Bocce fun fills Dog Beach

Bocce fun fills Dog Beach
Ren Bowden and Todd Yarbrough, from team Bocce Ball and Oates, and The Riddler and Joker, aka Wyatt Buttrose and Grady Moore, take time out for a photo opp. Photo by Bianca Kaplanek

DEL MAR — There was no shortage of crazy costumes, teams with names mostly not fit for print and people having what seemed liked too much fun while raising money for a good cause during the 35th Vigilucci’s Beach Bocce World Championship, held July 11 at Dog Beach.

The once-again sold-out event took in about $100,000, bringing the total amount raised since the first tournament in 1981 to more than $1 million.

Participants came from as far away as New York to compete. Some were first-timers while others had lost count of the number of tournaments they attended.

More than 400 two-person teams played nearly 1,000 games on about 80 courts in a round-robin format with four divisions — men’s open, men’s intermediate, women and mixed.

This year’s winners are:

Men’s Open

1st Place — 6747-DP

David Dale and Tevya Weinthal, Solana Beach

2nd Place Hopin’ For Luck

Brian Munce and Brian Parker, Solana Beach

Men’s Intermediate

1st Place — Blonde Bombers

Chad Beville and Brendan Foote , Del Mar

2nd Place — Original Fughettabocce

Darrell Carpenter and Steve Persi, Scottsdale, Arizona

Women’s Division

1st Place — Two Can Play This Game

Brandi Mathews and Amy Mensch, Foothill Ranch

2nd Place — Leave It To Beavers

Kim Morgan and Cheryl Zavalani, Encinitas

Mixed Division

1st Place — Old Balls and No Balls

Craig Anderson and Jackie Leahy, New York

2nd Place — La Bocce Vita

David and Tina Thomas, Del Mar


When the tournament began, 54 teams competed to raise about $500 for the Del Mar Lifeguard Association.

Lifeguards still receive a portion of the proceeds, but the major beneficiary became the Boys & Girls Clubs of San Dieguito for the first 25 years and the Carlsbad chapter after that.

Carl Bettis, John Manson, Pete Peters, Del Pifer, John Leslie and Bob O’Keefe started the event to pass time on the beach.

“We used to go down to the beach all the time in Del Mar,” Peters said a few years ago. “There was a group of guys who came down every year before the track opened and they’d be playing this game called bocce ball. We kind of got intrigued with it.”

“So we started playing bocce ball with these guys because it was a fun, competitive thing to do on the beach,” Pifer said.

When the tournament started, the founders wanted to include the guys who introduced them to the game. Since they were primarily in town for the races, the event is almost always held the weekend before opening day at the Del Mar Racetrack.

In addition to the games the event also included an online and silent auction and burgers and sausage and peppers from title sponsor Roberto Vigilucci.


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