Our Last few Performances Tue 09/29, Thu 10/01, Fri 10/02, Sat 10/03, Tue 10/06, Fri 10/09.
Next Performance TBA (Usually Tue, Thu, Sun).
Amateur Jai-alai Court Championships – Connecticut vs. Florida
Matt DiDomizio opened Connecticut Amateur Jai-alai in April of 2010. The court is 112’ long, 32’ wide with
26’ walls. The Matt ball is perfect for this size court. It is the next best thing to a pro court.
There is also another amateur court in the Hartford area – Jai-alai Heaven -that uses the Sako/Tedrick ball. The
players are a great group of guys that have been playing there for over 30 years now.
Its official! The battle is on! The battle of amateur courts is all set for some action – this December. Several players of our Tampa Bay roster will be taking on players of the Hartford, Connecticut’s Amateur Jai-alai roster in a big home and home series. The first round will take place in St. Pete – Saturday, December 5th at 12-noon and then travel to Berlin, Connecticut for the second round – Saturday December 12th – again at 12-noon. The exact tournament format is still being worked on and will be announced soon.
Right now, seven players from Tampa Bay are confirmed to participate, including some of their top players. The plane flights and hotels have all been booked. Matt DiDomizio, the owner of Connecticut Amateur Jai-alai believes he will have at least six players and maybe more. The limit will most likely be eight players per side, though not official yet.
In addition to the tournament, other events will be scheduled in Connecticut and Florida. Additional jai-alai performances will be held that weekend in St. Pete, with Laca hosting a “Jai-alai Party” and “Boat trip” in the evening. The Mark K Museum will be open, in addition to the Laca Museum. The trip to Connecticut will include a visit to Jai-alai Heaven, another amateur jai-alai court that is about 25 minutes away from Matt’s, in Bloomfield. Additional jai-alai action will include the participation in the popular Friday night Spectacular 9 Event, in which players from all over New England come to play in. On Saturday evening, the players will be making the trip over to the Mohegan Sun Casino – one of the world’s largest and best casinos.
Here is the lineup (so far) from the St. Pete Jai-alai court:
We will keep you updated with more information as news develops.
New Matt Generation IV balls in for testing
New Matt Generation balls are in and will be tested soon. They are a nice shiny, bright white in color but appear to be slower - as Matt (of CT Amateur Jai-alai) had said about them. The weight of the balls are less than the Gen 2 (the green one) and Gen 3 balls (the fast tan one), but appear to be perfect in weight – and close to what the real pelota is. From bouncing the ball on a driveway, it does appear to be slower, which on our small court may be better. An announcement of when the ball will be used for testing and game purposes will come soon.
Jai-alai legend Sarmiento passes away at 87
St. Petersburg, FL: Former jai-alai legend and NJAA friend Alberto “Sarmiento” has passed away at the age of 87. Sarmiento often threw out the first pelota at our events, including the grand opening ceremony in 2008 as well as many of our anniversary events. He was a true gentleman in every right and will be missed. He was the top ITM player on the Tampa roster the first two seasons the jai-alai fronton was open. He won the first singles game ever played at Tampa Jai-alai. His love of jai-alai, tennis and racquetball and coaching children and teenagers were his life. His heath was a priority, and he played sports up until last year. He could still threw and catch the pelota very well in his mid-80s. It was his image (without a helmet one) climbing a wall that appeared in the Encyclopedia Wikipedia under “jai-alai” for years back in the 50s and 60s. Several photos line the Laca museum today that were donated by Sarmiento.
Sarmiento was more than a jai-alai player. He won a silver medal for Cuba at the Pan American games. He left the University of Havana in the early 1950s because of revolts led by Fidel Castro. He was born in Havana in 1928 and played tennis during his childhood. He then played squash and won that silver medal in 1946 and became the national champion two years later. Sarmiento then excelled in jai-alai and became a top player in Cuba. He came to Tampa in 1953, two weeks before the inaugural season and actually watched workers install the seats at Tampa jai-alai while practicing and learning the new court there.
