Letter from Western Sector President, Ken Gorny

(Submitted by Ken Gorny)

I would like to thank all of the candidates for offices in the Western Sector of the USBF for accepting their nominations to serve for the next 2-year term starting in January 2023.

As current President of the Western Sector, I would like to express my appreciation for all of the current officers, especially our Treasurer, Marsha Jones and Laura de la Rosa, Treasurer for the National USBF, who reestablished the USBF’s non-profit status and put us on a sound footing. Marianne Schmidt, Secretary, helped me with the Zoom meetings and all the correspondence sent to our members. The Membership Committee, including Cynthia Rivera, Marsha Jones and Diana Pellegrini, established a system to send out and track memberships, and welcome new clubs and members.

The Newsletter Committee, including Alan Knox, Jerry South, and Brad Cotton, with Nancy Mueller, made progress in publishing newsletters and contributing to the national website, and JoAnn Jacobs maintained the USBF Facebook site for the Western Sector, However, there is much for the new leadership to do, building on our first steps. I believe I speak for all of us who have chosen not to run for an additional term, when I say that we are here to cheer on and support the new Board with all of the knowledge we have gained during our time in office.  

I am encouraged to have heard some of the candidates express their intentions to focus on promoting bocce to youth groups, schools and families. Their youthful energy and familiarity with social media are bringing in many younger players. We all benefit when new bocce courts are built, existing courts are improved, and new players are welcomed into the USBF bocce family. Building partnerships between public parks, private corporations, individual donors and politicians can accomplish wonders, with the right people pushing and organizing events that can bring us together.

Marianne Schmidt, Mike Schmidt, Cynthia Dzendzel Counting the Western Sector Election email ballots while at break at the Peppermill Tournament.

The new Western Sector officers that were officially elected at the November 14th meeting are Lisa Watson, President; Ron Fideldy, Vice President; Margaret Shindelus, Sector Representative; Colleen Randazzo, Secretary; Marsha Jones, Treasurer and Populous Director; and Natalina BernardiMark BigelMartha Crosley, and Jessica Libien, Populous Directors. Ben Campbell has volunteered to help Jessica Libien with the Outreach Committee.

We have certainly weathered some hard times during Covid but we have been making progress as we have adjusted to live and play with its restrictions. By continuing to work as a team we can accomplish much of what we set out to do. We each have a role to play, and no one can do it alone. The organization is what the members make it!

Stay Safe and I hope to continue seeing all my friends on the courts.

Historic Bocce World Championships in Mersin, Turkey 2022

(Story by Margaret Shindelus)


The historic World Bocce Championships was a joint venture of the Confederazione Bossistica Internazionale (Punto Raffa Volo) and Federation Internationale De Boules (Volo). The event was a gathering of 52 teams from 37 countries.

The championship was held at the Toroslar Bocce Hall and Volleyball Gymnasium in Mersin, Turkey. There were 10 outdoor Volo courts and 4 outdoor and 4 indoor courts for Raffa that were used for the 6 disciplines of Volo and 7 disciplines of Raffa. The huge, covered bocce facility was part of a sport complex built for the 2013 Mediterranean Games. The outdoor courts were concrete covered with sand and the indoor courts were carpet laid over a sport court floor.

Amy Lazzaretti, Miles Russell, Greg Della Croce, Teresa Passaglia, Margaret Shindelus

Raffa Team USA contingent started our long journey by meeting at Chicago O’Hare airport and traveling together on the same flight to Adana Turkey, which was a 1-1/2 hour bus ride to Mersin. Speaking of the Mediterranean, our living accommodations were at a low-rise resort hotel complex located at the seashore. We had adjoining two story 4-plexes that housed our entire USA Raffa and Volo contingents. The American flag was proudly hung from the upstairs railing.

The tournament was well organized, and we had a team member participating in every PRV event. We started each day with breakfast at 6:30 am, a 40-minute bus ride to courts at 7:15 am, and team members competing every hour from 8:30 am to 9:00 pm. We stayed together and supported each other throughout the week. If we had any break we were able to watch the Volo competition and appreciate the precision shooting skills and athleticism of the competitors.

