful WV Irish Road Bowling Tour T Shirts. Call 202 387 1680 if questions.

*SCHEDULE CHANGE - Doddridge County Fair has decided to change their Irish bowling match to August 20, Saturday, 1:30 p.m. It is still on Old Route 50. This gives everyone a better chance to travel there since the previous match was scheduled for the morning. It is also changed to accommodate the Doddridge High School County Cross Country Team, Irish road bowlers from way way back (2004). A Cross-Country-Cross-County Challenge has been issued - to the Preston County Cross Country Team, (who have been road bowling even longer). Come down to West Union August 20 for Irish bowling, and then the two teams will meet again in Kingwood October 2 for the Preston County Buckwheat Festival Irish Bowling High School Cross- Country-Cross-County Rematch.

May 21 & 22 Strawberry Festival Results

Turkey Run Road, Buckhannon

Saturday May 21 - Four person teams.

Congratulations to Weston's Team Carp (Chip Turner, Randy Gear, Todd Turner, Bill Boulyon) who won their second straight Irish road bowling match. It turned out to be very close and exciting, coming down to the last shot for no less than three teams - and all three tied the road course record! #1Team Carp, #2 Burnsville Volunteer Fire Department (Jon Berlo, CJ Yoho, Mike Kelley, Bob Kelly), and #3 Martin Oil (C. J. Martin, Jim Bostic, Steven Cutwright, Randy Coffman) all had 28 shots across the line but Team Carp strong-armed the farthest up the hill for the win. Other top scores: Ireland WV Road Bowlers (Travis Craig, Jerod Putnam, Shannon Gear) 29 shots; Macadam Mayhem from Kingwood (Mark Wilt, Brian Wilt, Aaron Wilt, John Nelson) 29 shots; Weasels (Rob Hoover, Jason Hoover, Kevin Tallron, Dan Hackett) 31 shots; Blue Ballers (Katie Deter, Jessica Loftis, Sabrina Brooks, Kari Chips) 31 shots (awesome, ladies!).

Sunday May 22 - Two, Three and Four Person teams.

Two-Person Teams - #1 Beach Bums from Buckhannon (Teri Bostic, Heather Haddix) tied with #2 Mountaineers (Rachel Forest, Nathan Heilman) with 38 shots each, but Teri and Heather rolled out farther across the line for the win.

Three-Person Teams - Carl & Company (Carl George, Judy Mize, David O'Powell) managed to tie for the win with Team Blue from Marshall U. (Billie Dahlheim, Josh Burnside, Katie Deter) when in a fog of confusion among the yellow flowers up the hill past the finish line it appeared both teams had gone equal distance over the line on the 31st shot. (There seemed to be a shocking conflict of interest when the match referee was caught bowling himself, but since it was his first decent score in eleven years, Team Blue graciously agreed to settle for a tie.) Carl George proved to be an Irish bowling natural, hurling many long shots in his first-ever match.

Four Person Teams - Ireland WV Road Bowlers (Shannon Gear, Chad Westfall, Travis Craig, Jerod Putnam) returned to their usual championship form on Sunday, winning the four person prize with a course record 28 shots, (the fourth team of the weekend to shoot 28).

Carol Han from Harrisburg, Pa. WHP CBS 21 came to Turkey Run Saturday for a TV story about Irish bowling. It will go on the air sometime in June. Barbara Clowdus from the New Mountain Tribune was on Turkey Run Sunday, her excellent article and photos were in the May 25 issue of the newspaper. Thanks ladies for your interest.

Special Thanks

To Amy Hall from Buckhannon for jumping in to organize this year's event. Thank you Amy, it was our best-ever Strawberry Festival Irish bowling. Thanks to C.J. Martin and Jim Bostic for hosting a mean and hungry bunch of Irish bowlers for a cookout not just one, but two nights at C.J.'s home near the finish line. We marched in mean and hungry and marched out fat and happy, thanks to a delicious dinner both nights at C. J.'s. (C.J. and Jim didn’t bowl too bad either, tying the course record on Saturday.) Thank you, Burt Hunter and Justin Hunter. Burt once again sponsored Irish bowling at the Strawberry Festival and he has been a pioneer of this sport in West Virginia, back when we were a lonely band of bowling brothers from Wesleyan, dragging our pioneer wagons from door to door, searching for a wee drop to wet our whistle, never sure when we would next hurl in the road or in the ditch, if ever again. Ah Burt, the sacrifices you have made. Burt's son Justin has proved to be the recruiting wizard from Marshall U., giving up his valuable time to night after night search the local establishments in Huntington for new Irish bowling talent, which is shaking our ancient sport to its very roots! Billie Dahlheim, Katie Deter, Sabrina Brooks, Jessica Loftis, Kari Chips, Ben Selbe and Justin are primed and ready to thrash any and all WVU bowlers if they ever show up. Thanks to Judy Mize, for making the long drive through the mountains to get to Irish road bowling, and to Chedester Zhivanos for taking photos of the bowling matches and the parade.

