The Joy of Bocce Weekly
In This Issue: Vol. IV, Issue 29 - August 8, 2005 
•   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 4, Issue #29 - August 8, 2005
Publisher: Mario Pagnoni Copyright 2005
76 Emsley Terrace, Methuen, MA 01844

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Hello bocce aficionados,

This week I took my bocce posse to the North End of Boston to play their regular bocce crew. Only a handful of the North Enders showed up (I don't think they were ducking us because those that did show up "spanked" us pretty good).

They're still playing the backboard live there, but at least they were aware of the fact that much of the country is playing it dead. As a courtesy, they even played a game or two with a ball that hit the backboard being declared dead unless it first struck another ball. {Although, I still think it's fair to play the rules of the home team. If we visit them, the backboard is live. If they come to our venue, the backboard is dead.}

The courts were newly surfaced with Har-Tru and played fast and true. They "broom" the courts often and material tends to pile up at the ends, creating a little incline. So, with the pallino a couple feet from the back wall, all you had to do was hit the end board with medium speed and let your ball trickle down hill to the object ball. Not a very difficult shot, and one that makes a good argument for playing the back wall dead.


Joy of Bocce 2nd Edition

Click the link below to order an autographed copy from me. Shipping will be $4.00 (US Priority Mail).

Please let me know how you want the book autographed (type the details in the "Special Inscription/Autograph" box provided).

Also, you can order the book directly from the publisher ( ). They even offer an electronic version at just $4.95 (you download it - no shipping charge).

Click on the image above to order from the publisher's web site or the link below to get an autographed copy directly from me. {If you order from the publisher's site enter Pagnoni in the box for Author = ...}


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

Can any reader help with this request?

"I am a volunteer at the Colorado History Museum in Denver. I do data entry in the Decorative and Fine Arts department. I catalog incoming donations and, if possible, I like to research items on the internet. I am currently cataloging a set of four metal bocce balls with two small red wooden balls. The bag the balls were in is leather, specially made in Korea for Wings, if that means anything. There are also two towels with 'Bocce Metalliche and Bocce Sintetiche' printed on each. Last are two probably score cards, both alike and printed in Italian.

Searching the internet I do not find anything on metal there any way that you can help me?

They were donated by an Italian gentleman who used them in a tournament. I appreciate whatever help you can give me. I am ."

{Hope readers can help...speaking of metal the image of my nailed boules collection above right to view Herbert Wegner's comprehensive site on nailed boules.}


We got some pretty good ink for our sport in the Boston Globe last week. Globe Correspondent Joyce Pellino Crane interviewed me by phone and attended our bocce group's last practice session. You can read the well crafted article at


Under the heading Believe It Or Not...

Our Monday morning bocce is at Dave Bettencourt's Baseball Instructional School (we set up our temporary bocce courts on the Astroturf there). Bettencourt is a successful high school and college baseball coach who runs camps and individual coaching sessions at this indoor/outdoor facility.

Former Red Sox great Carl Yastrzemski is an occasional visitor (he lives nearby) and is happy to offer some batting tips to any youngster who will listen.

Bettencourt related to me an incident that I still have a hard time getting my mind around.

Evidently, one of the parents in attendance, a youth league coach, kept interrupting Yaz, correcting him on various hitting techniques. "That's not the way we teach it...we do it this way..."

What could this guy be thinking? HE a Hall of Famer? Is there any wonder why youth sports are out of control with this kind of adult running programs?


I'll be heading down to Gotcha Bocce (Louisville, KY) from August 15 - 18. If you are going to be in the area, please stop by and say hello.

I'll be visiting with Gotcha Bocce owner Bob Valvano and hope to help promote the game and the facility while I am in town.

Last week we published a link to a column from the Courier-Journal in which Valvano made a particularly perceptive point...

"People say, 'Bocce? What is bocce?' Or, 'Oh, bocce! I love bocce!' I don't think I've ever heard anyone say, 'I hate bocce.' They either don't know it or they love it."

This is right on. People either enjoy the sport or they don't know what it is. Moreover, virtually everyone we introduce the game to likes it. It's a "can't miss" for huge growth in the USA once it gets a little TV exposure.



Jim Vaughan of the Bargetto Winery sent a copy of my new bocce book to Signor Daniele Di Chiara (historian for the Federazione Italiana Bocce in Rome, Italy). Signor Di Chiara wrote back in Italian what appears to be a positive review…can anyone translate? I see the words bellissimo and bravissimo, so I figure it can’t be bad.

“ho ricevuto il libro di Pagnoni : č bellissimo! Sono contento di vedere citata la mia opera e ti ringrazio per il tuo interessamento.Fai i miei complimenti all’ autore del libro che č una vera miniera di notizie ed informazioni, penso proprio un’opera unica al mondo. E’ stato bravissimo.

