The Joy of Bocce Weekly
In This Issue: Vol. VIII, Issue 20 - July 6, 2009 
•   Notes from the publisher
•   Bocce product of the week
•   Bocce news & readers' feedback
•   Non bocce product of the week
•   Photos of the week
•   Tournament update
Notes from the publisher
The weekly Ezine for bocce aficionados everywhere
Volume 8, Issue #20 - July 6, 2009
Publisher: Mario Pagnoni Copyright 2009
76 Emsley Terrace, Methuen, MA 01844 (vm 800-211-1202 ext 4949)

Hi gang,

I had such a great experience at the nationals at Campo di Bocce of Livermore that I wrote more about it and posted another set of photos this week.

I think my bocce posse learned enough so that, if we went to the singles competition again in four years, we'd move up toward the middle of the pack. The competition in 2009 was Singles, 2010 will be Club Play, 2011 is Men's and 2012 is Women's - a four-year rotating schedule.

"That's how to set lofty goals, Mario. Four years and you get to the middle of the pack!"

Stay close and always be up front,
Mario Pagnoni (The Bocce Guy)

Solano County Courts - Benicia, CA...

Bocce news & readers' feedback
{Publisher's comments in brackets...}

Ann Arbor, Michigan's Joe Tramontin sends a photo of his home bocce court...

"The court was built in 2002 and measures 60' x 14'.

We have held the Tramontin Family Bocce Tournament for the last 30 years and have family members coming from California, Arizona, Virginia, Kentucky, Toronto, Ohio, Illinois, Texas as well as Michigan. Hope your readers enjoy viewing our court."


Frank Valanzola sends a thank you to all who helped make his NJ Invitational a success...

"We would like to thank all of our sponsors, contributors, supporters and guests for helping us raise over $15,000 and prepare 925 care packages for our soldiers on Saturday, June 20th at Colonial Park in Franklin Township. While we did experience a bit of inclement weather, it only enhanced the passion of Italian-American supporters along with participation of people of all ethnic backgrounds to show their commitment for our soldiers and the Boys & Girls in New Jersey.

There was a Bocce Tournament lasting until 4:00 in the afternoon with Operation Shoebox Bocce Team taking 1st Place and Manville Pizza & Restaurant taking 2nd place. The Bocce Tournament was officiated by America's Mr. Bocce, Phil Ferrari and his assistant, Ciro Poppiti and they organized over 30 teams to compete in two divisions. Will Jimeno, Retired Port Authority Officer and survivor of 9/11 was on hand to throw out the ceremonial ball for Operation Shoebox. Rutgers University football players were on hand to compete in the tournament as well.

Our Entertainers were all determined that the show must go on and would not allow the rain from fulfilling their promise. Viki Wallace, performed a number of songs as well as the tribute to fallen Belleville Police Officer, Kenneth Santucci and a soldier tribute 'When Will I See You'. Giada Valenti performed songs from her recent CD, 'And I Love You So'. Bobby Valli was on hand to sing songs from the Four Seasons and his military tribute 'America: Home for You and Me'. Moreno Fruzzetti, a classical Italian singer performed many beautiful Italian songs.

Later in the afternoon, Joe Piscopo and The Italian Chicks closed the event with a half hour of comedy and song.

Our event sponsors, Sons of Italy, The Italian Tribune and The Italian American Police Society deserve special mention, for without them this event would not have been possible. More importantly, the volunteers of Operation Shoebox and members of The Boys & Girls Clubs in New Jersey deserve a big thank you for giving us the opportunity to host this event. Additionally, a special thank you to the Somerset County Park staff and rangers for their manpower and support throughout the day. Essex County Police Academy recruits were instrumental in assisting volunteers in achieving the care package goal.

Last but not least and due to their never-ending commitment to this effort, we acknowledge Steve Kaiser of Kaiser Productions for all the video work, Dwight Hurych of Web Center Manager for the website maintenance and David Verdini of Verdini Studios for his ability to endure the weather and get some great shots of the Bocce players, guests and supporters. Their contact information is on the website for viewing.