Singles Tournament

According to the Competition Committee of the West Virginia Irish Road Bowling Association, players on the first and second place teams in each competition qualify for the Singles Tournament to be held this summer. Once you qualify, you are in. From the Strawberry Festival the following people have qualified for the singles tournament: Chip Turner, Randy Gear, Todd Turner, Bill Boulyon, Jon Berlo, C.J. Berlo, Mike Kelly, Bob Kelly, C.J. Martin, Jim Bostic, Steven Cutwright, Randy Coffman, Mark Wilt, Aaron Wilt, Brian Wilt, John Nelson, Teri Bostic, Heather Haddix, Rachel Forest, Nathan Heilman, Billie Dahlheim, Josh Burnside, Katie Deter, David Powell, Judy Mize, Carl George, Jerod Putnam, Travis Craig, Chad Westfall, Shannon Gear, Blaise Arbogast, Sonny Arbogast, Ken McClintic, Donnie Oates. Some of the above names had already qualified at the Irish Spring Festival.

West Virginia Irish Road Bowling Association, Southern Division

Glade Creek United (Danny Kuhn, George Baker, Mike Snow, Mark Whitt] drove up from the Beckley area to see what Irish Bowling is all about. Since they were wearing shamrocks, we decided to give them command of the WV Irish Road Bowling Association Southern Division. They agreed to make a bureaucracy that no one can figure out, just like we have in the northern division. Then they stepped up to the Starting Line and George Baker threw the shot heard round the world, the best longest ever from Turkey Run starting line, it went into the second curve. He became an instant legend and generations from now children will talk about that shot. His shot also missed another player's ankles by at least 12 inches, avoiding our first ever lawsuit! Everyone was real happy about that. Go George! Glade Creek United shot 36, a very respectable score.

Boston and Ireland the Country

Boston (Thanks, Margaret O'Callaghan for sending Results from Sunday June 5th)

Barry Curran beat Gerald Leahy "Boogie" by two bowls of odds in the Novice Two championships.
In the Junior C. Con O'Callaghan, Boston got off to a great start by beating Adrian Lappen, NY by two bowls of odds.
Sunday next June 12th Florrie O'Mahoney V Roger O'Riordan in the Junior C.
Sunday June 19th. Novice 2 Kevin McGrath V Kevin Twohig. Novice 1 Brendan Fleming V Mike Fleming V Brendan O' Donovan three hand score.
The Boston bowling club would like to thank those who came from NY to bowl for the weekend.

(Editor's note - the names above are some of the best Irish bowlers in North America).


Good to hear from Fergal Carr from County Armagh, an All Ireland 18 and Under Champion, his brother Eddie Carr just won the World Championships in Skibbereen, County Cork. Fergal wants to come to West Virginia to see the green hills just like home in Ireland. Since he is going to be in the USA later this year, we look forward to meeting Fergal. Also good to hear from Maria Fitzpatrick from Bantry.

News Around the Nation

We have Ten Big Dogs howling and bowling on an island in Vermont, the Ancient Order of Hibernians rattling their swords in South Carolina, the South Shall Rise Again; we have Virginians taking up Irish Long Bullets hoping to reclaim West Virginia or at least win something up there for once; there are many North Carolinians organizing at Johnny's Burrito ready to march north and fire a shot; we have new bowlers in Oklahoma City, and Waco, Texas and Red Rock, Utah where it is so hot they take a shot and have a drink and the roads are always straight; we have a big bunch of big Irish bowlers on an island in Lake Michigan, and in Minnesota, how far can they throw it, and granola crunchers in Washington state and Oregon, and so on and so on around the country.

Please send me any news of new clubs so I can tell everybody about it.

Well, so much for the Piled Deep O Blarney Line this month, see you in the road or in the ditch, O' David O Powell

Welcome New Subscribers

Top O' the morning road bowlers,

The WV Irish Road Bowling Report welcomes the many new subscribers who have joined us through the website, www.wvirishroadbowling.com. We will try to keep you informed about the WV Irish Road Bowling Tour in the green hills of north central West Virginia, and also share some updates on Irish bowling in Ireland, in Boston and around the USA. This ancient sport is growing in America, as young and old (especially baby boomers) find it is a leisurely and painless way to get some good exercise and enjoy a fresh air walk on a scenic country road.

