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! 

8th Annual Tom Gialde Memorial Bocce Tournament

(Article submitted by John Liberto)

The 8th Annual Tom Gialde Memorial Bocce Tournament benefiting Boy Scouts of America Troop 80 was held at the American Sons of Columbus on August 12-14, 2022 in Kansas City, MO. The tournament field included 24 Men’s and Women’s teams boasting players from Columbia (MO), St. Louis, Herrin (IL), Murphysboro (IL) and Dallas (TX). The tournament format began with round-robin play followed by a double-elimination knockout round. On Friday evening, players competed in a “Closest to the Pallino” contest where they had to roll their ball closest to the pallino located on the red dot, without touching. Kansas City player Chris Cardello won the event with a distance of ¼ inch.  

On Saturday, players were treated to a KC Style BBQ Dinner after round robin play. Tournament Director John Liberto presented Troop 80 Scout Master Sam Valenti with a donation to assist with essential Troop functions. All scouts in Troop 80 live under the poverty line, and the American Sons of Columbus proudly supports Sam’s mission to provide a high-quality experience to the youth he serves. Contributions from the Gialde bocce tournaments to Troop 80 nears $20,000. On Sunday, play resumed with the knockout round.

The winners of the Ladies division were Team Playmates from St. Louis: Paola Della Croce, Susan Zona, Julie Belfi-Sanna, Gayle Morris

 The winners of the Men’s Division were Team Volorama from St. Louis: Rich Robertson, John Denando, Joe Grippi, David R. Zona

Thank you to the players and sponsors that make this tournament successful. We look forward to seeing you at the 9th Annual Tom Gialde Memorial Bocce Tournament in Kansas City, MO on August 11-13, 2023!

Western Sector 2022 National Tournament Results

(Article submitted by Alan Knox)

Approximately 20 competitors from the USFB Western Sector traveled to the Boston area to participate in the 2022 National Tournament held in Methuen’s excellent Sons of Italy Bocce facility. Under normal conditions we would post award winners’ pictures from the post tournament banquet. However this was the year of Covid, with several players testing positive on final day of competition and missing banquet. It was disappointing to miss the banquet for many reasons but most importantly to say goodbye to our gracious host and to all our friends, we hope to see next year in Chicago.  

The Western Sector medal winners sponsored by Campo di Bocce in Los Gatos, CA.

From left to right: Ken Gorny, Bronze in PRV Doubles, Gold in Open, Giovanni Napoli, Gold in Open, Bronze in Mixed Doubles, and Bronze in PRV Doubles. Alan Knox, Gold in Open and Gold in PRV Doubles. Paolo Pro, Gold in Open, Gold in Mixed Doubles and Gold in PRV. 
Joanne Lopez, Bronze in Mixed PRV Doubles and Bronze in PRV Singles. Giovanni Napoli, see above. 
Above: Alan Knox and Paolo Pro. Little did we know, the men’s PRV Doubles was a qualifying event for the Pan American Games in Uruguay, this November. Our partners in the tournament are Gordon Gruenes and Jorge Moreno. Also qualifying but unable to attend is Danko Dykyi. All three players are from the Highwood Bocce Club in Chicago area. Not sponsored by Campo di Bocce, but also representing the Western Sector:  Emi Fuji, Gold Medal Precision Shooting; Margaret Shindelus, Bronze Medal Women’s Singles PRV.

Additional Western Sector players making the trip include: Cynthia Dzendzel, Ursula Hansen, Collen Randazzo, Lisa Watson, Tony Randazzo, Jean Godin, Michael Mathis, Dario Bernardi, and Natalina Bernardi.