There is no doubt that there has never been a petanque contest of this high a level in the history of petanque in the USA.
With less then twelve days to go the preparations around the First Amelia Island Petanque America Open are in full swing. The latest sign-ups for this international tournament, that will be held at the Marina Boat Trailer Parking lot in Downtown Fernandina Beach, are Canadian Champions Mario Latour and Alain Brunette who entered as a team. Almost 200 competitors are listed from 20 states, Europe and Canada.
We also learned that famous celebrity chef Jacques Pepin, an avid player himself, has offered to do a book signing during the event. Also competing will be the 2000 world champion and 2009 European champion, Claudy Weibel. Other petanque Champions competing on Amelia Island will be Xavier Thibaud and Jean-Pierre Subrenat who won the New York open four weeks ago and are now the Canadian champions.
This first tournament on Amelia Island, Petanque America’s new home, has drawn a fabulous number of worldclass players, which is undoubtedly a tribute to Philippe Boets popularity in the petanque community. Almost 200 players flying in from all over is remarkable for a first time event here on our little island.
Competition will be fierce for the $5,000 purse and downtown Fernandina Beach is gearing up to welcome the players beginning Thursday, November 12th. There is no doubt that there has never been a petanque contest of this high a level in the history of petanque in the USA.
The organizers are especially happy to see that some forty women players have signed up for the tournament as well, from famed Erin McTaggart who’s arriving from Sonoma, CA, to Isabelle Rakotoarvielo, flying in from Madagascar in the Indian Ocean; now that’s commitment.
Some have played the game all their life, like Gisele Lich from Hopewell, VA, and Josse Krauer from San Francisco, who both grew up in France. Then there are others such as Shirley Jones from Lexington, NC, or Nancy Banks from Tallahassee, FL, who picked up the game in recent years and are rapidly turning into experts who can make “life” challenging for anyone on the courts.
Petanque America invites everyone to come and have a taste of the Provence and the French Riviera on our little island. To emphasize how easy going yet fascinatingly precise this beautiful game is played, World Champion Claudy Weibel has even offered to do some demonstrations on Thursday and Friday. If anyone wants to play him, let us know. We’ll buy you a drink for every point you can score against him.