From our archives, 2011...
Love to shoot pool? Like bowling, too? Steve Wienecke has the perfect game for you. Knokkers combines the two games into one big new passtime.
Instead of using a cue stick you throw the bowling ball-sized cue ball at 15 racked balls. Then you better be ready to get out of the way of the balls that will come rolling your way.
Wieneke came up with the idea of combining two of his favorite games nearly three decades ago. Sports have always been a passion. Wienecke played semi-pro football in St. Louis and he tried a bout as a cage fighter when he was over 50.
Knokkers is a sport anyone can do, Wienecke says. His partner and cousin, Sam Sparks, has modified the bowling balls to 6 lbs. with two sets of holes for small and large hands. He's also refined the balls so they sound like pool balls when they are hit.
Since bowling balls are 4 times the size of pool balls, so is the table. "It's four pool tables wide and four pool tables long at 15 by 30 ft.," Wienecke says.
He built a Knokkers field in his rural backyard and kept it hidden until he got all the trademarks and patents in place. A portable unit that can be hauled on a 30-ft. trailer is being constructed. The pockets accommodate multiple balls and have an automatic return just like a regular pool table.
The rules are simple. The thrower's feet cannot move once the white cue ball is picked up. The shot must be taken from that stance.
The game is fun, but also challenging.
"A long bang shot is over 60 ft.," Wienecke notes.
Wienecke, Sparks and their other partner, Ricky Skaggs (not the singer) visualize Knokkers courts on cruise ships, at casinos, amusement parks and resorts, and in people's backyards.
News about Knokkers has gone viral on the Internet, and Wienecke has heard from people all over the world. One lady wants one on her rooftop. Another thanked him for making a game that will get kids off the couch.
"People are going to be hooked," Wienecke predicts. "They can hold tournaments. I can't wait to match pool players and bowlers against each other."