The game originally was a Belgian pastime akin to horseshoes and Bocci. These games have many similarities amongst them. Though little is known about the exact origin of the game, it is probable that the resemblance of the balls to wheels of cheese is no mistake.
The Cadieux Cafe is proud to be the only home of Feather Bowling in the United States. The game is rarely played in Belgium, and visitors from the old country are often astonished to see the game preserved as it is here.
The game can be played by any number of participants. Once this is settled, divide the players into two teams, a red team and a green team. If there are more than three people on a team, players may have to stay on opposite ends of the lane from their teammates. When the teams are set, a coin flip is used to determine which color starts. This team then rolls all six of its balls, attempting to place them as close as possible to the feather protruding from the lane approximately sixty feet away.
A common strategy is to place three balls close to the feather and then lay blockers with the remaining balls, attempting to prevent the opponent from having an easy path to the feather. After the first team rolls all of its balls, the second team chooses to either skillfully roll their balls closer or to “shoot” the other team’s balls away from the feather.
Scoring the “end” after all twelve balls are rolled is determined by which color is closest to the feather. The number of points is determined by the number of balls that the scoring team has closer to the feather than the opposing team’s closest ball. There is a one point minimum and a six point maximum per end. Balls that touched the backdrop behind each lane are disqualified and should be removed before rolling the next ball.
The game is over when one of the teams reaches ten points or more (winning by two points is not required). An average game takes about forty-five minutes.
Feather bowling league play runs September - April on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 7-10pm. The remaining nights are open for public rental of the lanes (reservations recommended — please call for availability). The current cost for lane rental is $30 per hour per lane Monday-Thursday and $50 per hour per lane on Friday-Sunday. Call (313)882-8560 for more details.