The state of Florida will have another grudge match as several of the top N Miami amateur players will invade Tampa Bay for weekend of great action – in less than 11 days from now – June 10-11. The event is being organized by Belota.
It’s hard to believe, but the same event was held 46 weeks ago on July 30-August 1st.
All players are welcome to sign up to play on Saturday, June10th. The event starts at 10am. If you would like to sign up, contact me via text or email and the names will be turned over to Belota for the scheduling. Sunday’s event will be invitational only to play, with the top players from both area’s competing against each other.
There will no admission fees, prizes, trophies, or food served (sorry pizza lovers!). Just good old fashioned jai-alai.
Among the players confirmed from the N Miamai cancha include Luis Angulo Peter Henry Jose San Juan Rubio and Jesus.
Sunday’s action will also start at 10am. The time frame of the tournament will depend on the number of players that sign up. We anticipate that number to be in the mid-20s to low 30s and players can expect to play in 4-5 games each on Saturday.
When signing up, please confirm if you want front or backcourt, or doesn’t’ matter, but there are no guarantees.
There will be a museum party again that night with live blackjack, beer, booze, and food. The event will start at 6:30pm. Last year’s party had some delicious homemade lasagna. that went down the gobbler very well. Please RSVP for the party (attendance at Puryear Park that day not required).
The JLaca Museum had three special visitors yesterday from the jai-alai world. Ricky Solaun, best known as the player manager of Tampa Jai alai and Miami Jai-alai and a former longtime professional plyer, made his debut to the Museum along with his son Ricardo, Jr. who played in Ft.. Pierce and the Philippines. Joining them was Pelota Press senior bogger Marty Fleischman.
The near two-hour visit did not disappoint.. They were blown away with what they saw and so gad they came. Solaun Sr. will be heading back home to Durango Spain in another week.
Ricky debuted at the Fronton Canarias in the Canary Islands at the age of 18 in 1968 and got his first U.S. contract in 1970 to play in Tampa. He got married to a Tampa girl Marian Fernandez and was ab le to stay in America. He also played in Harford when it first opened, as Marty Fleischman was the announcer of Game 1 on its grand opening night. Our buddy Four Decade Pro Randy, throw out the ser serve ever.
His son played under the name of Solaun II and had a great time in the museum, often playing the Jai-alai pinball machine!
It was great to see them, and discussions were under way for another jai-alai reunion party like we had about 6 years ago with an attempt to the likes of Bolivar to visit.
Dania Jai-alai will be officially extending their season to 3 months for the upcoming season that will start Friday December 1st. Last “season”, the once thought closed fronton opened for a two-month season, running a tournament from the beginning of December till the end of January.
This season will run till Leap Day, February 29, 2024. Player manager Benny Bueno is working on the player roster and format, but it is looking more like a double illumination format.
More details are expected by the end of the month.
February is beginning of the heavy part of the tourist season, especially in the Dania/Ft. Lauderdale area with the cruise ships and all. Our advice is to book plans early if you intend on heading down there for a visit. The hotel rooms are not cheap anymore, including the Motel 6 down the road!
The latest artifact to the museum is a rather unique piece showing the making of the cesta. The piece was originally on display at the Tampa Fronton for decades, and then stored at the Ft. Pierce Fronton since 1998. The half-built cesta clearly shows the unique steps involved of a device that was patented February 6, 1900. Other versions of the cesta had been around for hundreds of years until A.B. Smith, a resident of California, produced a version that is still used today- nearly 125 years later! His “invention relates to the improvements in the hand basket-bat for use in playing fronton”, the patent reads. “In playing the game fronton the ball is caught in therein, thereby giving the player greater control over the ball and also affording a more ready means for projecting the ball”.
The artifact has been placed in the “A” suite of the museum, a section that is devoted to educating visitors the history of jai-alai and how its materials used in the sport are built. It is located in a built-in section of the wall next to the “Making of a Pelota”, which was donated by the great Al Almada
The JLaca museum is open by appointment only. Tours last 1-2 hours.
After 15 years of hosting the National Jai-alai Association, Tampa Bay Jai-alai and Pelota Press sites, we have finally decided to join Facebook.
