February 22, 2024

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Light rain early. Partial clearing overnight. Low 61F. Winds NW at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 90%..
Light rain early. Partial clearing overnight. Low 61F. Winds NW at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 90%.
Updated: August 19, 2022 @ 3:40 pm
Tony Bour has developed a table version of the game bocce, complete with everything needed to play the miniature version. He has donated several tables to organizations in the region. Bour will have a bocce table at Riverboat Days this weekend for people to try.

Tony Bour has developed a table version of the game bocce, complete with everything needed to play the miniature version. He has donated several tables to organizations in the region. Bour will have a bocce table at Riverboat Days this weekend for people to try.

A local resident with a love of bocce has developed a tabletop version of the game that can be played and enjoyed by just about anyone.
Tabletop bocce game creator Tony Bour told the Press & Dakotan that though he had played bocce over the years, it always seemed like a long game that lacked structure.
The basic game of lawn bocce begins with a coin toss to see who gets to toss the first ball, which is a small white ball called the “pallina.” Then, each of two teams attempts to bowl their balls closest to the pallina to win the round. Teams can include one, two or four players.
However, in 2011, Bour and his wife, Lorraine, began wintering in a retirement community in Naples, Florida, that had two bocce ball courts.
“The game took on a whole new meaning for me because it then became very structured,” he said. “You’ve got foul lines; you’ve got the center line and you’ve got walls you can play off of.”
Today, the same club has four bocce courts and more than 800 members playing bocce every week, Bour said, adding that, within a 15-mile radius of the club, there are 23 other clubs that play each other weekly during the winter season in what is called “traveling bocce.”
“So, what I got to thinking about is, if you think about shuffleboard, shuffleboard has been played on a court but then it’s also played on a table,” Bour said. “Then, of course, you’ve got tennis, which can be played on a court or in your driveway, but you also have table tennis. You can play that (on a porch) or indoors.”
Many retirement communities have table tennis, and even Yankton’s Mount Marty University (MMU) has table tennis in each of their dormitory activity rooms, he said.
“I got thinking, ‘Why don’t we have table bocce?’” Bour said. “Three years ago, my grandson, Alex Bour, who makes prosthetics and is talented mechanically, and I started making bocce tables.”
Eventually they decided on a design that has metal legs, a chloroplast base covered with artificial turf and finished with edges. There is a reusable score card attached to the table. The setup comes with everything needed to play, including a bag with eight billiard balls, four red and four white, a smaller white golf ball to be used as the pallina as well as a tape measure and a coin to flip.
Currently, the game comes in two sizes, three feet wide by 12 feet long and four feet wide by sixteen feet long, the larger of the two weighing in at about 125 pounds. The game comes on locking swivel casters or with leveling legs for uneven surfaces, and is weather resistant, so it can be played indoors or out, as long as there isn’t much wind. The bocce table design is patent pending.
The Bours have two of the larger bocce tables set up on their porch and have received positive feedback from friends and family about the setup.
“Last year, we had 37 members of our family here, and this was the first time we had tables set up like this,” Bour said, adding the couple also has an outdoor full-size bocce court, and a pool table and shuffleboard inside. “(The family) arrived at 5 p.m., and at 2 a.m., they were still playing table bocce. Nobody wanted to play on the (outdoor) court. Nobody wanted to play shuffleboard. Nobody wanted to play pool. They wanted to play this. Me and my wife said, ‘We’re going to bed.’”
Also, Yankton City Commissioner Mike Villanueva played his mother at tabletop bocce at the Bours’ house, Bour said.
“(Villanueva’s) mom fell in love with the game, and she beat him,” Bour said, noting that there was another reason he wanted to make bocce available as a tabletop game.
Bour had visited the South Dakota Military Heritage Alliance, which in addition to many other uses, houses Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post No. 628 and American Legion Post No. 15.
“They have all these military veterans that have retired and belong to the VFW and/or the American Legion but a lot of them have walkers or canes or are in wheelchairs,” Bour said. “This game is easily played if you’re sitting in a wheelchair because you’re rolling the ball. That was part of my motivation for working on a tabletop concept.”
Bour said he has since donated a table to the Military Heritage Alliance, and The Center in Yankton, and two tables to MMU.
“There are so many kids today, young adults, that aren’t into basketball or football or tennis,” he said. “This gives them something else that they can do and be competitive at. It’s fun for all abilities and all ages.”
Bour will also have a table in the children’s area of Riverboat Days, so anyone interested can experience the tabletop version of the game.
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To contact Bour, visit www.newbocce.com.
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