Raising the Barr: Rosanna Life Member Reaches 1000 Pennant Milestone
Ken Barr has been a member of Rosanna Bowling Club since 1965. After 54 years of continuous dedicated service, the 88-year-old super veteran, Life Member, board member, and current property and maintenance manager will soon play his 1000th game of Pennant – a league format of bowls played at clubs around Victoria – for his one and only bowls club.
It’s a remarkable achievement for anyone, let alone a man who was once not overly interested in sports and only joined Rosanna Bowling Club at the request of his wife and father-in-law, a club member, who both encouraged him to ‘do something in the local community’. While Ken suggests he was ‘badgered’ into joining back then – via a waiting list no less – these days one can hardly keep him away.
“I was actually quite lucky to get in when I did because 12 months after I joined the club there were 92 people on the waiting list,” Ken says. “There were a lot of good bowlers around the area at the time, that’s for sure.”
As for the 1000-game milestone, Ken is taking it all in his impressively flexible stride. “I never even thought I’d live this long, let alone play this many Pennant games!” he jokes. “I’m proud of the achievement and I’m looking forward to it, but in the end, it’s just another game.”
Ken reserves his true excitement for talk of Rosanna Bowling Club and what it has meant to him for over five decades. “I’ve always loved the camaraderie within the club. It’s a wonderful environment with very friendly people and it’s been a very special part of my life,” he says. “My favourite memory is winning Division 2 back in 1992, going through undefeated. That was a special year. I was made a Life Member at Rosanna in 2016 and that’s something I cherish very much,” he says.
Despite suffering a stroke and other heart-related problems over the years, Ken has rarely missed an opportunity to represent his beloved bowls club and has achieved some great success, winning the Club Pairs Championship twice with Bruce Cuff and finishing runner-up in the Club Singles Championship.
While his bowling credentials speak for themselves, Ken is also an integral part of the team away from the greens. There’s always something to do in his role as the club property manager, which is just the way Ken likes it. “I’ve got plenty to keep me out of mischief. At the moment we’re remodelling the whole club and doing lots of renovations.”
As a volunteer on function days, this aptly-named ‘Barr-tender’ is also known to pull a quality beer. In fact, very little happens at Rosanna Bowling Club without Ken Barr’s much-valued involvement.
Metropolitan Pennant is administered by Bowls Victoria across an 18-week season running from October to March each year and Regional Pennant is administered by Bowls Victoria’s Regions and Divisions with the season running at various lengths between August to March each year. Both Pennants comprise of Midweek and Saturday competitions.