Hardy participants brave bitter cold to play Bobber Bocce on Ice in Pequot Lakes

More than 100 register for first-time Pequot Lakes Chamber event.

PEQUOT LAKES — The 15 below zero temperature was not cold enough to put a stop to the inaugural Bobber Bocce on Ice event on Sibley Lake in Pequot Lakes.

Bocce players flock to Pequot Lakes in spite of bitter cold.

The bitter cold did result in some no shows, but the Saturday, Feb. 12, Pequot Lakes Chamber event still drew a crowd.

I thought, let's bring it to Sibley Lake. What better place to have it?
Nichole Heinen

"We have 108 people registered to play plus others that may be coming out just to watch," said Pequot Lakes Chamber Director Nichole Heinen, who turned the idea to play bocce ball on ice into reality. "It's going to be a really fun time."

A man on his belly slides a block of wood on ice.
Scott Johnson, of the Norsemen Bobber Bocce team, slides his shuttle toward the "Jack" or "Pallino," during the Bobber Bocce on Ice event Saturday, Feb. 12, 2022, on Sibley Lake in Pequot Lakes.
Travis Grimler / Echo Journal

Participants were enthusiastic to join in the first such event of its kind in Pequot Lakes, including a team from the Twin Cities. Natalie Lehnar said she and her friends, including teammate Melissa Peterson, decided to join in when they saw a post on the Pequot Lakes Chamber's website. They thought it might be fun after playing bocce ball over the summer.

"We dabble," Lehnar said. "We were playing it while camping this summer. We were playing it for fun but never on the ice. We're excited."


A woman takes a turn sliding a block of wood in Ice Bocce
Many bocce players found they had better control of their feet and their tools when they knelt or laid down on the ice at the Saturday, Feb. 12, 2022, Bobber Bocce on Ice event on Sibley Lake in Pequot Lakes.
Travis Grimler / Echo Journal

Others had similar thoughts.

"I play bocce in the summer," said Joe Davoli. "It's a little different coming out here for sure with some log bocces here, so it'll be a new experience for sure."

Heinen said the new event was inspired by a similar event in Longville.

Woman kneeling on ice.
Joy Johnson gets on her knees for more stable footing during Bobber Bocce on Ice on Saturday, Feb. 12, 2022, in Pequot Lakes.
Travis Grimler / Echo Journal

"I thought, let's bring it to Sibley Lake. What better place to have it?" Heinen said.

Some participants wore jerseys with their team names, some wore hats and one group dressed in elaborate headdress, Viking war paint and a fake beard.

With the event's success, Heinen believes it could become a tradition, though she hopes the weather will cooperate better in the future. This year's cold was incompatible with plans to host a live band on the ice.

"This year we were going to have a band, but because of the cold weather the strings won't work," Heinen said. "We just can't do it this year. Instead we're using (the space) as a warming tent. Next year I want to have a live band out here."

Travis Grimler is a staff writer for the Pineandlakes Echo Journal weekly newspaper in Pequot Lakes/Pine River. He may be reached at 218-855-5853 or

Travis Grimler began work at the Echo Journal Jan. 2 of 2013 while the publication was still split in two as the Pine River Journal and Lake Country Echo. He is a full time reporter/photographer/videographer for the paper and operates primarily out of the northern stretch of the coverage area (Hackensack to Jenkins).
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