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'The French Game' played in Westmoreland Park had a very good year in 2019; here's the story

DAVID F. ASHTON - Ready to start another round of pétanque matches at Septembers Rose City Open, by sounding a gong, was Tournament Director David Galiel. The sixth annual Portland Pétanque Club-sponsored 'Rose City Open' was perhaps their largest ever, with 52 doubles teams – a total of 104 players competing over two days, starting on Saturday, September 14.

"We've reconfigured our playing terrains, giving us 26 active courts this year here, at our Westmoreland Park club," pointed out Portland Pétanque Club President Steve Walker.

Competitors were men and women of all ages, who were scoring points by having their boules – hand-size steel balls – land closer to a cochonnet (the small target ball) than their opponents' boules.

"This year, we were happy to welcome world pétanque champions from France," Walker smiled. "In fact, we had a number of former world champions playing, as well as participants from Sweden, France, Switzerland, Mexico, and from throughout the United States."

Saturday the 14th of September had perfect weather for tournament play, Walker commented. But, the games continued on Sunday, September 15, in the pouring rain! "The difference in playing in the rain? We get wet," Walker explained with a sly smile. "But, being here in Oregon, and playing all year long, we're used to playing in the rain. But if we get so much rain that our target floats, then it's a little more difficult to measure who is closest to the cochonnet!"

The tournament is a boon to local hospitality businesses, Walker remarked – to those who supply food and beverages to the games, and to local restaurants as well.

"The best part about this is there is a lot of camaraderie," Walker said. "Even the big-time famous competitive players are happy to help people learn, by sharing pointers and tips. It's very competitive, but it is friendly competition."

People of all ages are welcome to come every Wednesday and Sunday to watch these games – and also to learn to play, using borrowed boules, with no obligation to buy any gear, or to join their club, at the north end of Westmoreland Park.

"The game can be learned in minutes; but mastering it takes a lifetime of play," Walker said.

To find out more, go online – www.pdxpetanque.org


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