The Joy of Bocce Weekly
In This Issue: Vol. VIII, Issue 21 - July 13, 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 #21 - July 13, 2009
Publisher: Mario Pagnoni Copyright 2009
76 Emsley Terrace, Methuen, MA 01844 (vm 800-211-1202 ext 4949)

Hi bocce friends,

A couple weeks ago I wrote about how some of us in the east are, or were, candlepin bowlers and how the delivery is different from the raffa in international rules. I got quite a few questions from readers, so I wrote a little about it in this week's issue. See below...

I've set my sites in earnest on getting the next edition of the Joy of Bocce completed and to the printer. So, I'll be posting some specific requests for photos or information in each of the ezine issues over the rest of the summer. Please help if you can.

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

Little Italy Bocce Rollers...Baltimore, MD

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

Candlepin Bowling

I got quite a few questions after the previous issues' mention of candlepin bowling. In the first edition of The Joy of Bocce I wrote that bocce balls were approximately the same size as candlepin bowling balls. The editors at Masters Press struck that reference because they knew that, outside of the East, not many would know what a candlepin bowling ball was.

Here is an explanation of the game copied and pasted from Wikipedia...

"Candlepin bowling was developed in 1880 in Worcester, Massachusetts by a local bowling center owner, Justin White some years before both the standardization of the tenpin sport in 1895, and the invention of duckpin bowling. As in other forms of bowling, the players roll balls down a wooden pathway (lane) to knock down as many pins as possible. The main differences between candlepin bowling and the predominant ten-pin bowling style are that each player uses three balls per frame, the balls are much smaller (11.43 cm, or 4.5" diameter) and do not have holes, the downed pins (known as 'wood') are not cleared away between balls during a player's turn, and the pins are thinner, and thus harder to knock down. Because of these differences, scoring points is considerably more difficult than in ten-pin bowling, and the highest officially sanctioned score ever recorded is 245 out of a possible 300 points."

Candlepin bowling is a great game, as is another of its cousins, duckpin bowling. Duckpin balls are a little bigger than candlepin balls and the pins are short and squat versions of ten pins. When struck, duckpins tend to fly in all directions, making otherwise difficult spare leaves, well...less difficult. You can make the 5 - 7 - 10 and even the 7 - 10 split more frequently than you might imagine.

I often marvel that games like candlepin bowling never caught on nationally while ten pin bowling, with those large, heavy balls, which require you to insert your fingers to roll them, hit the mainstream. It's probably because there are so many strikes and spares in ten pin bowling. Americans love scoring - touchdowns and homeruns are the IN thing while 1 - 0 soccer matches are not so revered.

A decent candlepin bowler knocks down 100 pins in a game while the good ones score 125 and more. The top ones score 150 and higher. Matches are often three games (called strings) and many set a goal of 300 pins total pin fall. Better bowlers hit 330 or more for three strings, while the elite players try for a 400 triple. I've managed this only twice in all the years I've played (played a lot from high school to about age 30). A 400 total pin fall is pretty elusive, and great fun trying to figure out how to play the deadwood to your advantage.

If you get a chance to try candlepin bowling, give it a shot. I have a hunch that most bocce players would enjoy it.


Joy of Bocce - Third Edition

I've started in earnest to get the third edition of The Joy of Bocce to press. I'll be posting some requests in the next week's for photos or other information. I hope that the many loyal readers will help shape this edition into the one that will help the game grow to the level that it deserves.

My first idea was to leave the previous edition's text pretty much as is, and re-do almost all the photos, many of which are low resolution.

Then, I thought it might be a good idea to tighten the text as it is comprehensive and maybe even a tad intimidating. Maybe the current edition could stay as is and the new one would be more for the general public. I could pare the book down to just the main elements of the game, how to play, a little on tactics, where to purchase equipment, etc.

Currently I'm thinking of heading in a slightly different direction. I might like to leave the current edition in print and upgrade the third edition with all new photographs and a major tightening of the text. The finished product would be maybe 200 pages instead of 300 and feature only high quality images.

I'm trying to secure one, striking cover photo - maybe a young, attractive person playing the game. I'm also trying to find a celebrity of note who might write a foreword. Also, I'm compiling a list of people who might pen jacket blurbs about the book - often referred to as "advance praise."

Can any readers with publishing or bocce experience weigh in on how the book should shape up. I'm just conceited enough to think that this edition might be the one that helps us get the game to the mainstream. Any help you can give would be greatly appreciated.


The Bocce Guy on Video

I’m learning to use my new toy - Flip HD video device - and posted my first couple videos on YouTube. One is of Margaret Shindellis’ outstanding performance in the Raffa Shoot-out at Campo di Bocce. Thankfully, she had the common decency to miss one or two so that we mortals wouldn’t feel so bad.