Toroslar Bocce Facility

Team USA fared well and finished with an overall PRV World Ranking of #16. The team was led by Amy Lazeretti going undefeated in the Women’s Singles preliminary rounds with a 4-0 record and finishing with a #5 World Ranking. Miles Russell teamed with Amy Lazeretti in Mixed Doubles and attained a #9 World Ranking. Teresa Passaglia and Margaret Shindelus competed in Women’s Doubles and finished with a #9 World Ranking. Greg Della Croce competed in both Men’s Singles and teamed with Miles Russell in Men’s Doubles attaining a #17 World Ranking in both events. Miles Russell and Margaret Shindelus each competed in Precision Shooting and both finished with #11 World Rankings.

Each team member proudly represented the USA displaying their skills and all were gracious in both victory and defeat. We are grateful to USBF President, Danny Passaglia, for accompanying Team USA as Head of Delegation/Coach, and for outfitting all National Team members (PRV and Volo) with great uniforms that he obtained through sponsorship of TOP87.

On stage at Mersin 2022 Opening Ceremonies
USA Raffa (Pants): Amy Lazzeretti, Teresa Passaglia, Miles Russell, Greg Della Croce,
Danny Passaglia, Margaret Shindelus
USA Volo (Shorts): Guy Bissay, Guiseppe Gadaleta, Benji Tosi

Highlights of the event were Opening Ceremonies where we marched into a huge ovation from the crowd only to be followed by and even louder roar when the host country Turkey came in behind us. Each day it was awesome to see the young children bused in to watch the games and to see how excited they were to cheer for Turkey and seeing the kids request autographs from team members from around the world. Everyone we encountered was gracious, kind and helpful to us throughout our entire journey. It was an incredible experience for each of us and we are grateful for having the opportunity to proudly wear a USA uniform.

Letter from USBF President, Danny Passaglia

(Submitted by Danny Passaglia, from the December 2022 Newsletter)

Happy Holidays to our USBF Members and Guests,

By now many of you know the results of our National tournament held at Methuen Sons of Italy Club. The event was extremely well attended and was probably one of the largest turnouts in recent memory. It was especially rewarding to see the large group of first-time participants that brought with them excitement and enthusiasm. Many of them received medals and some even won Gold and the opportunity to represent the USA in International competitions.

I wish to thank all the volunteers that helped make the event a success. Without them no tournament can ever be held and they deserve all the thanks we can give them. In particular the efforts of our Director Joe Quartarone must be acknowledged. He was the driving force that organized and solicited many players and teams. For the first time in many years he was able to create a “B” Division Championship! Great work, Joe! See all of the Nationals details below in Joe’s story.

As of this writing, both Uruguay and Mersin tournaments have been completed and our players are back home. Mersin is a coastal city and the team stayed at a lovely resort near the water. The daily routine was breakfast and then a bus ride to the bocce venue. While the facility was large and had plenty of room for spectators it was not usually crowded. The courts were equally bad both for Volo and Raffa. Basically, we played on concrete covered with sand.

It was a battle of who adapted and was capable to use the court complexities to their advantage. Our team never gave up and fought for every point but I am sure we would have had better results if the courts were at least average. We should all be proud of them and they were especially valuable creating public relations, in particular, the children that attended. Next year the World Championships will be held in Algeria for the Junior players.

2022 Men’s National Volo Team
Giuseppe Gadaleta, Benji Tosi, Guy Bissay

The very first Club PanAm Championship was held in Colonia Valense, Uruguay. A very special thank you to Ben Musolf and Campo di Bocce for sponsoring the team. It was not an easy task playing against every Club during the event but they gave all they had. The courts were carpets and the same facility that was used for the Women’s PanAm four years ago. All the results are posted on Facebook so if you are interested check them out. While South America are always gracious hosts, the poor courts are always an issue.

We thank Paolo Pro, Alan Knox, Gordon Gruenes and Jorge Moreno who filled in as Coach/Player as a substitute for a player who couldn’t make the trip.

As always, the presence of the USA is valued and extremely important to the host country. We are regarded as a major influence in all sports but especially in bocce!

