Vigilucci’s Beach Bocce World Championship has a 31-year history that is bridging generations together. Back Row (Left to Right): John Manson, Ryan Grant, Tim Grant, Scott Arendsen, Zach Jones, Mikki Bettis. Front Row (Left to Right): Madison Bettis Jones, Gene Carranza, John Arendsen, Chad Arendsen, Amber Arendsen, Rose Arendsen. Courtesy photo
Community Commentary

Tournament’s longevity bridges generations

Special for The Coast News 

DEL MAR — On July 7, Vigilucci’s Beach Bocce World Championship XXXII will be held on Dog Beach in Del Mar.

And there are so many positive things connected to this championship through its 31-year history. The main one, of course, is the $732,000 that has been raised for our local kids. From 1981 to 2005 the main beneficiary was the Boys & Girls Clubs of San Dieguito and since 2006 to the present it has been the Boys & Girls Clubs of Carlsbad.

Another extremely positive benefit, which has come from the longevity of the tournament, is a generational involvement. Tournament Director John Manson of Encinitas, who is one of the founders, is a perfect example of this generational factor.

When it started back in 1981, neither of his two daughters, Brittany Gwin, 29 and Michelle White, 27, were even born. When they got old enough they started to play or volunteer to help their dad run it. And for the last six years, Brittany’s husband, John Gwin, 34, has been one of the key volunteers.

As Manson says, “The tournament’s success is made up of hundreds of ordinary efforts by many that often go unnoticed. The younger generation is beginning to see the magic in those efforts and is starting to become part of them.”

Manson even foresees a day when there will be a third generation of his playing and or volunteering.

All three of his young grandsons now come to the championship.

Others with a generational involvement are; John Arendsen of Leucadia, Maddie Jones of Carlsbad, Ryan Grant of Carlsbad, Gary Barker of Vista and Gene Carranza of Escondido. Arendsen has been playing in the championship since ’85 and now has both his son’s, Chad of Solana Beach and Scott of Leucadia playing in it. Plus Chad’s wife Amber and her sister Alexis Clements of Oceanside also now play in the Women’s Open Division.

Like the Manson daughters, Maddie Jones, 25, whose late father, Carl “Mr. Bocce” Bettis, was also one of the founders and is considered the Father of the tournament, the championship has always existed. For the last 6 years Jones has been one of the volunteers working the Main Scoreboard Stage.

Also, her husband Zach Jones, 26, is now helping run the championship. Maddie says it best, “After my father’s passing, becoming involved was important to me. I wanted to carry on the tradition of Mr. Bocce. This tournament has always been a part of my life and always will be.”

Gene Carranza has his daughters Lia Carranza, 29, and Kara Vedenoff, 26, playing. This will be the third year Barker will play in the Men’s Open Division with his son-in-law, Shez Sirimanne, 34, of Vista.

And for Ryan Grant the generational role is reversed. He got his father, Tim, involved.

The first generation, like Manson, Arendsen and Carranza are happy that the second generation has embraced the tournament and is now playing or volunteering.

But they are thrilled that the next generation, through the tournament, has learned how important it is to get involved with something that helps the community.

And that is the main purpose of Vigilucci’s Beach Bocce World Championship and has been for 31 years now! For more information on the championship visit