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      Bowling, Irish style

      St. Patrick, Missouri held its annual holiday festivities Saturday, but this year, something new was added to the Irish mix.

      "My wife and I are coordinating the first annual St. Patrick Irish Road Bowling event," Bob Dickson said.

      Dickson and his wife have been coming to St. Patrick to celebrate St. Patty's Day for years. When they heard the towns post office and biggest money maker may be closing soon, they stepped in with an idea to draw a crowd.

      "We thought we would be lucky if we got five teams. We've ended up with 20," Dickson said. "So we had 80 participants this year."

      "We've probably got a record crowd here," St. Patrick Post Office owner Marcia Hardin said. "The Irish Road Bowling Tournament really brought a lot of folks to town."

      Irish Road Bowling is a traditional event in Ireland that's a mix between bowling and golf. It requires teams of four, a steal ball, and some chalk.

      "You have a ball and it's twenty-eight ounces and you have to throw it to your partner," Katie Awerkamp, an Irish Road Bowling participant, said. "The partner has to guess how far you can throw it. Then, they have to stand there and you've got to try and get it to your partner and they have to mark where it lands with a piece of chalk. It's a mile and a half, so whoever has the most throws in that mile and a half comes out to be the winners."

      The team with the least amount of throws at the end of the road wins, but the real winner of the day was the post office, packed with people.

      "Nowhere else in the world can you get the special cancellation from St. Patrick, so we're hoping that they keep it open," Hardin said.

      The Saint Patrick Post Office is part of a postal service plan to shut down almost 3,700 small post offices nationwide.