Forget running or walking – the Joey O Bocce Classic charity tournament is focused on rolling to cure cystic fibrosis – using a bocce ball. While it might seem unlikely, this popular tournament draws dozens of teams to Cardinal Gibbons High School football field for the largest event of its kind in the Research Triangle. This year’s sixth annual tournament on April 28 raised over $35,500.

“The unique event generates donations, but it also fosters a real camaraderie for the cause among the players. We are battling the disease in a fun and positive way,” says Peggy Mulligan, one of the event's organizers.

Bocce equipment is simply a set of bocce balls and a smaller "object ball" (sometimes called a jack). The object of the game is for one team to throw or roll as many of their balls closer to the jack than the opposing team's closest ball. Similarly, Joey O participants are driven to roll closer to a cure.

Because of the nature of the game, people of all ages can enjoy it. There’s also plenty of downtime for good conversation – and delicious Bar-B-Q provided by Smithfield’s Chicken 'N Bar-B-Q, co-sponsor since the event’s inception.


“Good food facilitates fun and fellowship, and Smithfield's Chicken 'N Bar-B-Q continues its commitment to feed the Joey O Bocce Classic’s efforts to find a cure for cystic fibrosis,” says Richard Averitte, director of operations and marketing. "We also want to thank our partners, Coco-Cola Bottling Co. and US Foods, for contributing products for the event."

Started in 2008, the Joey O Bocce Classic for Cystic Fibrosis Research honors Joe O'Connell, who died of complications from Cystic Fibrosis on November 11, 2009. Smithfield's Chicken 'N Bar-B-Q is grateful to serve this tremendous community of supporters determined to keep Joe’s spirit alive. For more information on the Joey O Bocce Classic or to register to receive information about next year’s event, please visit

Smithfield’s Chicken ‘N Bar-B-Q has a 40-year history of serving the finest fried chicken and Eastern-North-Carolina-style Bar-B-Q, made fresh daily from family recipes and served in a family-friendly atmosphere. Smithfield’s Chicken ‘N Bar-B-Q has over 30 locations in North Carolina.

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