Please take a moment to view the updated website where you will find photo's and video's of the day's activities as well as an online version of our event program showing sponsor and supporter advertisements.
In closing, since inception your support of the New Jersey Bocce Invitational has allowed us to raise approximately $100,000 for our soldiers , children with cancer and Boys & Girls Clubs and ship over 2,400 care packages through Operation Shoebox to our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Please take a moment to view the Star Ledger video of the event." {And the photo gallery too!}


Central Florida lays down the challenge..

"Is it possible for us here in central Florida to acquire from you an e-mail to The Mid Florida Lakes Bocce Club, thru your newsletter? And possibly challenge them in the near future.

Here in Altamonte Springs Florida we have a 40 member mixed league that plays from the first Friday in October, until the middle of May, including the league playoffs. Our league play consist of 38 to 40 games each year. We have two beautiful courts that are maintained by the city each week. Our courts are 12' X 60', and have a Har-Tru surface.

We also play in the Golden Age Games each November. Most of the teams near Deltona Florida are made up of The Sons Of Italy. It's always a great time for all. I 'll be sending pictures of our events in the near future."

Jim McLaughlin
President of The Altammonte Springs Senior Bocce League


A marketing director for a market research company in New York sent this - a query we get all the time and still have no good answer for...

"One of my clients is interested in Bocce participation rates in the US. They would ideally like to know:

no. of leagues, no. of players, no. of enthusiasts."

{My answer usually goes something like this...

This is a question we get all the time and, sadly, have little empirical data to offer. The USBF is struggling to unify the sport and, although we know there are lots of players and lots of leagues, they are all out doing their own thing.

California is a hot bed for bocce as are the states where the climate is appropriate for year-round, outdoor play. There are also pockets of what I like to call "frenzied bocce activity" in places like NY, NJ, MI, IL, PA, etc.

One barometer of growth is the sale of my book, The Joy of Bocce...

The top selling states are:


Sorry I couldn't be of more help. If you are able to secure valid data, please share it with us.}


Kerry Favro asks...

"As organizer of a recent 54 player Bocce tournament, several players questioned me as to whether bocce balls that don't make it over the center line should be considered 'dead' and immediately removed from the courts. Everyone already agrees that the pallino must make it over the center line but if it is very close to the center line, many ball throws fall short of the line."

{We get this question every once in a while. First off, you can agree to play by any rules that you like. Most of us who play a lot, and who are affiliated with the United States Bocce Federation despise this rule. It really makes no sense at all. A ball that comes to rest in front of the target is a great shot. If the target is at half court and your first ball is a couple inches in front of that - you made a great shot. If you rule it dead because it didn't reach the mid-court line, then you'd have to roll another ball. Let's say this time you rolled it a little harder and it went 4 feet past the target. That's a lousy shot - but by these rules it would stand, while the good shot was declared dead!}


Herschel & Sandra Gregge send a link to the HerrinFesta 2009...


Carl Fetteroll of the Mass. Senior Games sends these kind words...

"Congratulations on your trip to nationals. 2-20 doesn't do justice to what you guys accomplished, but your story does. Great read."



We should all be card carrying members. Every club should be affiliated. For the sport to gain the attention it needs we need to boast of many thousands of members. Download a USBF Membership Application here: . }


More Lamentations on Lagging

I've been wondering about the use of the word "laments"
in last week's issue. Should it have been "lamentations"? I liked the sound of Livermore Lagging Laments, but need a lexicographer to chime in on whether or not it was proper usage. My dictionary tells me that lament can be used as a noun, so maybe my usage was acceptable.

The lamenting came in when we struggled to adjust to the lightning fast surfaces at the Campo di Bocce of Livermore. No matter - nothing could have dampened our spirits after participating in the first-class event hosted by the good people at the USBF and Campo di Bocce!

There were two interesting shoot-outs that were part of the festivities (see this week's photos). One was a standard raffa shoot-out where you scored points based on hitting various targets on the court. I'm sorry I missed this competition as hitting is one of the things I'm pretty good at (usually). But, there was a long line of participants for this popular medal event and I had to drive one of our posse to the airport.

Phil Ferrari ran another interesting shoot-out of a more challenging nature. There were five shots for participants to try, and I was able to give this one a go...

1) a green ball in front of a red ball (touching) and a pallino right behind (touching) the green ball. You had to raffa the front ball so that the impact drove the pallino straight to the backboard within a one meter arc.