In 1960, he moved to St. Petersburg and worked at the Meadowlawn Bowling Lanes (now called Sunrise Lanes). He later worked as manager of the Racquet Club Northeast and the Treasure Island Tennis and Yacht Club. He often competed and won in 50, 60, and 70 age-bracket events in tennis and racquetball. He was a community pillar and a local legend where everybody in the tennis/racquetball field knew him. He was always very humble, never wanting to be the center the attention. We will miss you, Sarmiento.
A Jai-alai Weekend to Remember Aug 21-23, 2015
August 22, 2015 - The NJAA celebrated its 7th anniversary with a weekend of some exciting jai-alai action and a couple of events at the Laca museum. The entire program was slapped together at the last minute as Jai-alai “ambassador” Benny Bueno was able to come up for a trip from Miami for a three day visit along with Jai-Lou. Current Miami player Tico was also going to make the trip, but got sick on a family vacation and was unable to attend the entire festivities. Former pro-player Ricky was able to fill in immediately for Tico in the games.
The 12-game Saturday afternoon/evening performance featured 24 players altogether and some very exciting jai-alai action. The featured game 12 - Pro-Am Championship – a game consisting of teams of one ex-pro and one amateur was won by Scott King and Chris. Jai-a-Lou and Julio took second place, with 3rd place going to Ricky and Mark. The Singles Frontcourt championship was won by George, with Eric M coming in second, and Matt, a late sub for Kullster, coming in 3rd place. The Singles Backcourt was won by Mark, with Eric M coming in 2nd and Anthony in 3rd. The feature game 7 of pros and ex-pros was won by Sebio, who actually began his career playing on the old Puryear Park. Scott King came in second, with Jai-Lou coming in 3rd.
The event was attended by 68 people and lasted 3 hours and one minute, not including a rain delay of 51 minutes in the middle of game 6. Play ended at 8:22pm with the bright lights on. Only a couple players left early because of the rain delay. Two NJAA players made returns from the event – Anthony and Chris. They appeared by be playing in “mid-season form” out there, but not risking further injury, they were placed back on the DL list. Thomas, also on the DL, did a great job as the official referee for the event. His wife Dortha did an excellent job as the scorekeeper. And as usual, a special thanks to Magic Mike for his incredible talking scoreboard with Jack Paterson announcing. IT is without a doubt the finest and most advanced jai-alai scoreboard in the world.
Food, programs, and beverages were available at Buster’s Pro Shop and Courtside Grill which was set up off to the side of the court. Delicious grilled cheeseburgers and hot dogs were available during the event. A special thanks to the “grounds crew” that did an amazing job clearing off the court from the one inch rain storm. Jai-alai historian Mark K. threw out the first pelota. Aramayo was expected to attend, but he had a scheduling conflict and was in Daytona Beach. In addition to Tico scratching, The Crab Dave Sellers was scratched because of neck, back and shoulder pain from playing a few days earlier when Ricky made his debut on the court. There were no playoffs for place or show finishes in order to get the event played in the three-hour time frame NJAA officials wanted.
During the 12 games, six players were able to win two games on the program – Kullster, Chris, Rule, Scott K (King), Julio and Gino. Picking up one win were Paul H., Eric L., Laca, Benny, Sebio, King, George and Mark.
Other events over the 3-day long weekend included a visit to the Mark K museum, a boat trip to Clearwater Beach and a party at the Laca Jai-alai and Sports museum in Seminole. Several people attented those events including Daniel, Marty Fleischman, Goitia, and Randy (4 Decade Pro).
