About us

The idea of a bocce court came from Larry Mello (right) at Goomba’s Italian Restaurant sometime in 2009. Larry, Lloyd Young (center), and Bill Knuedler (left) were sitting around Goomba’s enjoying some Italian-style libations when they decided that having bocce courts somewhere close to the restaurant would be a good idea. People could grab a pizza and play bocce. When it quickly became evident that a court was not really possible in Goomba’s parking area, they started thinking about doing something across the street at Memorial Park.

About this time, they heard that some Italians were thinking about putting together an Italian Festival. It didn’t take long for Larry, Lloyd, and Bill to be working with Steve DeSena, Hank DiPillo, the President and Vice-president of the Nevada County Italian Cultural Foundation (NCICF), and several others, who were planning their first Italian Festival, to see if bocce could be part of the Italian Festival.

The first idea was to hold the festival at Memorial Park in September of 2010. After MANY hours of meetings and planning, it became evident that they were not going to be able to use the park. They needed a Plan B. What were they to do? They had never done anything like this before.

Around May of 2009 someone came up with the idea of using the Nevada County Fair Grounds. After having the first bocce tournament on temporary courts at the Fairgrounds, it became apparent that permanent courts were needed to take advantage of the huge popularity of the fastest growing sport in the country. The NCICF made an agreement with the Western Gateway Park district to build six bocce courts to national and international standards.

Plans for the courts as well as “as built plans” for the county were donated by Richard Eccobacci of Sand Engineer. Bill, Larry, and Lloyd oversaw the construction. Hansen Brothers generously donated over 100 yards of concrete and other materials for the courts. Without this contribution, the courts probably could not have been built. The Mello family and friends contracted much free labor. Local merchants supplied goods and materials at cost.

A loan of $20,000 from the Pauline Crescenzi Family Limited Partnership helped to complete the project to its present state. With the courts now completed, five tournaments have been scheduled along with one instructional session for people who want to learn about bocce. The NCICF’s total donation to the Western Gateway Park to date for the courts is over $42,000. The NCICF feels that the tournaments will bring people here from all over the country. The venue is beautiful and the courts are first class. We expect to have great success!

Download Registration PDF Right Arrow Left Arrow