Saturday, September 16, 2023 in Glidden Park
Registration begins at 9 AM, tournament begins at 9:50 AM for bracket setup. Tournament play begins at 10 AM. Guaranteed 2 games.
Bring your own bocces.
Food and refreshments on site.
People spell it boccie, bocci, or bocce, depending on which part of the state they’re from. Around these parts, it’s spelled bocce.
Bocce is a sport closely related to ancient games played in the Roman Empire that developed into its present form in Italy. The Italians have played bocce for centuries and it’s one of the oldest games known to mankind.
The size of the bocce is 3 ½” to 5”. The boccino is about 2 ½”. No lead-filled or metal ball is allowed in a tournament. In Italy, they play in a court, here in Collinsville, we play cross country.
The first bocce ball tournament held in the United States occurred in Springfield, IL in August 1939. The first Collinsville Italian Fest was organized by Joe Ashmann and held on Columbus Day, October 1984. That year, the bocce tournament was held where the Collinsville Memorial Library parking lot stands today. The teams competing for a first and second place got caught in a thunderstorm but continued to play. It turned cold that October and everyone was on the porch of Ciuferi’s Funeral Home. Joe Ashmann brought a big pot of chili down, which went over well.
The tournament was held there for two years. In the third year, the tournament moved to the Jung Brothers Pontiac lot. Rain delayed the tournament the fourth year, but it was held the following week at the American Legion. The tournament then moved to the high-rise home on Aurora Street, until the tournament outgrew that site and was relocated to Woodland Park for a couple of years. The games finally ended up in Glidden Park, where they are still held today.
The winner of the coin toss throws the Boccino (small ball) within 20-30 yards (60-90 feet).
If the ball does not reach 20 yards or goes past 30 yards, the Boccino is thrown again.
If this happens a second time in a row, the Boccino goes to the other team.
You are allowed two steps in any direction from where the Boccino was thrown.
The first team to 12 wins!