I also want to thank the Board and Officers for putting up with me these past years. I have always tried to promote the sport and gain the respect overseas that the USBF deserves. It is a very difficult task due to the fact we are the only country playing several forms of Open rules. We have tried over the years to unify the rules but understandably many areas of the country create their own set of rules. I would have liked to accomplish something greater during my time as President but regrettably I was not able to meet all of my goals. I wish the new administration the best of luck and hoping they continue to elevate our Federation to new heights.

Thank you all and God bless everyone!

Respectfully, Danny Passaglia

Methuen Sons of Italy – Fall 2022 Intro To Bocce Clinic

(submitted by Joe Quartarone)

In November 2022, USBF members Lisa Labadini and Jim Sacco led a group of 16 volunteers with an Intro to Bocce Clinic and complimentary lunch at the Methuen Sons of Italy. The volunteers, many of who participated in last year’s US Nationals, taught 64 people how to play our favorite sport. It was a huge success! Lots of laughs and 10 people signed up as new members of the Lodge. Congratulations to the volunteers.

Volunteers (left)
1st Place and 2nd Place Teams (right)

2022 Gresham Ford Mixed Doubles Championship

(story by Brad Cotton)
Paesano Bocce Club of Gresham Oregon hosted their Gresham Ford Mixed Double Championships. The tourney is the league’s favorite, and was held under sunny skies in the 90’s continuing the trend this summer of very warm league evenings and tournament days. This year finalists were truly a family affair with Father & Daughter Paul and Kelly Barasch going undefeated taking first place. Husband and wife, Bob Beyea and Amy Montelone placed 2nd. Third place was Husband and wife team, Mike & Lydia Merrigan.

(left) 1st Place Mixed Doubles – Kelly and Paul Barasch
(right) 2nd Place Mixed Doubles – Amy Montelone and Bob Beyea
(left) 3rd Place Lydia and Mike Merrigan
(right) Lydia and Mike Merrigan vs Mandy and Ben Mititiero (seated)

Junior Volo Players Represent the USA in 2022 World Championships in France

(Article submitted by Benji Tosi)

On October 21-23, Junior Volo players José Serna and Caleb Delabbio of Colorado, proudly represented the USA in Monaco at the Denis Ravera International Challenge in the Under 18 category. For José it was the second consecutive year he was able to participate in this invitational tournament.

He rose to the challenge by making it into the final four in the Precision Throw where he ultimately finished 4th and set the record for any US junior bocce player in international competition with a score of 15 points. For Caleb, it was his first time playing internationally as he and José played in the doubles event.

From Monaco the two players, along with their coach Luciano Vergara, hopped on a bus and rode to Montbrison, France to represent the USA in the Junior World Bocce Championships from October 25th-29th. Again they played in the Under 18 category and for both players it was their first time at the World Bocce Championships.

Even though they had a tough draw in the opening round against the home French team, who ultimately took home the gold medal, the experience was great and they left the tournament feeling inspired to come back to the USA. They are ready to train hard and teach their friends about bocce in order to be even more prepared for next year’s tournament!

Congratulations to José, Caleb, and Luciano!

15th Annual Aldo Della Croce Tournament Results

(Story by Paola Brush)

Friendly Competition at the IABC-STL 

The 15th Annual Aldo Della Croce Tournament was held at the Italia America Bocce Club, St. Louis, November 4-6, 2022. This Tournament was initiated to promote the sport of bocce while incorporating friendly competition among various Bocce Clubs and honoring the first President of the IABC, Aldo Della Croce. Through this Tournament, the IABC is able to further its mission by supporting free youth bocce, at the Grade School and High School levels, free access for individuals with differing abilities through Special School District, and providing a recreational activity for those in Senior Living. A competitive scholarship was implemented in 2017, whereby applicants, children or grandchildren of a member in good standing enrolled in 8th grade, write a self statement in regards to how they demonstrate leadership and teamwork. These two traits were instrumental in the initial formation of the Club and still continues to this day.

