Ice Bocce in Longville originated on a small pond many years ago in South Haven by Jeff and Judy Laudenbach. Craig and Amy Johnson, having experienced the “World’s Greatest Wonder On Ice,” introduced it to Longville in 2005 and it has been a Chamber-sponsored event ever since.

Bocce proves to be a grueling test of strength, agility and mental quickness! While most of that is not really true, the game is a combination of Curling, Bocce Ball and Bowling — to give you an idea of the sport.

The 14th annual Ice Bocce Tournament is Feb. 2 on Girl Lake in front of Patrick’s Restaurant. The competition is limited to 64 teams. The entry fee is $40 and the registration form is available on the Longville Chamber website at www.longville.com or call Craig Johnson at (218) 363-2950.

Cash prizes are awarded for first, second, third and fourth place, with a trophy presented to the champions. There are also cash prizes for best team name and best dressed.

Teams are four-person co-ed — two men and two women. Lanes are plowed on the ice approximately 6 feet wide by 50 feet long. “Guesstimation” is key to the unique nature of the game and making sure there is always something new to experience.

Then there is the marker, which is called the pick, that is kicked down the lane to start the game. Teams then slide round 12- to 20-inch sawed logs with handles, much as you would a curling stone, attempting to be the closest to the pick. Points are scored just as you would in Bocce Ball, with one point for every puck closer than the other team’s closest.

A match consists of six ends (three times down and back) with the victor moving on in the competition. Knee pads and warm, bulky clothing are really a plus and saves on the “day after” Bocce bruises!

Weather conditions have ranged from +40 to -30 degrees, but no matter the temperature, everyone has a ball and can’t wait for the next year.

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