The Weed Carnevale Bocce Ball Tourney drew 104 enthusiasts to Bel Air Park’s bocce lanes for a three-day competition that ended with a rainstorm puddling up the court as the women’s championship game ended.
Bryce and Ken Mallory repeated their 2018 win by besting Josh Oates and Bobby Bowman 15-10 in the Sunday finals. Ken Mallory also won the title in 2016 with partner Chris Rizzo. Gary Groppi and Mike Recci finished third.
As the match ended, Josh Oates bemoaned his fifth runner-up finish, but his disappointment was softened by the $100 prize he and Bowman received. The Mallorys took home the $200 top prize.
Debbie Moser and Veronica Rivera defeated Annette James and Christy McKinnis  15-7 for the women’s title in what was likely the strangest championship match in tourney history.
Rain began halfway through the contest, and by the finish the players were soaked and rolling the ball through puddles. The cloudburst ended plans for a men champs versus women winners challenge for bragging rights in the vibrant Weed bocce ball community. Jodi Dawson and Jamie Faria finished third and stayed dry.
The youngsters had better weather for their Friday championship matches, where Aidan Acquistapace and Natalie Grafton defended the 12-18 title they won last year, but it wasn’t easy.
They entered the finals undefeated but lost their first match to Aden Rivera and Phoenix Marshall, who came up through the loser’s bracket and needed to defeat Natalie and Aidan twice to take the title.
Grafton and Acquistapace came back strong to take the title match 15-5, with Natalie kissing her green ball to the pallino for the final points. (The pallino is the white ball thrown down the court that the players score points by rolling their red or green bocce balls closest to.)
The girls beat the boys in the 7-11 year-old competition. The team of Riley Dawson, Marianne Tafoya, Mia Briggs, and Brianna Davis topped Jackson Keen, Braeden Cordes, Maysan Aquila, and Liam Masson for the title.
Ronda Gubetta and Kim Greene ably ran the tournament this year with help from numerous volunteers including Greene’s fellow city councilman Bob Hall.
For the bocce ball curious, Weed Park and Rec makes bocce balls available to Bel Air Park users on weekdays during the summer.