The 2nd annual Italian Festivals of New Mexico bocce tournament – a huge success!

May 01, 2015 899

Especially for first place winners, Nathaniel Pittman and teammate John Wright who walked away with $300 prize money. (Bravo, Ragazzi!) Fourteen teams took to the courts at Haynes Park in Rio Rancho on April 18 and 19 and gave each other a run for the money.

Some were new players who practiced hard for weeks before. Others were veterans of the game. Some were "locals" from Rio Rancho and Albuquerque. Others came from as far away as Las Cruces and Santa Fe. There was even a player from Rome, here to study at UNM, who partnered with last year's tournament champ and proved tough to beat.

Play was at a high level and the scene often resembled a golf tournament with spectator hush before a shot, followed by shouts and a round of applause.

Among the spectators was Honorary Italian Vice Consul Rosalba Maniaci who was instrumental in having the two courts built by the city of Rio Rancho in 2010. Italian Festivals of New Mexico is the nonprofit organization that produces the annual NM Italian Film & Culture Festival. Its mission, to raise awareness of Italian culture in New Mexico, includes the promotion of the centuries-old game of bocce, brought to the US by Italian immigrants at the turn of the 20th century.

It's now a trendy social sport in this country with its own national federation (United States Bocce Federation) and hundreds of clubs, leagues and tournaments in every state. Thanks to the IFNM Bocce Committee for a well-planned, well-organized and fun two-day tournament. Special thanks to Saverio Bellomo who orchestrated and managed both officiating and play.

Source: Italy in New Mexico

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