{The videos are a little shaky as I had no tri-pod at the time. Picked one up the other day, so I hope future videos will be better.}

A second, short video shows Michigan’s Michael Constantini hitting a raffa in the USBF shoot-out and a nifty volo in the trick shoot-out run by World Bocce Association’s Phil Ferrari.

A third shows young Josh Wenson making a remarkable shot in the trick shooting competition.

Played around on YouTube looking at bocce videos = amazing how differently people play – some alternate shots no matter whose point is in – some courts have so many lines across them they look like football fields with first down markers all the way to the end boards – some have 45 degree angle boards – some have what look like dog legs – some have ends that look like hexagonal – bottom line, they all look like they are having fun, and, isn’t that the point?


World Series of Bocce This Weekend

Don't forget the World Series of Bocce - July 17-19 in Rome, NY.

$4000 first place prize based on 86 teams.


Merrimack Valley Magazine

Merrimack Valley Magazine, a bi-monthly glossy in my area, has done a first-rate piece on bocce hereabouts. We've been interviewed for many bocce articles over the years. Even though some of them print inaccuracies and misstatements about bocce, we always figure that any publicity is good publicity. This one is "spot on". The young pup (author Chris Markuns) can turn a phrase, and his treatment of local bocce happenings is the best I've read. Kevin Harkins' great photos complement the piece perfectly. The publication is not posted on line, but you can get more info and even order a copy of the July/August 2009 issue here...

This from the table of contents...

"Looking for the perfect way to spend a summer afternoon? Try your hand – and your arm – at bocce."


Pointing vs. Hitting - the debate goes on...

While at the Nationals in Livermore I had an interesting conversation with Tony Ceresoli of Tampa, Florida. He plays with and is often coached by Dr. Angel Cordano, so he knows about that which he speaks.

Ceresoli noted that the Livermore tourney was mainly a game of pointing, while back East often the game involves more hitting.

Says Ceresoli, "I saw more 5 inch points that were beaten at the Livermore event than I have seen in all my 35 years of playing the sport."

Back East we usually hit the point that's 5 inches away. Here they out-lagged it.

First off, make no mistake. If you can't hit at the courts at Campo di Bocce, you will not be successful. But, Ceresoli's comments are correct. And many of us think that hitting is the exciting part of the game.

Ceresoli noted that the fast-paced open rules style of bocce action might be better suited for television than the slower paced international style. On the other hand, TV found a way to make golf work for the small screen, so maybe they could do the same for PRV.

What's your take? Please REPLY.}


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


Paul E Cunningham - President, Bocce-at-Sea Club - sends this...

"Perhaps you could tell the players in your tournament about the event that my club is promoting. This will be a lot of fun for those who can take advantage of it."



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: . }


David Canclini lets us know some bad news about the courts at Nut Tree facility (Solano County, CA) mentioned last week...

"The Nut Tree facility has taken out all its courts. I stopped by there a few weeks ago to talk to the folks about another tournament there. (My team won the grand opening tournament two years ago.) Anyway, they started with removing four courts and tried to make the remaining courts playable. When installed, the courts had an asphalt topping with a sprinkling of sand. The courts had a crown in the middle so all balls rolled to the sideboards. Because of this, they were not used....

I talked to a nice lady that day and was informed that the last four courts were to be removed in the next few days. It is too bad. The facility was located in a grove of trees, the entire area was well landscaped with fancy benches, plants, etc. It was a pretty place."

{Bummer - a good bocce venue bites the dust...}

Glow bocce by Playaboule...

Photos of the week
Richard J. Curreri, SWFBC Secretary/Treasurer (Naples, Florida) generously contributed this week's photos.

I've posted them on the same page as his previous photos from Carlton Lakes (for the new photos, you'll have to scroll down a bit when you get to the page).

Curreri writes...

"I know you are looking for pictures of Bocce courts for your up and coming third edition book. I hope I am not too late, if you chose to used them.

We added awnings, bleachers and benches this year. The weather here in Southwest Florida is fantastic all year round for playing Bocce. But it does get hot and humid in the summer, so to protect our health in the days of extreme UV rays, mostly summer, we added all the above. The courts are 70’ x 10’ and are Har-Tru clay hydro courts.

These courts are located at Carlton Lakes in Naples , Florida."

{Please follow Curreri's lead and send high res photos of bocce in your area.}

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
Shop Today!

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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 17 -19, 2009. New York - Rome. World Series of Bocce. $4000 first place prize based on 86 teams.


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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