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Beach bocce ball players, many in costume, play in the Beach Bocce World Championship to raise money for the Carlsbad Boys & Girls Club on Saturday, July 14 in Del Mar. Photo by Shana Thompson
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Beach bocce showcases sport, costumes

DEL MAR — From Lone Star to Col. Sanders and matching pairs to other bright and colorful costumes, nearly 1,000 people took to Dog Beach for the annual Vigilucci’s Beach Bocce Ball World Championship.

The annual event, which was held on July 14 this year, is a fundraiser for the Boys & Girls Club of Carlsbad. It raises more than $100,000 for the club, which serves the youth of Carlsbad and includes after-school programing.

This year, the tournament raised more than $130,000 and featured 454, two-person teams on 92 courts.

For the past three years, though, one group of friends has stood above the rest. Spearheaded by Cristina Romero and Tawnee Moore, their matrimonial counterparts, Wyatt Buttrose and Grady Moore, said they are the driving force behind a dynasty, of sorts.

The group develops a theme each year and takes the costume contest more serious than the bocce players. As Buttrose, put it, “we go to a costume contest and a beach bocce ball tournament breaks out.”

This year, the group dressed as the cast of “Spaceballs,” the 1980s classic comedy spoof on “Star Wars” and “Star Trek” directed by Mel Brooks. Of course, Lone Star, Princess Vespa, Barf, Dot, Dark Helmet and Col. Sanders were in attendance, as were Buttress and Grady Moore, who dressed as two (expletives).

Photo by Shana Thompson

Naturally, other participants lobbed quotes from the movie and the friends walked around as pseudo-celebrities. In addition, Buttress and Moore finally made it through the bocce tournament’s round robin, a first.

“We love having our own theme,” Buttress said. “The proceeds are great, but we also love meeting people.”

“I like that’s it’s an event, everyone is drinking and there are no problems,” Moore added. “Just go have some fun.”

As for the tournament, some familiar faces ended up on top of their brackets. In the men’s open division, Rod Becker and Kevin Pugh of the SandBallers took the crown and their third title in five years, while 6747 DP of Dave Dale and Tevya Weinthall placed second.

In the women’s division, 2 Dragons — Kristen Bailey and Amy Dale — took first followed by Team Joyin of Julie Hicks and Heather Reynolds. The mixed division champs Hoosier Bronco, consisting of Jeff Jardine and Annie Cunningham took home their second title, the first in 2009. In second were Greg and Mary Fall.

And in the intermediate division, Mike Avina and Homer Roberts of Moon and Mussy of placed first followed by Ricardo Murillo and Tony Lopez of Beer Me.

Pat Maldi, the club’s events and communications consultant, said it was the largest ever turnout.

“It was such an easy event,” Maldi said as a nod to the civility of the attendees. “It went really well.”