Pinellas County grants full approval
- Court construction begins Feb. 9th
Seminole, FL: Pinellas County has fully approved the plans the for construction of an amateur jai-alai court to be in Seminole, Florida. The first phase of construction will begin on February 9th . This would be America’s first privately-owned amateur jai-alai court ever built on residential property and only second in the world. Construction is expected to be complete in a “crisp” six week period, meaning the court could easily be playable by the end of spring training. Seven years ago, the National Jai-alai Association was instrumental in getting the first publicly owned jai-alai court, which was built in nearby St. Petersburg.
The court will be a private one – built on residential property - meaning it cannot operate as a commercial business like Matt’s court in Connecticut or Luis’s court in North Miami. Nor will it be open to the public like the Puryear park one. NJAA players would continue to be invited to participate in league sanctioned games and tournaments. Ex-pros like Daniel and Owens will always be welcome to play as well as visiting amateur players who have playing experience.
Once the first phase of construction is completed of the actual playing court, the boundary lines and court will be painted after players have determined the best locations. The color tone is undecided. The NJAA has always been a loyal to the traditional green and red colors of jai-alai, but is open to other colors given the nature of the unusual location – in the front yard of a private home.
The second phase will include a canvas top to protect players from rain and bright sunlight – an obstacle at Puryear Park. Extensive lighting will also be added to allow for night play up to 9pm weekdays and 10pm weekends.
The court will be 108 ‘ long, 25’ wide with an additional 13’ out-of-bounds area. The front wall will be 25’ high, with 21’ high side and back walls. There will be an additional 4’ metal fencing above the side and back walls to allow for ventilation and to allow for a raised canopy top to be above the wall. Full netting and very sturdy screens will enclose the court so the ball will never go flying out of the facility. The surface will be painted concrete slab with a glossy finish. Multiple cameras will be in place with a complete video system for security and liability purposes as well as live broadcasts. Everything has been full approved by the county.
Players will be required to wear a helmet, sign a waiver while on video tape and never be allowed to play under the influence of alcohol or drugs. There will be a zero tolerance level on that matter. Players will also restrained from yelling, cursing, showing temper issues such as throwing the ball in disgust. A one-time warning will be given on those matters or face a lifetime ban, a la Pete Rose. The court is in a residential area, and full respect to the neighbors will be a strict priority.
A two-level players cage/clubhouse/VIP area will be partially located in the out of bounds area at the rear of the court. The bottom floor will include two long benches with room for up to 16 players, locker facilities, and a pro shop with baskets, balls, helmets and t shirts. The upstairs will offer unparalleled views of the court for an exclusive “VIP” area. A private office will also be on the top floor with a refrigerator and microwave oven. A 42” TV screen that will act as the “scoreboard” for the players on the first floor, while Magic Mike’s talking scoreboard will appear on the screen with the sound of Jack Patterson announcing will being played over four Bose outdoor speakers. Another “scoreboard”, this one 32”, will be placed in the VIP area located upstairs. A third “scoreboard”, also 32”, will be available on a movable stand for special events for spectators outside the playing court area.
New Laca Jai-alai & Sports museum open
Seminole, FL: A new 1,400 square foot Laca Jai-alai & Sports museum is now open. After two months of construction, the priceless collection has finally come to life in magnificent form. Hundreds of artifacts in jai-alai, baseball, football, boxing and hockey line the walls which was custom-built in a converted six-car garage. Items range from bar signs and glass windows of Tampa jai-alai to hunks of the front wall of Bridgeport Jai-alai. Other items include actual seats from the original Yankee Stadium’s built in 1923 and 1976; signed baseballs by Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig; and original seats from Fenway Park signed by Ted Williams. And a new poker table has just been set up in the jai-alai bar area for some “gaming” action. Soon the Laca Museum in the links above will feature all new photos.
HAPPY NEW YEAR - 2015 BEGINS
Our Last few Performances Sun 01/11, Tue 01/13, Sun 01/18, Tue 01/20, Thu 01/22, Sun 01/25.
Next Performance TBA (Usually Tue, Thu, Sun).
