Dirt Bowl 50 returning to its Algonquin Park roots

Dirt Bowl returns to Algonquin Park ahead of 50th Anniversary

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - A basketball competition and legacy started in Algonquin Park 50 years ago. And after moving to Shawnee, it’s heading back to its home court for opening ceremonies on June 16..

The Dirt Bowl welcomes teams from local neighborhoods to play for more than just a prize.

The Algonquin Park team has been together since 1994. They practice every Sunday and have never missed a Dirt Bowl game.

The bounces and steps that happen on the court have kept the Algonquin Park basketball team together for 25 years, making their connection deeper that what happens on the court.

“That camaraderie is like nothing else,” Algonquin Park player Kevin Elery said.

“It keeps our families close, keeps the kids close, something positive to do,” Coach Ralph Cox said.

As kids, the players remember watching the men dominate the court during the Dirt Bowl. When old enough, they jumped at the chance to fill in their shoes.

“You get out there to show off your skills,” Elery said. “You’ve been practicing let’s see what you’ve got now.”

The annual summer games left Algonquin and moved to Shawnee. However, it’s coming back for some of the festivities ahead of the 50th anniversary.

“That’s special, real special, to know that it’s coming back here to the AP,” Elery said.

“Where it’s supposed to be,” Cox said.

With each crossover, the court has become the heart of the community.

“If it wasn’t for this park, this neighborhood would be much worse,” Cox said. “I’m glad it’s still here we need to get it upgraded. Hopefully bringing the 50th annual back here lets them know how important this park is.”

It’s been decades of communities passing and shooting the ball, and giving their best.

“[We’re] playing for pride, playing for your hood, your family,” Elery said.

The Dirt Bowl kicks off on Father’s Day June 16 with a dunk contest and welcoming at Algonquin park. The games run from June 22 to August 11 on the courts of Shawnee Park.

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