Irish Bowling Event Planned in Salina

This fall, Salina is set to host its first-ever Irish Road Bowling event. The unique and exciting competition will take place at Indian Rock Park on September 7th.

Organizers say teams of four will vie to throw the fewest number of “bullets”, small 28-ounce cannonballs, down the park’s roads. The event promises not only fun and friendly competition but also the opportunity to support a valuable cause: stocking the new hygiene pantry at Kansas Wesleyan University.

Recently, Jerry Lonergan and fellow organizer John Maguire invited a few enthusiasts to Indian Rock Park for a trial run. During the session, Lonergan and Maguire explained the rich history, rules, and strategies of Irish Road Bowling.

Salina Police Chief C.J. Wise and Fire Chief Tony Sneidar kicked off the trial by throwing the first two bullets. Both chiefs will provide teams for the Red vs. Blue Roll Off, during the main event in September. The two departments will roll-off at 11:15 a.m. and organizers are hoping that a gallery of supporters will follow this competition.

The origins of Irish Road Bowling trace back to the 1600s, steeped in unverified folklore. Lonergan shared a popular tale that Irish rebels used to steal cannonballs from British forts and, unable to carry them away, would roll them down the streets. This practice eventually evolved into a competitive sport.

While early games focused on rolling the bullet the furthest, today’s version resembles golf, with teams aiming to reach a goal line in the fewest throws.

Lonergan and Maguire, who previously competed in multiple Irish Road Bowling event in Kansas City, are passionate about bringing the sport to Salina. After moving back to his hometown a few years ago, Lonergan sought to introduce this unique activity and support the community simultaneously. Learning about KWU’s new hygiene pantry, he decided that the event’s proceeds would go toward stocking essential hygiene items. “The money we raise will go to stock the pantry with things like toothpaste, soap, deodorant, and
more,” Lonergan said.

The inaugural Salina Irish Road Bowl will begin at 9:15 a.m. on September 7th. Teams of four can register on the Salina Irish Road Bowling website for a $100 entry fee. The event will accommodate up to 15 teams.

The road course, approximately three-quarters of a mile long, will start near the lower-level shelter on the park’s north side facing Gypsum Avenue. Due to Indian Rock Park’s unique layout, which lacks a complete circuit of roads, the course will include a section of trail path, adding a distinct feature to Salina’s event.

While the competition is only open to a limited number of teams this first year, there will be plenty of places along the course for people interested in watching this unique sport.

Finally, as a fundraiser, the organizers are looking for sponsors to help put on the event. The organization has established a fund at the Greater Salina Community Foundation for tax-deductible donations, and welcomes any inquiries from potential sponsors.

“The intent is for Salina Irish Road Bowling to be an annual event, raising funds for selected causes,” according to Lonergan.

For more information about Salina Irish Road Bowling, including registration, visit Additional information and updates leading up to the September 7th event can be found on the group’s Facebook page.

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Courtesy photo