Game 1 Singles 10 points
Game 2 Doubles 10 points
1 Kullster / Paul H
2 Eric L / Laca (T)
5 Armando / King (T)
Game 3 Doubles 10 points
3 Kullster / Gino
5 Mark / King
1 Mike / Laca (T)
4 Jai-Lou / Chip (T)
Game 4 Doubles 10 points
1 Eric L / Julio
2 Armando / Sebio
4 Rule / Chip (T)
5 Ricky / Gino (T)
Game 5 Doubles 10 points
5 Julio / Laca
1 Anthony / Paul H
4 Eric L Gino
Game 6 Doubles 10 points
2 Benny / Chris
4 Mike / Sebio (T)
5 Scott K / King
Game 7 Singles Pros & Ex-pros 10 points
5 Scott K
Game 8 Doubles 10 points
3 Rule / S King
2 George / Anthony
5 Eric M / Mark
Game 9 Doubles 10 points
2 Rule / King
3 Benny / Julio (T)
4 Ricky / Anthony (T)
Game 10 Singles Frontcourt Championship 10 points
3 Eric M
Game 11 Doubles Backcourt Championship 10 points
1 Eric M
Game 12 PRO/AM Doubles Championship 15 points
3 Scott K / Chris
2 Jai-Lou / Julio
4 Ricky / Mark
Att. - 68 T – 3:01 (plus 0:51 rain delay). Sunny 94 degrees then rain & clouds during game 5.
NJAA 7th annual anniversary event Saturday, August 22nd 4:30pm
Click Picture to see full program
The NJAA 7½ year Anniversary Event will be Saturday, August 22nd beginning at 4:30pm. Your support of jai-alai is grateful as we are trying to save the sport we all love so much. This event was put together at the last moment when he got confirmation that jai-alai ambassador Benny Bueno, current Miami jai-alai star frontcourter Tico, and NJAA favorite Jai-a-Lou were coming up from Miami for a “jai-alai vacation”!
Unfortunately, the godfather of our court, Paul “Castanos” Kubala and his superstar son, Kyle, will not be able to join us today as they had previous commitments. However, 23 players have signed up in what promises to be the most exciting jai-alai ever played in the nearly 30 years of live action here. Keep an eye open for several ex-pros that will be making an appearance also. Jai-alai historian Mark K. will be here with free passes to his museum.
The game rules will resort back to the regular season ones currently used – the opposing team gets two serves on game point (except when it is possible-possible game point). All games are played till 10 points with the exception of the last game – the Pro/AM Championship game to 15 points. The starting time has been pushed back ½ to a 4:30 start instead of 4pm because of the expected heat. Due to the nature of the event, no rain date is feasibly possible unless everybody can come back on Sunday. Every effort will be made to get the games in, but nothing is guaranteed.
The Buster Courtside Grill and Pro Shop will be open from 4pm-8pm serving up some good grilled food and your favorite beverages. Matt balls, t-shirts and more will also be available as well as the game day version of the 8-page, full color program. Absolutely no gambling is allowed on city property.
Don’t forget the Laca jai-alai party for jai-alai fans, players and their guests – in the incredible new museum – located in Seminole - next Friday, August 21st at 7pm – the night before the event. Please RSVP.
With Tampa Jai-alai possibly reopening, a private jai-alai court under plans in Seminole, our Puryear Park court (which was the first public jai-alai facility ever built in the USA), two of the largest jai-alai museums in the world located within minutes of here, and Dania Jai-alai reopening later this year (with Benny as the players manager & operations director), jai-alai is making an amazing comeback!
Click Picture for Article on TBO.com
Click this picture for another article from TAMPABAY.COM
Dania's plans rolling along
Click here to watch Video:
How many of these guys do you recognize?
Dozens of former Tampa Jai-alai players got together Saturday night to celebrate Eusebio visiting from Spain. How many can you recognize here? Post of the message board if you know!
Jai-alai Beer getting served to a Tampa Jai-alai player!
Joey Redner would love this. Ruth Eckerd Hall’s Ronnie Martin pours a Tampa Jai-alai Beer for former Tampa jai-alai player Scott King at an ELO concert Friday night in Clearwater. Coya and the “fake” Laca were with them along with their wives. Ronnie was a big fan of jai-alai and remembered all the players very well.
RedBull.TV Documentary about Goikoetxea
New Laca Jai-alai & Sports museum open
Click the "Laca Collection Link" to see the Original and NEW Museum Items
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.
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.
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