2005 Wild and Wonderful West Virginia Irish Road Bowling Tour
Next tournament: StrawberryFestival, Buckhannon, WV

This is one of the largest festivals in West Virginia, with one of the best small town parades in America. The parade is 1:00 p.m. Saturday, preceded by a large rolling display of vintage automobiles. See www.wvstrawberryfestival.com.

Irish Bowling - Saturday May 21 4:00 p.m. 4- person teams, trophies and cash prizes.
Irish Bowling - Sunday May 22 3:00 p.m. 2- 3 - and 4- person teams, trophies and cash prizes.

Course records on Turkey Run Road:

4 person team - 28 shots. Ireland Road Bowlers: Travis Craig, Shannon Gear, Brian Craig, Jerod Putnam.
2 person team - 26 shots. Bowlers: Jerod Putnam, Travis Craig.

Turkey Run Road is two miles north of Buckhannon. The 1.4 mile road is excellent for bowling, through a scenic green valley, and starts with a sweeping curve to the left, then to the right over a small hill, with long straightaways, another small hill, then in the last 1/4 mile several small tight curves, and over a bridge to the finish. Playing those small curves without a mistake often decides the match.

Since our banquet in January, it has been an amazing winter for WV Irish road bowling. The website www.wvirishroadbowling.com is up and running, check it out for schedule, road records and other info.

The Irish Spring Festival, Ireland, WV

On March 19 & 20 added new age divisions. On Saturday 147 bowlers made a big crowd on Wildcat Road.

Winners in the 16 - 54 division, Team Carp: Randy Gear, Chip Turner, Todd Turner, Jason Dahino, had a fine score of 34 shots. Four other teams had scores under 40, including 36 by the Smailes family Runnin' Rebels.

The first ever "Vintage" Division (55 and over) was won by Burt Hunter's Rollers: Milt Dotterweich, Ann Dotterweich, Rick Reich, Dick Billick.

On Sunday in the 0-12 age division three talented young road bowling ladies Penny Spaur, Jocelyn Spaur, Hannah Maston had an amazing score of 46 shots over the 2.2 mile course.

On Sunday, two teams tied for winners in the 16 - 54 division - Runnin' Rebels: Rev. Doug Smailes, Zack Smailes, Joe Jenkins, Don Gain - 41 shots; and Dick's Dunces: Dick Billick, Burt Hunter, Ben Selbe, Sebrina Brooke - 41 shots.

Ties are supposed to be settled by distance past the finish line, but nobody waited and the referee was not too sharp that Sunday.

One team was nearly disqualified for a too "corny" name, the W. Post Toasties: Mary Ellen Slayter, Judy Mize, Wade Cowart, John Nelson, David Powell, but they persevered with a respectable 50, and Mary Ellen wrote a most excellent story about the Irish Spring Festival and the 2005 WV Irish Road Bowling Tour for the Washington Post.

The National Scene

The Washington Post story and a bowling match with Scott Simon in the National Public Radio parking lot in Washington D.C. put Ireland, W.V. on the map as a USA hotspot of this old Irish sport. Many people recently have started Irish bowling - Ancient Order of Hibernians in South Carolina, Waco, Texas, the Big Dogs in Vermont, New York, on Beaver Island in Lake Michigan, Yakima, Washington, California, Virginia, Capon Springs and Beckley, West Virginia, St. Paul, Minnesota, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and more to come.

We just got a report from the first Irish bowling match in Vermont - the Big Dog tournament - Big Red, StuEEE, Half - man, Curley Ashley, One Nutt, Bertha, The Tree, Tom, and Powlovich defeated three other teams. Buttons, Brick and Pogo added "noteworthy but futile" shots. Big Red was the hero of the day, with mighty bulk. Look for those Yankees in West Virginia one of these days, sounds like they are crazy enough for us. We will match them against Raphe O' Geaney's Ancient Hibernians, up from South Carolina.

Online Store and Pay Pal

At www.wvirishroadbowling.com we have an Irish Road Bowling "Starter Pack" which includes two bowls, Rules and Strategery booklet, scorecard and pencil, road chalk. Also the famous "Original Road Bowl Display or Carrier " ORBDOC, "You could be a legend!" And soon to be a collector's item, the "2005 Wild and Wonderful West Virginia Irish Road Bowling Tour" T shirt. We are still "getting the bugs out" with online ordering. Anyone who has had problems ordering on the website - please contact me at wdp320@aol.com or call me at 202 387 1680 to get your order in and get you started road bowling.