I hit this one right on the button and scored 3 points for my efforts.

2) A red ball was about a foot in front of a green ball and you had to volo the red without touching the green. I was pretty close on this one, but no cigar (scored 0 of a possible 4 points for this one.)

3) They rolled a pallino down the court and you had to hit it on the fly after it passed the D line. I came reasonably close, but no points of a possible 5 for a direct hit.

4) There was a red ball boxed in by 4 green balls and you had to volo the red without disturbing the positions of the other 4 balls. I hit this one but moved one of the back green balls in the process, so no points of a possible 6.

5) Criss-cross. One player rolled a ball from your left to your right down the court. Another rolled one from your right to left. Then Ferrari rolled the pallino down the center and you had to hit it on the fly once it passed the D line for 6 points - fugetaboudit!

My total score = 3 points. The winner was under 21 participant Josh Wenson who scored 18 of a possible 25 points!

I hope to post some video of the shoot-outs next week (just learning to use my new toy...the Flip HD).


Marc Balgavy sends news...

"I think bocce is invading the world of 'modern' shelter magazines. Take a look at this cover of Atomic Ranch #21 - . A few months ago I noticed a home in Dwell Magazine had a set of bocce balls. There's a trend afoot, I think."


Rusty (Guy) DeCarlo asks...

"Enjoy your trip out to the left coast. While you are at Campo di bocce I would be interested to see you do a story on the playing surface they use on the courts . I hear it is the same as they have at Palazzo di Bocce. I would like to know what it is made of and how it is installed. I think they came from Italy to install it. Also, how durable is it and what is the cost? Is it suitable for out doors? I have tried to find information on the web but have been unsuccessful."

{I'm very interested in this surface too. First off, I understand that for places like Campo di Bocce, it reduces the annual maintenance fees to a fraction of its previous costs with other type surfaces.

It is indeed the same surface as in places like the Palazzo di Bocce and Pinstripes. They tell me that it is a poured, self-leveling polyurethane resin. I understand that the installers come in from Italy to do the work.

I originally was lead to believe that this surface wouldn't work in cold climates unless you a) covered the courts and b) built subterranean heating units to keep the temperature above 32 degrees Fahrenheit. But, Dennis Russo of RRD Construction Company (Rochester, MI) tells me he has built one that has survived a Michigan winter. As of press time I haven't been able to reach him for details. Stay tuned for more in a future issue.}


Here are a couple interesting excerpts from a discussion on the Yahoo group Bocceanonymous...

I recently replaced a court (48' x 8'). I previously used crushed stone for the court surface. No matter how hard I tried I could never get a truly level court surface. I would like to install an artificial turf type surface that I would not have to mess with and one that would create a truly level playing surface. Anyone in the Central New Jersey area have any advice?


Golf does not have level surface, yet that never stopped anyone from playing?"

The Sons of Italy in Cherry Hill, NJ had packed sand surface and it required raking and even watering. The ritual became part of the happening. Then the men got too old and the youth became too lazy, so they switched to concrete covered with carpet.

Well the concrete was not exactly level, so everyone learned the pattern. The carpet is worn and moldy, so it will need changing. And the feel of a ball landing on pack sand is great.

In Rome I played on a great mix of sand and red clay.

I have seen indoor bocce played on hard wood covered with carpet.

We play on a public court subject to deer running across it at night, and to children digging it up as a sand box. But we have a great time.

Let me add a thought from California. We play on oyster shell courts within our community. I understand the desire for that perfectly level court but it seems to me there are two kinds of Bocce. One is the perfectly level court. We have an indoor facility near us that has the poured poly something surface that is perfectly flat (Campo di Bocce Livermore). I call it Bocce billiards. Figure out how to roll a straight line and control your speed and you have mastered the game. If you play International rules I guess it is the only court to have. The second type of court is the natural court much like we play on. It just is a different game. You have to get a "feel" of the court which changes all the time. All its variances are a challenge. But if you use them to your advantage it makes for a great game.

I personally prefer the natural surface court. Has its frustrations but makes for very interesting competition.
Before you make the change just make sure that's where you want to end up.

I like the previous golf analogy. Putting would be so much easier if only the green was perfectly flat. Perhaps like a miniature golf course?

