Local club plays french lawn game in memory of founder's son

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- Every Sunday Anne-Marie Bittner of Eau Claire can be found in Wilson's Park playing a French lawn game called Petanque.

Bittner, originally from France, started her club a few years ago in memory of her son Joel who loved the game.

Now, Joel’s Petanque Club has a regular group of members who meet every week to play the game.

“We just open our arms to everyone who wants to play,” Bittner says.
The game involves tossing a marker ball, called a “bouchon”. Then players stand inside a circle and toss metal balls, called “boules” as close as they can to the “bouchon”. The first team to get 13 points wins.

Bittner says the game was popular in her hometown, Marseilles, France.

“Just like if you go to a football game there are people and people looking and it so it is fun,” Bittner says.

Nora Gerber of Eau Claire met Bittner at Senior Day at UW-EC a couple of years ago and has been hooked on Petanque ever since.

“I love the people that I have met here,” Gerber says. “It’s a really fun game and the neat thing is we have a kid that comes that’s 9 or 10 that plays and I’m 82 so it’s for all ages it’s a good family game.”

The club even has an official place to play in Wilson Park after paying the city to create a court.

Joel’s Petanque Club meets every Sunday in Wilson Park at 2 p.m. All are welcome.