Site Plans Approved by Pinellas County for New Court;
1400 sq. ft. Jai-alai & Sports Museum taking shape
Clearwater, FL: NJAA star player Anthony Sutton submitted the site plans of construction of an amateur jai-alai to Pinellas County officials in Clearwater this afternoon and was given approval on the first phase of the permitting process. The next step is the building plans, which will be reviewed in about a week. The 90-minute visit just knocked off 30-60 days that was expected to take for approval. The amateur court would be the first court ever built in the USA on residential property and just the second one ever in the world.
Anthony’s company, Point West Engineering, Inc. is anxious to fast track the courts construction as this is a slow time of the year for them. The court is expected to be completed in 6 weeks once final approval is given from the county. The court will be another first for our area. In 2008, the NJAA was instrumental in getting America’s first public court built in St. Petersburg. This 108’x25’x25’ court would be built on residential property in Seminole, Florida. The court is approximately 30 minutes away from the Puryear Park court and is just 4 blocks Park Blvd and 131st Street.
It is conceivable that the court could be ready by the end of February if all goes well. The court will be private unlike the St. Pete court, which is on private property. A groundbreaking party will be announced when the time comes.
In other news, the 1400 square foot jai-alai and sports museum, located on the same property as the new jai-alai court, is moving along quickly as the construction has been completed on the walls and fully painted. The Tampa Jai-alai bar sign was placed in a newly constructed wall and lite up. The Jai-alai pinball machine can also be viewed in photo. The heavily secured museum is expected to be completed just before Christmas.
Eric28, Anthony, Thomas, ScottK, Rule win championship games in Tournament played Saturday Nov 22, 2014.
St. Petersburg, FL: Puryear Park Jai-alai held their grand reopening tournament Saturday afternoon before a vocal and enthusiastic crowd of 46. Playing under mild & cloudy skies, 14 players participated in a 10 game performance that lasted 3 hours. There were several follies of great action all afternoon. The court was closed earlier this month as the court got it first major resurfacing project completed. Sebio of Orlando Jai-alai (and Puryear Park alum) was the referee for the first 9 games before participating in the 10th game.
There was 7 doubles games with each player participating in 4 games. At the end of the tournament, the player with the most accumulated points in their respected positon (front or back) was the winner. In the event of a tie, a singles game 7 was played.
Anthony returned to his winning ways by easily winning the backcourt singles championship game to 10 points. Chris ended up in a distant second place with 4, while Chip and Noel King tied with 3. A playoff game for 3rd place was won by Chip.
Eric28, a 10-1 longshot by the odds makers, won the frontcourt singles championship. Just missing out on the win was Rule (9 points), with Scott King taking 3rd place with 8 points. Julio, the heavy favorite at 5-2 odds, finished with just 3 points.
In the doubles frontcourt action, Scott King had the most points. Julio finished 2nd, with Rule in 3rd place. In the backcourt doubles, Thomas was the winner, with Chris taking 2nd and Anthony 3rd.
There was then a bonus “Bucs” game played with the winner getting a $150 Club seat to the Bucs-Packers game December 21st. Rule held off to beat Julio and Eric28 in a close game and will get to go the game. Sebio finished “out of the money”.
For complete scores of the games, go to the scores link.
Due to the success of the tournament, it was determined to hold events like this every other month. NJAA officials are looking at future dates for the next event – perhaps Saturday, January 24th when there are no conflicts with the NLF playoffs.
Frontcourt singles (10 points)
1. Eric M
3. Scott K
Backcourt singles (10 points)
Frontcourt doubles (accumulated pointes over 4 games for each player)
1. Scott K
Backcourt doubles (accumulated points over 4 games for each player)
Bucs Challenge – 15 points
Click image for full program details.
1400 square ft. Jai-alai & Sports Museum under construction -
while plans move forward on America’s 1st private amateur court
Seminole, FL: A huge 1,400 sq. ft. Jai-alai & Sports Museum is now under construction on the same private property that will host America’s first privately owned amateur jai-alai court facility on residential property. The museum is being built on the bottom level of a three story house in Seminole, Florida. The waterfront property covers over 4 ½ acres of land and water - easily large enough to build a 108’ x 25’ x 25’ court in the front yard. The jai-alai court project was verbally approved by Pinellas County officials several months ago.