Laura Division 1st Place: Sally Drago, Gayle Morris, Susan Zona, & Julie Belfi- Sanna (IABC-St. Louis)
Giampiero Division – 1st Place: Lio Giannotti, Robert Bertoncini, Maurizio Perrelli & Anthony LaBarbera from Highwood, Illinois

It was an exciting weekend of bocce playing, eating, drinking, and visiting the area businesses located “on The Hill”. There were 27 total teams of all men or mixed (men and women), divided into 5 brackets, through a blind draw, in the Giampiero Division. There were 15 teams comprised of all women divided into 3 brackets, through a blind draw, in the Laura Division. The top 2 teams from each bracket advanced to play in the single elimination round on Sunday.

To view the list of all finishers, visit www.stlbocce.com and click on Newsletter-IL GIORNALE (November). The Tournament would not be successful without the many participants, sponsors, volunteers, workers, and the Tournament Director, Robert Della Croce.

SAVE THE DATE: The 16th Annual Aldo Della Croce Bocce Tournament:  November 3-5, 2023. Hope to see many familiar faces and some new faces next year!!! 

2022 Fall Update from Mt. Vernon/Yonkers Bocce Club in New York City

(Story by Joe Quartarone)

Guy DeSantis, who is the president of the USBF East Coast and heads up the Yonkers/Mount Vernon Bocce Club NY, tells me that the 2022/2023 winter bocce league is under way. They have about 60 players who are all members of the USBF. Some members marched in their local Columbus Day Parade and the next week they received several inquiries from interested new players.

For several summers, Guy has run a Bocce league at the Antonio Meucci Sons of Italy Lodge in Westchester, NY. This year the group turned it up a notch with 103 people participating Monday through Thursday nights on the one court at the lodge. As a bonus, 16 Sons of Italy players enjoyed it so much that they joined the Mount Vernon/Yonkers winter league that is only 15 minutes away. A few younger New York guys are being trained this winter by Guy and other players in the club.

They will take their new skills to the Las Vegas National Tournament run by Guy and Frank DeSantis. Jack Bilancia and Mike Pennino provide tremendous help as well with the yearly event that will host (80) 3 person teams in March 2023.


2022 Fall Update from American Bocce Club in Huntington, NY

(article submitted by Joe Quartarone)

Led by Peter Rabito, The American Bocce Club in Huntington, NY (Long Island) runs a summer/fall league each year with approximately 140 USBF members. The winners of the 2022 Platinum Division season are (left to right) Jack Bilancia, Peter Rabito, John Samaritano, Guy DeSantis and Brad Thayer.

Also in Huntington, the annual American Bocce Club Tournament was in August on the (4) 90’ courts the club calls home. Players from across the greater NYC area play, including USBF many USBF members from clubs in Mount Vernon/Yonkers, Babylon and New Hyde Park.

Brad Thayer, Peter Rabito, Frank Carino and John Samaritano won 1st Place

2nd Place was secured by Andrew Santarsiero, Jeff O’heir, Santo Crocco and Skip Brown

2023 USBF National Championship is Awarded to Highwood Bocce Club

(Press Release from Highwood Bocce Club President, Tom Holleman)

The Highwood Bocce Club is proud to be hosting the USBF National Championships for the fourth time. Our board, players, membership, and city are all looking forward to welcoming our country’s best bocce players and providing them all with a wonderful tournament and experience. Save the dates for the week of June 19-23, 2023.

Planning and preparation has begun and we look forward to building on the success of previous Nationals.

We believe Highwood’s central location and established reputation will attract high participation from all our USBF member Clubs, and we hope to enlist some new Clubs to participate from previously under-represented regions/areas. This paired with an incredibly enthusiastic and talented group of players from Highwood, we believe our overall participation will be greater than ever.

With the new requirement of match time limits, we believe keeping tournament schedules predictable and reasonable for our participants and spectators is an achievable goal this year and are committed to it. We also anticipate being able to provide enhanced online reporting and updates on tournament and match status to individuals following from afar or even participants on site.

Predictable schedules paired with record interest does mean we will have to establish some limits on team entry by Club or region to ensure balanced representation across the country. This will not materially affect most Clubs, and will likely have the most impact to our own Highwood/Chicago teams. We appreciate your understanding and patience as we work through the details of this implementation. Obviously as more details are available we will keep everyone updated.

We look forward to seeing you all in Highwood!