Petanque Club hosts national championships

Posted on May 14, 2013 by Sonoma Valley Sun

The Valley of the Moon Petanque Club, a 28 year-old organization that has maintained courts off the Sonoma Plaza for 25 years will host the U.S. Petanque Federation’s national men’s, women’s and mixed doubles championships May 17-19.

A total of 175 petanque players from around the country, some coming from as far away as Maine, New York and Florida, will gather for competition that features doubles teams of men and women playing the century-old sport of petanque.

This is the first time in 10 years that the Valley of the Moon Petanque Club, based in Sonoma with 112 members, has hosted a national competition.

Photo of VOMPC member Doug Colleton, top, by by Alain Efron/La Foudre Productions

“This is the largest, most prestigious competition in the country,” said Shannon Bowman, the VOMPC president. “We were really proud to get it. There are some great players coming.”

Invented in Southern France more than 100 years ago, petanque is a game played with metal balls (boules) that involves strategically rolling the balls closer to the target ball (cochonnet), or knocking the opponent’s balls out. More aggressive than Italian bocce petanque is enjoyed by a growing number of aficionados, particularly on the West Coast and in Florida.

Bowman said there are about 1,800 players registered with the Federation of Petanque U.S.A. and many of them play for clubs in Sonoma, Petaluma, Napa, Marin, Willits and Fort Bragg.

All competition takes place at the 30 refurbished petanque courts, located between the Mission on the Sonoma Plaza and Depot Park.

On Friday, May 17, players from around the country will be on hand to participate in warm-up events from Noon to 5 p.m. On Saturday, May 18, competition in the mixed doubles event gets underway, with a tournament from 9 to about 6:30 p.m.

On Sunday, May 19, a total of 60 teams will participate in separate men’s doubles and women’s doubles events from 9 to 6:30 p.m. There is no admission charge to watch the competition.