The first-class museum will incorporate Laca’s massive jai-alai and sports memorabilia collection previously displayed in Madeira Beach – but in much larger quarters. The collection includes jai-alai signs and structures from Tampa Jai-Alai, Bridgeport Jai-alai and much more. The famous Jai-alai pinball machine will be located there with a nearly constructed “Tampa Jai-alai bar” next to it.
There is still lots of work and planning to do, but NJAA official hope to open the museum by Christmas time.
Meanwhile, plans are moving forward on the long-awaited amateur jai-alai court. With a new property survey just completed, it has been determined that the length should be trimmed by about 6 feet to preserve three palm trees that would have to have been removed. The court height and width were reduced about a foot to keep the same proportional ratios. The new dimensions are still perfect lengths for the “Matt” ball – which offers the closest resemblance to a pro jai-alai court that is played with a goat-skinned covered pelota and a two-foot thick wall made out of granite.
A new professional looking prototype model of the court has been constructed and offers a 3D lifelike view of what is to come. The heavily landscaped court will feature a two-level players cage and lounge with announcers booth and extensive video cameras throughout the area. The final drawings for the court are expected to be finalized this Friday and then brought to Pinellas County for permitting. This process will take approximately one to two months at which a groundbreaking ceremony can take place. If construction can start in mid-January, the court could conceivably be completed by the first week of March, 2015.
The court will be covered with multiple canvas-like “tents” to block out direct sunlight and prevent rain on the court. The court will be much cooler with an open air environment on the sides and at the top. The canvas could be rolled up in the event of a major storm or hurricane. Extensive lighting will be included for night play. Because the court is on private property, it cannot be operated as a business like Matt’s court in Connecticut or the one in North Miami.
Court reopens with large turnout
St. Petersburg, FL: America’s first public court was reopened to the public Sunday and was greeted with a large turnout of players looking to see what the “new” playing surface would look like. The court was closed for five days last week for a major resurfacing project that was badly needed. The playing surface was smooth sailing as the court was painted in two shades of green – the inbounds and out-of-bounds area with bright white lines in between. Players will notice two newly located lines near the wall that is being designated as the “Julio line.” Apparently this is the area Julio has to stand between when receiving serves as a frontcourter!
Last night’s action went 11 games with Mike/Laca winning the first game played on the new court. EricM won game 2 in a long 7-post game while playing solo, upsetting the highly favorite Post 1 team of Anthony and Scott King. You can check out the scores in the Event/Scores link above. The next play action is set for Tuesday evening.
Court reopening this Sunday 5pm
The St. Pete jai-alai court resurfacing project has been completed and will be reopening this Sunday, November 9th at 5pm. The court looks fantastic as you can see. Hope to see you all Sunday at 5pm after the Bucs game. Special thanks to the City of St. Pete for making our dream live on!
Court resurfacing project moving along smoothly
St. Petersburg: The jai-alai court resurfacing project is moving along smoothly. Today (Thurs), the resurfacing was painted the traditional jai-alai green like before and the court looks great. There is still another resurfacing coat to go and more painting as the court remains closed. The new surface was badly needed after 6 ½ years of action and normal settling of the court which resulted in multiple large cracks throughout the entire playing action.
We will keep you posted as to when the court will be ready. NJAA officials will post details of exactly when the court will open this Friday evening. Check the message board for the latest updates. Please do not go on the court at all – it is closed to the public. It should be ready sometime over the weekend.
A “Julio” line has been put in place on the court. We will keep you posted with details this weekend on that matter!
A special “Grand Reopening” tournament will be set up – perhaps Saturday November 22nd – the weekend before Thanksgiving. Next weekend is the always popular “Ribfest” down the road a few miles, so we don’t want to get in the way of that. Please text Laca if that date will work for you.
Court closed for resurfacing project
St. Petersburg, FL: The Puryear Park jai-alai court is closed till further notice as the city has resurfaced the court Tuesday 11/04/14. The court will be closed till at least Sunday and perhaps a day or two longer. Check the Message Board for more details. Please do not go on the court. It is unplayable till then!
A special thanks to the City of St. Pete!
NJAA goes to Orlando for a few games 10/05/14.
After years of looking around and trying…….A new Jai-alai court coming – it’s official! Financing was approved on the 4 ½ acre property in Seminole that will house a regulation-sized amateur jai-alai court in the front yard. Permitting can begin shortly after the property closing, which was Thursday morning, October 2nd. More details to come soon.