For starters, this page will only feature the Tampa Bay area – for now. But it will cover several updates on the museum which has added a lot of artifacts over the past two years or so that do not appear on the website as of now. If successful, an international version of the Pelota Press will have its own page on Facebook. The Pelota Press website will continue to operate as it has over the past couple of years.
Matt DiDomizio has another big tournament at his palace that will launch this Friday evening at 6:30pm. The “fronton” is located in Berlin Connecticut and no betting is allowed.
About 25 players have signed up to play, including a group of eight jetting up from the Tampa Bay area. The Spring 2023 event will once again fall on another anniversary of the cancha, an achievement in itself.
There is a big twist to this event – the Friday night Spec 9 performance will feature quinella style Singles action for the first time as opposed to doubles.
There are 6 entries in the early games and 11 entries for the late games. The Matt ball will drop at 6:30pm for Game 1. Guest coming to watch will be asked for a $10 donation to the court on Friday night only.
Saturday’s performance will begin bright and early at 9am. There will be two division of 6 teams in the first division and 9 teams in the second division. It will be Partido play, and Playoffs will be held after each first round. It is estimated that the first group will be on from 9-10:30 am, with the next group about 11am till 12:30pm then the 3rd group around 12:30–2pm. Then the playoffs.
On the final day of action, Sunday, April 30th, it will strictly be Partido’s – up to 21 points per game. Currently, there are 7 games lined up for that event. Start time is early again – about 9am.
In other words, if your signed up, you will get plenty of playing time.
Here are the sheets for each day – starting with the Friday night:
I’ve been a jai-alai fan since Bridgeport opened in the mid-1970s. The game fascinates. I saw many of the greats as a kid. Little did I realize back in the late 1970s the strength and skill of the Bridgeport lineup. Even though many were at their peak or past their prime, the skill level and action was fantastic.
A buddy and I would like to take a trip to the Basque area, to see where it all began and is still played with enthusiasm, as well as commercial and fan support. We would like to visit several of the frontons, whether in St. Jean de Luz, Biarritz, Gernika for matches. We would also perhaps see some of the variations in pelota (though the traditional “handball” version doesn’t look that exciting.) We could also visit where amateurs compete/develop.
My problem is that I don’t speak or read Spanish/French/Euskara and I don’t understand where/when the matches are held. Seems as if there’s a Partido here and there, mostly in Summer. Some of the sites refer to tournaments, but it’s not clear whether these are held consecutive days or whether there are gaps in between matches. We would like to put together a consistent schedule around which we could plan a “road trip.” If possible, we also prefer to purchase tickets well in advance to ensure entry to matches.
Can you direct me to an authority or source on the subject, who could explain which are the most important tournaments/sites around which we could schedule a week or potentially longer visit?
Thanks in advance,
This is an email I got about a month and a half ago.
I find it interesting because this is a “Bucket List” trip I’ve been thinking about going myself for the past few years. I’ve heard a few others that have mentioned about making a similar trip while out on the cancha over the years, too.
Ironically, I’m at a Yankee spring training game in Tampa that same afternoon with Pelota Press’s senior blogger Marty Fleischman and his wife Sue, a huge Yankee fan. I was also with an old college buddy, Wyatt Cook, from nearly 50 years ago. Wyatt and Marty were discussing Pickleball. I knew they were both avid players and swore by the sport. Marty’s pretty good – a top ranked player in Tampa, so they had a lot to talk about. After a few innings (games go quick now – thank God!) the discussion turned to jai-alai. Marty mentioned he was going to Spain in September and the trip included visiting former players and various sites in the Basque region.
I was thinking, with a little work and all the connections in jai-alai we have, a true dream trip could be planned.
Of course, Partido’s are one thing. Nothing beats a good Partido. You can’t bet on them over there, but who cares. I went to the Partido event last April at Dania, and it was awesome. There was no betting, but it didn’t matter. The play was a thrill to watch with a good enthusiastic crowd watching guys like Olharan trying to overcome an injury after getting nailed in the leg. Partido tournaments in Mexico City are amazing with 30-point games and that long, long court of over 200 feet. And of course, who could forget the numerous Partido’s in Miami, Tampa, Orlando and in Connecticut?