WV Irish Road Bowling Association Singles Championship

The following players qualified at the Irish Spring Festival for this summer's 16 - 54 Singles Championship: Chip Turner, Randy Gear, Todd Turner, Jason Dahino, Rev. Doug Smailes, Zack Smailes, Don Gain, Joe Jenkins, Chad Westfall, Jared Singleton, Jeremy Bruffey, Danny Spaur, Ben Selbe, Dick Billick, Burt Hunter, Sebrina Brooke, Leland Pickens, Justin Burkhammer, Brittani Gregg, Kelsey Stalnaker.

This is determined by the Competition Committee - based on finishing in the top two teams at any 2005 WV Irish Road Bowling Tour event. If your team did not qualify in Ireland, WV, you can qualify in Buckhannon May 21 or 22, or at any other upcoming event. See the schedule on www.wvirishroadbowling.com.

The following players qualified at the Irish Spring Festival for the "Vintage" (55 and over) singles championship: Milt Dotterweich, Ann Dotterweich, Dick Billick, Rick Reich, Michael McCartney, Julie McCartney, Patty McCartney, David McCartney, Matthew Turner, Bob Williams, Ron Lewis, Jack Fisher.

The tentative date for the Singles Championship (and picnic) will be in July at Falls Mills, near Ireland, WV.

Ireland, WV Road Bowlers

Irish troops played road bowling in West Virginia during the Civil War 145 years ago. We want to recognize and give thanks and respect to the team that has brought Irish road bowling back to West Virginia, and to their amazing record in eleven years of competition. This team began in 1995 as Don's Boys, then became the Ireland Road Bowlers, and has included Don Stewart, Shawn Stewart, Eric Stewart, Travis Craig, Jerod Putnam, Brian Craig, Chad Westfall, Shannon Gear. They have faced competition from all over West Virginia for 11 years and their record is approximately 70 or 80 wins and 1 loss. They have had tie scores only twice in matches, winning one by distance over the line against a very good Preston Polecats team in Kingwood, and their only loss was to Weston's Team Carp on their home course on the Historic Weston State Hospital grounds.

The Ireland Road Bowlers have the course record on almost every bowling road in West Virginia. Two teammates, Travis Craig and Jerod Putnam traveled to Boston in 2004 and each defeated native-born Irish from the New York City club, and each came close to winning against the eventual North American Region champions from Boston. Shannon Gear is one of the top female bowlers in North America, and has helped set most of those West Virginia road records.

Boston and International

Many of our Boston friends are attending the world championships in Skibbereen, County Cork, Ireland May 6 - 8. The world championships consist of Irish road bowling, Dutch moors bowling, and German lofting.

Next Stop - Buckhannon

Team Carp meets the Ireland WV Road Bowlers!! This is better than King Kong vs. Godzilla!! The hills will rumble at this rumble in the hills! Sparks will fly, thunder and lightning, as those hungry upstarts from Weston seek out the mighty Ireland Road Bowlers. This is MUST SEE road bowling, and it is FREE on Turkey Run! Come on out to roll the bowl or just spectate along.

Well that is lots O' blarney, hope to see some very hot and fast bowling in Buckhannon, see you in the road or in the ditch, O' David O' Powell 202 387 1680.

September 18, 2010 Inaugural Pack Horse Ford Cannonball Run, Shepherdstown, WV

Men in the Water

The inaugural PACK HORSE FORD CANNONBALL RUN WV Irish Road Bowling competition was held in Shepherdstown, WV on Saturday, September 18th, 2010. Approximately 47 bowlers competed on the historic Trough Road, which approaches the site of the significant Shepherdstown Battlefield. Confederate and Union troops engaged here on September 19th and 20th, just 2 days after the bloody battle at Antietam on September 17th. We were fortunate to meet Civil War re-enactors before the match, as the soldiers were wading across the Potomac River in the tradition of their proud forefathers, who crossed 148 years ago. (See pictures below.)

Most bowlers were first-timers of all ages from Washington, DC, Maryland, Virginia, Oklahoma, and West Virginia. A couple of bowlers remarked how much fun they had and hope the event will be held next year so they can return and bring more family members. Several big throws were reported, including the great beginning shot by John Doyle, West Virginia State House of Delegates (D-Jefferson). Trophies were awarded to the 1st Place Team, who set the course record of 36. The 2nd Place Team, who also received a score of 36, but whose bowl went a shorter distance past the finish line, received gift certificates from the O’Hurley’s General Store. It was a beautiful sunny late-summer day situated amidst the enchanting natural surroundings of Shepherdstown, WV.

Shepherdstown is located 20 minutes past Harpers Ferry, WV, and we hope to get more bowlers participating from the DMV (DC/MD/VA) area next year. Many thanks for the hard work of organizers Road Master Mary Wolfe, Don and Tom Neville.

Judy Mize, Secretary, WVIRBA