Barbara Lawlor, Gold Hill. In Gold Hill, the first week in July doesn’t necessarily mean Independence Day. The Gold Hill Annual Bocce Tournament is in the running for the most popular event. The unique sport was brought to the mountains after a group of residents took a trip to Italy in 2000. Since then it has grown to include its own playing court which is available to residents throughout the year.
This year’s event organizer, Bear Carlson, as well as a bunch of Bocce aficionados, have kept the spirit alive. Although many of the names have changed, and many remain the same, the spirit of Bocce lives on in Gold Hill.
From the moment Memorial Day ends, the locals focus on the annual bocce tournament, which was held on Saturday, July 2, 2016 and began at 8:00a.m. The games went on all day, with 16 teams in the competition all sticking around, with their own cheering teams, to see how it all fell out by the end of the day. Neighbors enjoyed a pot luck brunch, and lunch and snacks in between. About 50 people were in and out, checking on the results.
This year’s winners were Tom Huth and Bear Carlson. Runners up were Ben and Dustin Geesaman. Most of the players have been in the running for the past decade. Once the tournament was over, people could start preparations for the pancake breakfast and parade on the Fourth, which had one of the largest turnouts in history, as mountain firefighters brought out their equipment, equestrians brought out their horses and the young at heart brought their squirt guns. Which were welcomed.