So, any trip would have to include some Partido events. As Pelota Press reader Jeff Russell mentioned, visiting the frontons and places where amateurs develop would be cool to visit, too. I’m sure the sightseeing would be awesome, the mountains, and villages and local restaurants.
How long would the ideal trip take? Where should one stay? These are all good questions.
Anybody out there got any ideas? Get together a big group? Email me with ideas guys! I’ll also get back with Marty and contact guys like Danny and Olharan, who recently visited the museum and certainly can answer all the questions.
Thanks, Mr. Russell, for your email. I’ll be in touch.
The U.S. National Jai-Alai Championship brings the focus of an international sport to the Magic City of Miami, Florida. U.S. bred athletes take the court to fight it out in an epic battle of skill, speed and athletic prowess to dominate The World’s Fastest Game – Jai-Alai.
Singles Champion JAIRO Jairo Baroja
Doubles Champions ARRIETA & GOITIA Inigo Gorostola & Inaki Goitiandia
RULES & REQUIREMENTS
All players must be United States citizens [Photocopy of Passport or Birth Certificate required with Entry Form].
Players must be at least 18 years old.
Players must sign a liability waiver and image release form.
Players must wear an approved helmet.
Video required with Entry Form if player is not known to the Selection Committee.
The Selection Committee has final determination of entrants should the Championship entries exceed the available playing slots.
Practice time will be available.
There will be a 1-minute warm-up before each match.
TOURNAMENT FORMAT & PRIZES
August 11 & 13
Open to amateurs and former professionals who have not played professionally since January 1, 2019 and professionals who are age 50 or older
Amateurs Singles and Doubles Prize Money
1st Place: $1,000
2nd Place: $500
Limited to 32 Singles entries Limited to 14 Doubles teams All matches played to 6 points Finals played to 7 points There will be a Playback bracket in Doubles only
August 12 & 13
Open to current professional players and former professional players who have played professionally since January 1, 2019 and professionals who are under age 50
Professionals Singles Prize Money
1st Place: $7,500
2nd Place: $2,500
Professionals Doubles Prize Money
1st Place: $10,000
2nd Place: $5,000
Limited to 24 Singles entries Limited to 16 Doubles teams All matches played to 7 points Finals played to 9 points There will be a Playback bracket in Doubles only
That was a posting Tiger made on his site February 27th.
“It’s an old saying. Remember that? That’s kind of how I feel these days. Posts (and hits) have dried up”. I don’t have to remind you of what the consequences could be.”
Eleven days before that, he had posted “Where is Everyone?”. “8 posts in the last 4 days???”
Now, well less than two months later, it has gotten worse. Way worse.
After nearly 20 years, Tigers popular website and posting site “Chalk Talk” has dried up.
Despite Magic City going full force, there are no postings worth noting on the current state of jai alai. Outside of Tigers postings (which I enjoy seeing) on slot revenues, cardroom receipts and the weekly Magic City leaders report), only Bennett had made a kind of a “soft” posting about the Men’s Final 4 having ties to jai-alai since an April Fools posting on Texas Jai-alai.
What has happened? Tiger wants to know.
Literally hundreds of regulars have showy disappeared over the years. But now, its down to literally nothing.
Are people giving up on jai-alai? Or Is there nothing to talk about? Are people mad at Tiger? Or are they mad at some of the people that post on there and tired of getting into arguments or be criticized?
To me, Tigers site was the best thing that happened. When Paul Kubala and Tom DeMint worked effortlessly to get the City of St. Petersburg to approve the construction of America’s first public court in 2007, I announced it on Tigers site. This was before (or about as they were forming) Facebook and other social media avenues were around. Within an hour or two, I was receiving phone calls and emails from the likes of Benny, Daniel, Randy, and Jai-a-Lou. Dozens more came in. Even Joey Redner, the founder of Jai-alai Beer contacted me. The reply board on Tigers site took me days to answer all the questions. Then came TV crews from all the local networks, various sports radio talk show hosts and then huge writeups in the St. Pete Times and the Tampa Tribune. Life literally changed overnight, and it all started with that posting on Tigers site. And it wasn’t on April Fools Days, either.