Top: Anthny, King, Rule, Thomas, EricM
Bottom: Julio, Chris, EricL
Done Deal! New court is coming!
What people are saying……….
“Congrats Bro! That’s Awesome!! Keeping the Dream alive!” -
PCast aka Castanos
"Wow. Very nice. If you need any help let me know" -
Matt – owner of Connecticut Amateur Jai-alai
“Congratulations Laca” -
“You da man!” -
“Awesome congratulations” -
The Crab - Dave Sellers
“Thanks for the update. Can’t wait to throw some chulas on the new court.” -
“Looking forward to that….” -
“Congratulations Jeff, that’s fantastic!” -
“Wow…I want to rent a room…” -
“Congratulations thank you for the court!” -
“Awesome! Congrats Jeff!!” -
“Congrats God bless” -
“Congratulations, Jeff! Looking forward to visiting” -
Mark K. - Jai-alai historian & collector
“No shi------!” -
"Great news. Congratulations Jeff. Looking forward to the finished product." - Julio
Contract signed to purchase Seminole property
court may open by Jan 1st
A state-of-the-art, 114’ long amateur jai-alai court could be built on this Seminole, Florida property by January 1st
The contract to purchase the property to build a privately-owned, state-of-the-art amateur court was signed Saturday. Once financing is finalized and the property is closed on (with a goal of September 30th ), the permitting process with Pinellas Country can begin. Officials of the NJAA, including civil designer Anthony Sutton have met with county officials and received verbal permission Friday to proceed with the project. If all goes well in the permitting stages and construction expected to be completed in six weeks, the court could be open by January 1st.
The 116 foot long court (114’ playable court) would feature up to 28’ high walls, 28’ wide court and a 14’ out of bounds area. The measurements confide to the International Amateur Jai-alai codes for distances. A two-level players cage area, approximately 25’ x 12’, would allow for an upstairs spectator area, NJAA offices, cameras, and Magic Mike’s incredible talking scoreboard computer. A pro shop would feature a large selection of front and backcourt cesta’s from Mexico, cinta’s, helmets, Matt Balls, t-shirts and more. Water, snacks and beverages would also be available. Two long benches for players would be located on the bottom floor as anybody not playing in the existing point would be strictly enforced in stay in the protected area. An extension circulation/fan system would be located on the two floors to provide relief from the summer heat.
The outdoor court will also feature a large canvas top to protect against rain, heat and direct sunshine – an often complaint at the Puryear Park location. Direct sunlight would only shine on the court in the early morning hours and in the out-of-bounds area.
Property inspection day is this Wednesday and the engineering design and site plans will begin by Point West Engineering, a Florida Licensed Class A General Contractor as a retainer fee will be submitted to officially start the project. The permitting process is always hard to estimate, but if completed in 45 days, the court construction could conceivably start November 15th. With a fast-paced construction time frame of six weeks, the pelota’s could be flying by January 1st.
Anthony’s “Point West Engineering” to
design & construct proposed Seminole jai-alai court
Click Picture for New Proposed Plans (Very large file)
NJAA star player Anthony Sutton and his company “Point West Engineering” has been awarded the contract to design, engineer and construct a proposed new amateur jai-alai court in Seminole, Florida. “Anthony” has been one of the nations top amateur players for a long time and was the 2012 NJAA champion, has donated well over a 120 hours of his time in conceptuals and government meetings over the past six months to help the NJAA build another amateur jai-alai court in the Tampa Bay area. If all goes well, this long awaited goal of building a second court in Pinellas County will become a reality. The new proposed court would be built on a large 4.2 acre waterfront property in Seminole, Florida. A 1,300 square foot jai-alai and sports museum would be built in a section on the lower level of the home, already on the property. Because the court would be built in residentual zoned area, no hourly charges or membership fees would be charged. It will be a privately owned and operated court, unlike the Puryear park that is open free to the pubic.