Ciao. Daniele.”

This week's responses...

Got this translation from Maria D'Agostino of Franklin, MA...

"I received the Pagnoni book. It is beautiful! I am happy to see my work mentioned and I thank you for your interest in it. Give my compliments to the author of the book. The book is full of news and information. I really think that it is a unique work in this world. He did a good job."

Got a similar translation from one of my bocce playing buddies whose wife is fluent in Italian...

"I received Pagnoni’s book. It is beautiful! I am so happy to see my work cited there and I thank you for your interest. My compliments to the author of the book. His book is one true mine of news and information. I think it will be a unique work all over the world – it is really great."


Didn't get to see the Daily Gazette (Schenectady, NY) article by reporter Matt Volke on handicap accessible bocce (mentioned last issue). Can any reader send me a copy or a hyperlink?


Bill Wenzel writes...

"I am on a committee at a retirement community near St. Louis, MO looking into installing 1 or 2 bocce courts. We now play on the lawn which is fun but the grass is uneven, has dips and holes and no framing. We are considering courts made of synthetic turf and wonder if you have any suggestions for us. We need low maintenance and something that will enhance rather than detract from the appearance. Any ideas for us?"

{Good luck with this project - synthetic courts are great because they require little maintenance. An outfit called Sports Courts supplies the Astroturf surface (John Molori - is a distributor ). You may want to talk with Dr. Angel Cordano who is retired in Florida and swears by synthetic courts {email address sent}. Another expert in court installation is Michael Grasser {Michigan - email address sent}.

Best of luck, and please consider sending photos when you are up and running.}

Do you know about Chris Pfeiffer's portable courts?

Photos of the week
This week’s photos come from Joy of Bocce Weekly friends Richard and Barbara Heisler (Zio Riccardo & Auntie Miye).

What a treat for all of us to see these photos from the “left coast” and what a special treat for me to have the pictures and text submitted so ready for print. Many thanks Zio Riccardo and Auntie Miye.


Italian Benevolent Society 124th Annual Italian Picnic
Open Rules Bocce Tournament
Sunday, June 5, 2005 - Italian Picnic Grounds, Sutter Creek, CA

Sutter Creek is one of the old gold mining towns of the Southern Mother Lode of California, located on highway 49 approximately midway between Placerville and Angels Camp. Placer gold did not last long there, but deep quartz mining was begun by 1851 and over the years yielded more than $40 million in gold ore. Logging and tourism are the main sources of income today. The Amador County wine country has become a great place to sample great Zinfandels.

The history of the area is on display in the local museums and mine tours as well as Columbia State Park (an entire mining town preserved). Jamestown’s branch of the California Railroad Museum features steam train rides and shop tours. I have also never seen so many antique shops in my life.

Since 1881 the Italian Benevolent Society has been hosting its annual Italian Picnic on their extensive grounds. It runs for three days and includes a parade, food, art and souvenir booths, a carnival with games, a Ferris wheel and many other rides, music, dancing, cotton candy, a Saturday dinner for 400 people and much, much more. Saturday the courts were open to the public and competitors alike with signs all over the grounds announcing “Learn bocce for a Buck”. This allowed anyone to play a 7 point game for $1/person. Beginners were given instruction, coaching and refereeing by IBS members. The rest of us were supposed to know better.

My main attraction, of course, is the Sunday double elimination bocce tournament. This is run on three beautiful courts of synthetic putting green material over poured concrete. They are some of the fastest surfaces in No. California, rivaling the polyurethane courts at San Rafael and Waterloo. Even the eventual winners seemed to have trouble adjusting to it with an early loss which put them into the losers’ bracket. Adjust they did, however, with consistent pointing by the whole team and spectacular raffa shooting by Paolo Pro which gave ‘Four Wins’ (Doris Perez, Paolo Pro, Andrew Loi and Giuseppe Moeri) a stunning comeback to win twice over ‘the Sopranos’ (Tony & Colleen Randazzo with Vern & Sharon Cooper) in the finale. Third place went to ‘Bocce for 4’ (Gary & Norma DePouli with Dorothy & Armand Cevasco) who beat out ‘Girls Rule’ (Toni Nicholas, Bev Wright, Pat Kinsel, & Mari Grillo).

The morning began cool but sunny with warm and breezy weather expected. The 20 teams breakfasted on pastries and coffee while pairings were drawn and court assignments made. With the tournament running in a double elimination format, Tournament Director Rick Wagstaff and USBF president John Ross kept busy as they tried to minimize gaps between games. After the morning rounds, a fabulous lunch of oak barbecued beef tri-tip fueled everyone for the long afternoon ahead.

