Five locals and Wilton library supporters bedecked in matching neon green Bocce Brawlers shirts compete in annual tournament
The battle for the esteemed title of Branchville Champion Bocce Team raged yesterday, Saturday, October 2 on the site of the Branchville bocce courts located at 59 Willridge Road in Ridgefield. At the helm of the Seventh Annual Branchville Charity Lawn Bocce Tournament was Mitch Ancona, owner of Ancona's Wines and Liquors. "We’re here to have fun, and to support the organizations that we love,” said Ancona.
Representatives from six local charities including Wilton Library, Georgetown Volunteer Fire Department, Ridgefield Volunteer Fire Department, Boys & Girls Club of Ridgefield, Ridgefield Library, and RVNAhealth (“The Vaccinators”) gathered on Mitch Ancona's Bocce Arena at about 9:00 am for pregaming - tailgate style. In addition to many provisions including bubbly, kegs, grills, mascot black lab “Judge”, and an array of food, participants proudly represented their charities by way of personalized tee shirts, capes, swanky red velvet jackets, and decor.
Newish to this Annual tournament, but not to the game of bocce, were members of the Ridgefield 8 who played on behalf of the Boys & Girls Club of Ridgefield. They proved this year that earning the Guinness World Records title for the longest marathon playing bocce team does have its advantages - the boys took down Ridgefield Library breaking their two-year winning streak.
"The motto of this tourney is simply to have fun...and give some money away to some awesome organizations that help make our communities even more wonderful," says Ancona.
Each team engaged in friendly competition for over $3,000 in prize money.
After about 6 hours of play, the final round (once again) found the Ridgefield Library (still bedecked in red velvet jackets) battling it out against the Ridgefield 8, aka, Boys & Girls Club of Ridgefield. After a nail-biting hour, the true upset came when the Ridgefield Library’s winning streak was no more - they fell to the Boys & Girls Club of Ridgefield.
The Boys & Girls Club team brought their "A" game and walked away with top prize, $1,500.00 as well as bragging rights and a handsome trophy.
The Ridgefield Volunteer Fire Department finished in 2nd place earning $750. In 3rd place (and breaking a two-year winning streak) was Ridgefield Library, taking home $500 in prize money. In 4th place and winning $250 for their nonprofit was team Wilton Library.
A coveted award is for "Spirit" and team RVNAhealth has maintained that energy for three straight years for their tailgate cheer and provisions, overall sportsmanship, and of course, Judge, the handsome black lab that calls Gigi Weiss her human.
The Tournament is sponsored by the Branchville Civic Association (BCA). The charitable organization is comprised of three generations of local Branchville families and is best known as the proprietor and caretaker of the Branchville Civic baseball field, which was built by the founding members in 1946.
Bocce is played by throwing a small ball, called a pallino, onto the court. Players then bowl larger balls toward the pallino to see who can get the closest. It can be played in teams, as in the tournament, or one-on-one. The game requires strategy and accuracy but can be enjoyed by players of all ages and athletic abilities.
Ancona explains, “The bocce tournament is a culmination of the traditional Ancona business objective,” said Ancona. “Focus on family, community, and charity – with a good dose of fun."