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27th Annual Wickliffe I&A Bocce Tourney - 2010

Wickliffe is outside of Cleveland and, after 27 years, these guys have got this event down pat - well organized - well run - great fun for all participants.

They have it down "Pat" with help from great sponsors like Pat O'Brien Chevrolet.

Besides a banquet hall and another building leased to a caterer, the Wickliffe I&A has six 60' by 12' courts under a pavillion. Note that there is plenty of well used space on the pavillion for sponsorship signs.

Three newer courts that will be covered in the near future bring the total to nine courts with 8" by 8" heavy duty timber side boards and well padded swingboards at the ends. Chain link fencing protects spectators.

Plenty of parking, or so I thought. They also offered a free shuttle from neighboring parking areas to accommodate all the players and festival sight-seers.

A good look at the timber construction. They stay behind the green line to point and advance to the red when hitting. Pallino must come to rest 12" from the sideboards and may not pass the opposite end green line. Like in Rome, NY, four players per team, one ball each, walk back and forth to play both ends.

Great scoreboards made by Wickliffe member and part-time tinkerer Chris Brassell. The double elimination event plays games to 16 in the winners' bracket and 13 in the losers' bracket.

For safety, they play with a large stainless steele pallino which tends to stay in bounds despite the many hard-throwing hitters. The bocce are large but the group plans to go to the international standard 107 mm, 920 g next year.

These guys are serious about taking care of their property. The place is extremely well cared for. The grounds include a children's play area and much open space.

There was hardware in addition to a pretty hefty cash prize for the winners.

Carmela and I signing a few books and hawking some caps and measures. And they let me speak - I have a special place in my heart for people who hand me a microphone to talk about bocce!

Young Gunnz in the house!

So were the dysfunctional 4!

This NBA hoop fan bought his shirt when Lebron left town.

Opening ceremonies included the National and Canadian Anthems. There was entertainment under the pavillion thoughout the festival...music, wine-tasting, dancing, great food.

Let the games begin. It was a decidedly young field. Many teams were made up of four twenty-somethings or three "young pups" and an older mentor/player coach. This bodes well for our game.

Spectators ringed the 9 courts from start to finish. The hitting was excellent throughout the event due to the quality of the players and the short courts (actually 58' inside dimensions). Good hitters "kill you" on short courts.

Club members volunteered to perform their assigned tasks without complaining. I wish groups in my area would follow this model.

There were raffles offering Italian baskets...

And food vendors offering Italian food, pulled pork, funnel cakes, pastry, gelato and more.

Pulled pork sandwiches were a big attraction.

With 95 men's teams you had to be pretty tall to read the bracket boards - even organizer six foot something Oliver Markon needed the handy ladder.

Organizers even ran a 60 team Corn Hole tourney. I know the game is growing fast in some areas, but I just don't get it. In talking with some of the aficionados, they offered "It's safe horseshoes, great for tailgating, and it's family oriented." Maybe we ought to take a closer look at this trend.

Have these guys thought of everything, or what?

The parting shot - this guy has a bocce ball tattoo on this throwing shoulder. Now that's dedication.

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