Now that you have all figured out how easy(?) it is to roll on a (fairly) level court, I'll expect to see you all out there winning the Raffa tournaments and the regional and national medals. Don't forget to learn to shoot raffa and volo as well, because the raffa players can roll accurately too. And then there's strategy. If I get too close then what will he do? Point or shoot? Take the point or go for more? There's tactics as well as topography in the game or it wouldn't be contested by the Chinese, French, Italians, Swiss, Croatians, etc.
Maybe it's more fun to play on Auntie's lawn where balls roll at random and the libations make up for the disappointing throws.

It's all fun, but don't expect to be on the World's team without a great deal of training and practice.

Glow bocce by Playaboule...

Photos of the week
This week’s photos are a follow-up to last week's report on the 2009 Nationals at Campo di Bocce of Livermore (CA). The pictures are by yours truly and they show some of our posse, the venue, and include some info on the shoot-outs that were part of the festivities.

To the right are our own Larry Casha competing against Roberto Lonardo in PRV singles.

View this week's photos

Bocce product of the week
Bocce Court Maintenance Tools

I’ve seen all kinds of home-made court maintenance brushes and scrapers. Two things have always struck me about them. 1 – they look like they are home-made and 2 – they tend to be HEAVY.

7' Drag Brush

Manufactured by Lee Tennis (makers of the Har-Tru surface material), this court maintenance tool created for tennis courts works exceptionally well for bocce courts. The 7-foot drag brush is light-weight and, even if you have a 13- or 14-foot wide court, you can smooth it over with just two passes. This is quick enough to do between games without keeping players waiting very long.

Bristles are 4 ˝ inches of synthetic fibers and the strong but light-weight frame is aluminum. Retails for $169.95 plus shipping.


This strangely named 30” wide device is actually two implements in one. It is an all-aluminum combination tool for scarifying, leveling, and removing loose court material.

Strong and sturdy, the tool is light enough to handle with ease and is excellent for spreading new material during top-dressing. The concave shape of the 30” wide blade allows the tool to “float” along the surface without digging in. Use the serrated edge to scrape material from high spots, then flip the tool over to rake and smooth that spot and drag the loose material to fill in a lower point. Retails for $63.95 plus shipping.

Besides a heavy roller, the lute/scarifier and 7-foot drag brush should be all the maintenance tools a bocce court owner needs.

Click to go to merchandise order...then scroll to bottom of page.

Non bocce product of the week
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Tournament update
{chronological order}


Don't let the West Coast players hog all the space!


Please - anyone running a tournament - do me a favor - put a notice near your tourney bracket board informing players that they can go to and "opt in" for my FREE Ezine on bocce. Click the logo to the right to opt in if you do not already receive this ezine every Monday.


Please consider designating someone as "official event photographer" and directing that person to send snapshots for us to reproduce as photos of the week. Our readers love seeing bocce action from around the continent.


July 10, 2009. Pennsylvania - Koppel. 4-player teams. Contact 724-847-4488.


July 10, 2009 - Pennsylvania - Farrell. Farrell Italian Home. 4-player teams. Contact 724-346-6931.


July 11, 2009 - California - San Rafael - Marin. OPEN - 2 men players. Contact Diana Pelligrini @ 415-485-5583.


July 11, 2009 - Washington - Auburn Bocce Club. OPEN - 4 players. Contact Salvatore Gascon @ 253-939-3502.


July 17, 2009 - Ohio - Cleveland. Little Italy Bocce Cup. 4-player teams. Contact Michael Cipullo @ 216) 513-4459.


July 18, 2009 - California - Fairfield. OPEN - 4 players. John Magnetti Memorial Tourney. Contact Vergie Trammell @ 707-425-5301.


July 25, 2009 - California - Campo di Bocce Los Gatos. RAFFA - 1 man and 1 woman. Contact John Ross @ 408- 354-0625.


July 25, 2009 - Ohio - Youngstown. 4-player teams. Contact Carmine @ 330-501-3958.


August 1, 2009 - California - San Rafael -Marin. OPEN - 4 players. Western Sector Championships. Contact Diana Pelligrini @ 415-485-5583.


August 7, 2009. Pennsylvania - Koppell. Co-ed tourney. Contact 724-847-4488.