The newly constructed, state-of-the-art outdoor amateur jai-alai court would be 114’ long, 28’ wide with 28’ high walls would feature a covered canvas roof and lighting for night play. Weather conditions such as rain, wet grounds and direct sunshine that make rebotes an experience of its own (like I need it) would be a thing of the past at this court. The small court deminsions and low wall heights that hinder the Puryear Park in St. Petersburg would not be an issue either. The NJAA feels that both courts can work together to make jai-alai bigger and better than it is today.
The new court would feature a two-level players cage area and spectator section offering views of the court normally reserved for guys like Jack Patterson, Mark Berio and Tony Woods. Multiple cameras would be in place and either a large TV screen or a 25 foot screen would offer Magic Mike’s talking scoreboard and instant replays of close calls. There would be a 14’ out of bounds area. The playing format will be similar to what is going on now – texts to anybody wanting to be on the playing list getting invited to play. More tournaments and championships against the two Connecticut courts and N. Miami would also be held.
The court idea still needs a visit from Pinellas County officials and the real estate closing on the property to become reality. The permiting process would take up to two months and the building of the court would take six weeks. Officials hope to have the court open by the end of the year.
Private Amateur Jai-alai Court likely to be Approved by County
Click Picture for New Proposed Plans (Very large file)
The NJAA received some encouraging news today following an 80-minute meeting with Pinellas County officials. A 114-foot long amateur jai-alai court with 28-foot walls will likely pass county ordinances without restrictions as designed on private property in Seminole, Florida. Laca and Anthony Sutton meet with officials and found several location options to build the court all acceptable. Of course, tree and environmental surveys will be the next phase before official approval can be finalized with the county officials visiting the site.
Anthony will be designing up the latest round of revisions, all favorable to the NJAA and new paperwork and drawings will be submitted to the country. The 4.2 acres of property has not been purchased yet, as a contract is pending country approval to build this court. There was no time frame finalized for the entire process to play out, but a good guess to have a playable court could be as early as Thanksgiving time. We will keep you posted with the latest details as they emerge. The court could include lighting and some kind of canvas covering to allow for playing during rain storms and in the evening.
Since the court is being built on private property, there would not be any admission charges to pay or court memberships required. The court would remain a private one where players would be invited to play in game and league action similar to the set up now used by the NJAA. One issue to remain would be an insurance policy for players. Players would have to sign stringent waivers, wear protective helmets and follow strict rules while on the court or sideline.
Private court plans in Seminole seek County Approval
The NJAA has submitted plans to build a combination jai-alai/racquetball/tennis court on private property to Pinellas County. The private court, located on 4.2 acres of land with a residence home would feature a court either 107’ long or 116’ long with walls of 25-28 feet high. The meeting has been set for 11am this Thursday, June 19th with over a dozen Pinellas County officials and would be similar to the one we attended in Pinellas Park last January. Several departments such as zoning and environmental from the Pinellas Country government will meet with NJAA officials, including our civil designer, Anthony Sutton to go over the plans. The multipurpose court would also serve as a racquetball and practice tennis wall in addition to an amateur jai-alai court.
Because the court would be on residential property, it cannot be operated as a business, thus no membership fees or hourly rates would be charged. Players would be able to play free of charge, but it would not be a public court where anybody could come and play as they please. Operation would be like it is on the NJAA court in St. Pete – players would be invited a few times a week to play with recordings of games going toward the yearly championship award. Leagues would also be held and yearly events held. A 1,300 square foot sports and jai-alai museum would be built on the bottom floor of the residence.
Several obstacles come into play, such as redirecting the long driveway and staying away from marshland, as the property is located near the intercostal waters in Seminole. On-site visits by the country to determine if court approval is expected. Because of the various steps involved, it is not known at this time how long this process might take. As the latest news develops, we will post the details. The property is in a pending contract stage at this time with a contingency of building the court.
Silver Anniversary Citrus Event Photos 05/09/14-05/10/14
Special thanks to OLE for the great weekend of jai-alai.
Citrus Championship Game Results and Payoffs
NJAA 6th Anniversary Draws TV Coverage, Former Jai-Alai Stars
The National Jai-alai Association, home of the nation’s first public jai-alai court, held it’s big 6th Anniversary Event last Saturday. A crowd of about 100 attended the 3 hour 56 minute, 14-game marathon under beautiful sunny skies. ABC Action News provided excellent TV coverage the morning of the event and then 25 players participated in some great action that featured a full sound and PA system, large screen TVs, and Magic Mike’s talking scoreboard. Plenty of great food and drinks, a pro shop set up, artifacts from the Laca Museum and a colorful program were also part of the event.