As it turned out, the afternoon ran on into the evening, with the finale only being decided after 9pm. Tournament bocce can be an endurance sport as well as requiring a touch of athleticism to come out on top. The board members of the IBS were so impressed, they are offering to put a roof over the courts.

Kudos to Rick & Teresa Wagstaff and the other volunteers, as well as the Italian Benevolent Society for making it all possible. It was a monumental effort and we hope that by the time you read this, all those responsible are fully recovered.

Text by Richard (Zio Riccardo) Heisler. Photos by Richard & Barbara (Auntie Miye) Heisler

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), 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 players standing around waiting very long. Bristles are 4 ˝ inches of synthetic fibers and the strong but light-weight frame is aluminum. Retails for $139.95 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 $50.95 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 for more on lute/scarifier and 7' drag brush...

Non bocce product of the week
Are you into the Texas Hold 'Em Craze? If so, check out Nevada Poker Chips and accessories.

Our non-profit group ( ) purchased chips in 2004 and ran three poker tourney fund-raisers which grossed a total of nearly $60,000. In Massachusetts you must be a non-profit group in existence for at least two years. If you meet these criteria you may run three events per year.

Check out the regulations in your area...consider this fund-raising idea while it is still hot!

Click to view Nevada Poker Chips etc.

Tournament update
{chronological order}

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.


Lots of tournament action listed - 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.


August 13, 2005 - ABA Open Championships – 4 person Team - TBA - MUST HAVE ABA CARD. Contact Traci Peters @ 916-456-7169.


August 20, 2005 - Michigan - Palazzo di Bocce - Open Tournament. Contact Bryan Sanborn at 248-371-9987 x13 or email


August 20, 2005 - California - South San Francisco - Orange Ave. Mem. Park. Women’s Tournament - Open – 4 person team - MUST HAVE ABA CARD. Contact Rose Viscuso @ 650-871-7732.


August 21, 2005 - California - Los Gatos - Campo di Bocce - Juanito Cuneo Memorial Tourney - Volo – 2 Players. Contact Marco Cuneo @ 415-713-5939.


August 21, 2005 - California - ABA Volo Championships (MUST HAVE ABA CARD) contact Traci Peters @ 916-456-7169.


August 22, 2005 - California - San Martin - 5-star Auberge Resort, The Lodge at CordeValle. Fund-raiser to benefit the El Camino Hospital Foundation. Contact Gigi Lugonja @ 650-988-7691.


August 26, 2005 - Massachusetts - Boston - North End FIERI Bocce Night (Commercial St.) beginning at 5:00 PM. Visit .

August 26 - 28, 2005 - Ohio - Wickliffe - Wickliffe Italian & American Club. 4 person team entry fee $120 - contact Wayne Farinacci at 440-461-6471 or Gino Latessa at 216-789-6393.


August 27, 2005 - California - Crockett - ABA Singles Raffa Championship. Contact @ Dick Gomez 707-554-9916 or


August 27, 2005 - California - Sacramento - East Portal Open – 4 Players - Sector Championship. Contact Rick Wagstaff @ 209-296-6151.


September 10-11, 2005 - California - Monterey - Santa Rosalia Tournament - Open – 4 person teams - Monterey Bocce Club Charter House - does any reader know the contact person for this event? Please REPLY.


September 16 - 18 - Canada - Ontario - Windsor - Ciociaro Club - 3 person teams - $6,000.00 guaranteed first place. Contact Remo Incitti @ 519-965-7799 or 519-969-4825.


September 17, 2005 - California - Los Gatos - Campo di Bocce - raffa men singles (ranking) - contact Ben Musolf @ 408-395-7650.


September 18 - 25, 2005 - Michigan – Orion - World Bocce Championships – Palazzo di Bocce, 4291 S. Lapeer Rd, Orion, MI 48359. Contact Bryan Sanborn at 248-371-9987 x13 or


September 18, 2005 - California - San Mateo - Open – 4 person team - 1 must be a woman - Contact Adriano Undorte @ 650-591-3318.


September 24, 2005 - California - San Francisco - XXX Italian/American Games - Raffa – 3 person team - contact Alvaro Bettucchi @ 650-871-9278.


September 24, 2005 - Californai - Martinez - Open - Battle Of The Sexes, 2 person (Men’s winner vs. Women’s winner). Contact Tracy Benetti or Jessica Benetti @ 925-372-5327.

October 1, 2005 - California - San Rafael - Open – 4 person team - Marin Bocce Federation, 550 B Street. Contact Diana Pellegrini @ 415-454-4483.


October 8, 2005 - California - San Francisco - Volo – 3 person team. Contact Alessandro Bettucchi @ 650-583-9936.

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