August 8, 2009 - California - San Rafael - Marin. OPEN - 2 women players. Contact Diana Pelligrini @ 415-485-5583.


August 14, 2009 - Pennsylvania - New Galilee. 4-player teams. Contact Jessie Pomerico @ 724-622-4792.


August 15, 2009 - California - I.A.C.C. South City OPEN - 4 womwn players. Contact Rose Viscuso @ 650-349-7732.


August 15, 2009 - Wyoming - Cheyenne. Mia Maria's 4th Annual Bocce Festival. 10 AM to 6 PM at Frontier Park's Indian Village. 2 player teams, food and beverages available. Contact Jeff or Nola Thompson at 307-638-6756.


August 21 - 23, 2009 - Ohio - Mayfield Heights. Club Molisani & the City of Mayfield Heights host the MARSHALL SUPERSTORE CLEVELAND INTERNATIONAL CHALLENGE CUP OF BOCCE. With 53 teams in our first year and 72 teams last year, Club Molisani is expecting over 90 teams in this year's tournament. $150 entry fee. Tournament t-shirts for all participants. 1st & 2nd place trophies for Men's Division, which pays 12 places with $4500 for first place (all guaranteed). 1st place trophies for Women's Division, which pays four places with $1000 for first place (based on 16 teams that participated last year). Four person teams - double elimination. Free pool passes for out of town teams, gambling casino, fireworks, rides for kids, several bands - all on our grounds. Contact Wayne Farinacci, tournament director, at 216-509-4353 or .


August 22, 2009 - California - Los Gatos - Campo di Bocce. RAFFA - 3 players. Contact Bill Schlaefer @ 408- 379-9409.


August 28 - 30, 2009 - Ohio - Wickliffe. WICKLIFFE ITALIAN-AMERICAN CLUB. 26th annual CLEVELAND CHALLENGE CUP OF BOCCE sponsored by Pat O'Brien Chevrolet. $5000 first prize, $15,000 in total prize money – GUARANTEED. $150 per team entry. Trophy’s and medals for Champion and second place finishers and tournament t-shirts for all participants. Four person teams (plus one sub) Contact Gino Latessa ( @ 216-789-6393 for more info. Applications and info online @


August 29, 2009 - California - Sacramento - East Portal. OPEN - 4 players. Contact Vern Cooper @ 916-961-2404.


September 12, 2009 - California - I.A.C.C. - South City. RAFFA - 3 PLAYERS. 24th Ital.-Amer. Games. Contact Alvaro Bettucchi @ 650-871-9278.


September 19, 2009 - California - I.A.C. - Stockton. RAFFA - 1 MAN AND 1 WOMAN. Contact Romano Lotti @ 209-951-8256.


September 20, 2009 - California - P.I.A.S.C. San Mateo
OPEN - 4 PLAYERS. At least one woman. Contact Rose Viscuso @ 650-349-7732.


September 26, 2009 - California - I.B.S. - Sutter Creek. OPEN - 4 PLAYERS. Gold Country Classic. Contact Rick Wagstaff @ 209-296-6151.


October 3, 2009 - California - Stockton - Waterloo. OPEN - 4 PLAYERS. Contact David Canclini @ 209-957-3314.


October 4, 2009 - California - South City I.A.C.C. VOLO - 2 PLAYERS. Contact Ale Bettucchi @ 650-697-7702.


October 10, 2009 - California - San Rafael - Marin. OPEN - 4 PLAYERS. Contact Diana Pelligrini @ 415-485-5583.


October 17, 2009 - California - Sacramento - East Portal. RAFFA - 3 PLAYERS. Contact Vern Cooper @ 916-961-2404.


October 24, 2009 - California - Stockton I.A.C. RAFFA - 3 players. Western Sector Championship. Contact Romano Lotti @ 209-951-8256.


November 12-14, 2009. Nevada - Reno. Peppermill Casino. OPEN - 4 players. Contact Dana Shores @ 800-648-6992.


November 14 - 15, 2009. Arizona - Phoenix. Arizona International Open. 4-player teams - double elimination. Contact Pasquale D'Aliesio @ 602-569-9149 or . More info:


December 5, 2009 - California - Stockton. I. A. C. OPEN – 4 PLAYERS. At least two women players. Contact Romano Lotti @ 209-951-8256.

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