Several former star players were in attendance including Churruca, Solaun, Ricky Solaun, and Goitia. Former players Scott King, Daniel, Jai-a-Lou and Denver also participated in game action, with Daniel, a former two-time Triple Crown winner at Tampa, winning two games, including his first game ever played in NJAA sanctioned play.
The day’s biggest winners were Scott King and Anthony - each picking up three wins, while Laca, EricL, Daniel, Castanos, and Julio each bagged two wins. Game 9 was a rarity – a perfect game for Anthony and Seminole King, but remember, these games were to just 9 straight points instead of the regular 15. But considering the competition, it was still an accomplishment. The double serve on game point was also eliminated to further speed the games along, in addition to the 9-point games. The event was played in under four hours – ending at 5:56pm, much quicker than the estimated 7:50pm ending time listed on the program. Only one players scratched before play started – the Crab – Dave Sellers, and one player had to scratch after the first game – Rick Dennis – with an upper body injury. He was placed on the 15 day DL.
Plans are in store to make next year’s event even bigger and better with details to come in the next couple of months.
ABC Action News story about the event:
View trifecta results
View 12- page color program
View Game 9 - a perfect game
NJAA 6TH Anniversary Event April 12th /
The NJAA – National Jai-alai Association – the group behind the development of the USA’s first public jai-alai court, will be holding their 6th Annual Anniversary Event on Saturday, April 12th at 2pm. At least 25 players will compete on a 12-game program. The highly acclaimed event was well attended last year and featured a color program, food and beverages and a PA sound system and several guest announcers. Several former players will be in attendance, including jai-alai legend Sarmiento, who will be celebrating his 86th birthday that day. Sarmiento won the first singles game ever at Tampa Jai-alai in 1953, and was the top ITW player for the first two seasons. Also in attendance will be former Tampa star players Churruca and Jose Goitia, author of the book “The Other Side of the Screen”.
ABC News 28 Coverage April 5th
Players scheduled to play include former Tampa two–time Triple Crown winner Daniel, Jai-alai “ambassador” Scott King, who has helped so much on our recent remodeling of the court, will also be playing. Former Newport players and fronton PR pros Jai-a-Lou and Denver are on the card. Two NJAA homegrown players, including Rocco, are unable to play this year due to a later Orlando Jai-alai season that opens April 4th. Chalkies “Crab” and “Kullster”, two excellent players, will be competing once again.
The event is open to the public for free and everybody is welcome to come. A grill will be preparing cheeseburgers, hot dogs, and a pizza oven will be cooking great pizzas. A large 16-page commemorative program will be available along with a “Pro” shop selling new shirts, “Matt” balls and many cesta’s for sale. An on-line version of the program will be available next week. The program, which starts at 2pm, is expected to last about 4 ½ hours.
The event will be hyped with the ABC Action News coverage that will air that morning. The top-rated newscast will bring their entire staff- including the weatherman (hope he has good weather in store) and actually play jai-alai on the court. Several camera’s will be on the scene, including one on NJAA player Eric M’s helmet for some true live action. The broadcast will be filmed the Saturday before, April 5th at 11am and the public is welcome to attend that event as well.
The St. Pete court, the first public court in the USA, opened 6 years ago and has seen thousands of games played over the years.
The court is located at Puryear Park, a 59-acre site, at 5701 Lee St., St. Petersburg
City denies jai-alai court expansion – most other repairs approved
The City of St. Pete met with NJAA officials Friday to discuss the expansion and renovation plans. One of the main plans involved knocking out the existing front wall and expanding the court by about 18 feet to the next “racquetball” ball court wall. The city flatly rejected those plans, but have approved most of the other plans including court resurfacing. For a review of all plans, see story below this one. There is no timetable set for the renovations, but we will keep you posted.
JAIALAI PARTIDO PONG V1.1
Another Magicmike Program
NOW AVAILABLE (Updated 02/05/12)
Also available on CNet's download.com
|Web Design by: Michael "Magicmike" Berry||Owned/Operated by NJAA Co-Director Jeff "Laca" Conway|