Next 10 Turbo Bocce Memories

For our 10 year anniversary I did a list of our top 10 memories. Its not quite our 20th anniversary yet but after taking a year off it feels like a reminder of who we are is necessary, so I’m jumping the gun and doing a Next 10 Turbo Bocce Memories!  Keep checking this page, I will update it with another memory every day for the next 10 days!

Number 10: When we were became official Sam Adam’s taste testers!

We’ve had many sponsors provide us with free beer or liquor over the years … Sam Adams, LaBatt, PBR, Coors, 315 Brewery, Old Home Distillers, Full Boar Brewery, Lock 1 Distilling, Young Lion Brewery, Buried Acorn Brewery, Naked Dove Brewery … and that’s just what I can remember off the top of my head!

I’ve really enjoyed sampling the wide variety of free beer we’ve been gifted, but the most fun sponsorship agreement had to be the one we did with Sam Adams.  They brew a LOT of beer.  Over 60 different varieties that they actually sell, and an untold number of additional beers that don’t make the cut.  When a new type of beer is conceived they use taste testers to decide if that beer is good enough to make it to stores … and one year the entire Turbo Bocce league was enlisted!

They sent us 3 cases a week of mystery beer in black and white packaging covered with question marks, and I bought a beer review journal everyone could write their opinions of the beers they tried in.  At the end of the season I delivered the full book to TJ Sheehan (a local distributor who sponsored us with 6 free cases a week because one of our players worked for them, and who was responsible for hooking us up as taste testers) who then delivered it to Sam Adams.

So is Turbo Bocce responsible for your favorite Sam Adams flavor?  Nobody will ever know, but we sure had fun gathering data!

But if anybody asks you … yes, we are definitely responsible for all of Sam Adams best beers and none of their worst beers.


Number 9: Closing major Downtown streets just for bocce!

One day Hotel Syracuse decided they wanted to become THE tailgating destination for SU football … this decision lead to them filling out permits to close down Warren St. just so they could include bocce in the festivities.  I’m serious!

They had space outside the hotel to serve drinks and space across the street to set up a stage with music, but they wanted to create the best tailgating spot ever, and that means bocce.  It also meant buying 50 feet of artificial turf, PCV pipe for a border, and  storing it all in the Hotel Syracuse Parking Garage the next block over (in addition to all the permits).

Carrying the turf was back breaking work but the tailgates were fun enough to be worth it.  Sometimes we were able to hitch a ride on a bar bicycle, those were the best days.

Maybe you remember SU’s big upset of #1 ranked Clemson in 2017?  Well, it just so happens that seven thousand Clemson fans were staying at Hotel Syracuse at the time and I played bocce with a large percentage of them.  I was expecting the birth of my daughter any day (maybe even any moment) and many of the Clemson fans bought me free drinks as a congratulations.  After the game I returned the favor by buying them sympathy drinks.  Best money I ever spent!

The pictures of Warren St. being closed down for bocce are some of my favorites ever!

This looks like a bunch of SU fans, but its actually SU fans schooling Clemson fans in bocce right before our football team showed their football team who is boss.


Number 8: The Turbo Bocce Spring Gala

The seeds for the Spring Gala were planted the first year we moved to Sharkey’s.  For the first time in our history we had access to outlets with power, and I wanted to make the most of that, so I found a local DJ to sponsor us.  Jimmy Del Fuoco came every Tuesday and made bocce really fun, in exchange for free drinks and advertising his business, he even played some of our weddings.  But as great as that set up was, it wasn’t sustainable, we needed equipment to DJ for ourselves.

Thus the Turbo Bocce Spring Gala was born!  The idea was to have a big party in a beautiful ballroom with  bocce highlights playing on a movie screen up on stage, live Music, great food, the whole 9 yards – and we would use the money raised from that event to buy sound equipment for the bocce field.  Pretty standard fundraiser stuff, just a little nicer than is usually done.  What upped the difficulty on this event was my determination to make all the drinks and all the food free for every bocce player.

This is how I pulled it off … I talked to lots of local business owners and eventually got 10 sponsors (food vendors who wanted to give free samples were my #1 target).  Each of those vendors got to table at our event and spread the word about their business and this would also be free of charge to them (because you know Turbo Bocce supports local business!).  The only “cost” to becoming a sponsor was to find 10 people willing pay to attend the party.  Those 100 paying guests gave us enough money to rent the hall, buy beer and food for everyone, hire a band, a photographer, and have enough left over to buy a sound system for bocce!  I’m really good at stretching a dollar!  I also invited the Syracuse Silver Knights dance squad to come and run a raffle, the proceeds of which went to local charities, so we even supported charity as well.

The night went great, the food was excellent.  The beer, liquor and wine was consumed liberally.  We had local band The Mix Tapes who I can’t recommend strongly enough if you need a band for your event!  Everyone had a great time, the people who paid got their money worth, everyone in the bocce league got a night out of free food and drinks, and we got our sound system!

Also learned the valuable lesson that trying to plan an event of that size solo is a really bad idea and will damn near kill you, which is a lesson I have taken to heart from that day on.

Check in tomorrow to see #7!