W.Va. embraces ancient sport of Irish road bowling

BRUCETON MILLS (AP) — Dave Powell calls it the greatest sport you’ve never heard of — Irish Road Bowling.

Powell is membership director for a West Virginia group that sponsors tournaments where anyone can try one of the world’s oldest sports.

Players hurl 2-pound cannonballs down country roads, trying to finish a 1.5-mile course with the fewest throws.

The only gear necessary is the 28-ounce cannonball, or “bowl,” that you can rent for $5.

Road bowling originated in Ireland and is played primarily in five counties there. In West Virginia, it was taken up by the Lewis County town of Ireland during the 1995 Irish Spring Festival.

Powell’s group has held tournaments ever since, mainly at festivals and fairs.

The next competition is Saturday at the Doddridge County Fair.

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