By John Chalmers on the April 2020 Edition
The fourth annual Bocce on the Beach tournament, held on February 20, 2020, showed again the growing popularity of the game in the Manzanillo area. Staged on the beach in front of the Oasis Ocean Club Restaurant in the Santiago district, it was a fine day for players, as well as supporters, who enjoyed food and drink, both in the restaurant and under the big sombrillas on the beach. Starting with 40 teams of two players four years ago, this year’s proposed limit of 56 teams was extended to 64. The competition is the sole fundraiser each year for the Friends of Mexican Animal Welfare (FOMAW).
Besides 128 players present for the tournament, a large crowd of friends and spectators kept the serving staff of the restaurant on the run from 9:00 a.m. when the first ball was tossed, until awards were given out after 4:00 p.m.
Over $25,000 USD was raised for the operations of FOMAW, which funds two major projects. Alianza Animal is a low-cost sterilization clinic, and Animal Angels, founded in 2015 by Fred and Laurie Taylor, is an outreach project rescuing dogs and cats from the street. Revenue from the tournament was derived from the 600 pesos entry fee per team, a silent auction, a 50/50 raffle, tickets to draw for a well stocked booze basket, and donations from sponsors. A 100-peso donation gave folks a bidding number for the silent auction and entitled them to order 2-for-1 drinks all day.
In addition to offering spay and neuter services, Alianza provides treatment by veterinarians of Transmissible Venereal Tumors, a sexually transmitted cancer in dogs. The Animal Angels program offers sterilization of street animals for owners who could not afford the service, as well as financial support for animals in need of medical care and treatment.
Volunteers for FOMAW marked out the 10 bocce courts on the sand, set up the silent auction, sold tickets and ensured that all games started on time. T-shirts and tank tops designed for the occasion were worn by many of the teams and again a Goofy Hat Contest inspired originality in headgear.
Prizes were offered for the top four teams. First prize of a five-course dinner for six, with drinks, was donated by the Oasis Beach Club. It went to brothers Bruce and Bob Stevens of team We The North, who were second place winners in 2019 and previously earned first place in 2018. Tournament organizer, Fred Taylor, with partner Darcy Myer, in the deBOCCEery team, came in second, receiving a 1,500 peso gift certificate for dinner at Pacifica del Mar restaurant.
Gift certificates from Wings Army went to the third-place team, the LaBelles, Jacques and Denise LaBelle. Shelley Reid and Kim Nelson, playing as team We’re Something Else, were awarded gift certificates from Monkey’s Chicken for a fourth place finish.
Fred’s wife, Laurie Taylor, headed up the silent auction, and states that, “This year the auction was bigger and better than ever, with over 85 items up for bidding. All items were donated by local businesses and individuals, with their generosity raising almost $9,000 USD.”
Auction items included stays at luxury resorts, dinners to enjoy at popular Manzanillo restaurants, personal services, wine and liquor hampers, unique Mexican handicraft items and valuable art. All items for auction were donated. To obtain cash donations from sponsors, Marge Tyler served as sponsorship coordinator.
Announcer Randy Dean was on the microphone all day, doing his usual fine job of announcements and playing music that appealed to the crowd. When Gill Gould received 11,700 pesos as winner of the 50/50 raffle, she immediately gave back 10,000 pesos to FOMAW.
Benny McCormick went home with the well-stocked booze basket as the lucky winner of that raffle.
Overall, the bocce tournament was again another total success and funds raised ensure continued operation of worthwhile efforts in the Manzanillo area and beyond. “In addition to the sterilization and outreach programs of FOMAW and Alianza Animal,” says Fred Taylor, “our work has provided training to over 60 Mexican veterinarians involved in government spay/neuter programs from 10 different states and to veterinarians from six different Latin American countries.”
The Manzanillo Sun is pleased to support the efforts of the en-tire bocce tournament team and the good work of Friends of Mexican Animal Welfare.
To learn more about FOMAW and its programs for sterilization of dogs and cats, street outreach to provide care for strays and pets, and veterinary surgical courses, visit its web site at www.fomaw.org.