Six teams square off in first Croquet & Brass event

With a gentle swing of their mallets to hit balls through wickets, six teams participated in the first-ever Croquet & Brass event in Perryville, marking the first night of the Great American Brass Band Festival.

The game wasn’t played in the most traditional sense, said organizer Kelly Gray, but was still fun.

Play knocked off on the lawn of the Karrick-Parks House, home of a historic Sunday croquet game that organizers believed was played for about 50 years. The six teams playing consisted of two to four players who rotated taking aim. The teams were divided into two rounds, each having 30 minutes to move their respective croquet balls forward, each team taking their turn.

“We wanted to be sure to finish with plenty of light, so we put a limit on it. If no team finished, the winning team was going to be the one who was the farthest along,” Gray said.

Two teams did finish — the Roaring Tammes, Jacob and Allison Tamme, and the Bent Wickets, Ephraim Helton and Joe Yocum — and each round finished in less than 30 minutes. Gray said they completed the rounds in about 20 minutes and about 16 minutes, respectively.

The third and final round took place on the lawn of the Elmwood Inn, a squaring off between the Roaring Tammes and the Bent Wickets. 

Shot-by-shot announcing was provided by Winfield Frankel, Great American Brass Band Festival volunteer and Perryville City Attorney, whose description of Yocum’s stance caused the player to double over in laughter instead of taking aim. 

The two teams started at one stake and took turns hitting their respective croquet balls toward a second stake — the team that got the closest or hit the stake won. It was a tight game as each team took only two shots — the Roaring Tammes struck the stake first.

Even though they didn’t win, a third team, the Broadway Bashers, consisting of Teresa Arnold, Mimi Becker, Greg Hager and Will Updike, was recognized as having the best-dressed player in Updike. He wasn’t alone, as several teams dressed up for the occasion.

Leigh Jefferson, associate director of the Great American Brass Band Festival, said the night was a perfect one to kick off the weekend.

“Brass music, croquet, beautiful Kentucky weather — you can’t ask for anything better to start the festival,” Jefferson said.

Gray said she was pleased in how the first tournament turned out.

“We only had six teams, but we had a lot of spectators that made their way down there and watched the game,” she said. “Everyone was really enthusiastic.”

She hopes to have more teams and more courts set up next year so that multiple rounds can be playing at the same time.

“I look forward to it growing next year,” Gray said. “It was great.”

Kendra Peek/kendra.peek@amnews.com
Teresa Arnold, of team Broadway Bashers, completes her shot during the second round of play in the croquet tournament Thursday night.

Kendra Peek/kendra.peek@amnews.com
Ephraim Helton, of team Bent Wickets, left, shakes hands with Jacob Tamme, of team Roaring Tammes, right, after Tamme made the winning shot in the croquet tournament.

Kendra Peek/kendra.peek@amnews.com
Joe Yocum, of team Bent Wickets, takes his shot in the final round of the croquet tournament Thursday night, while Jacob and Allison Tamme, of team Roaring Tammes, watch.

Kendra Peek/kendra.peek@amnews.com
Siddalea Gray watches the croquet tournament Thursday night in Perryville.

Kendra Peek/kendra.peek@amnews.com
The Powerhouse Brass Quintet from Gaithersburg, Maryland, performed in Baril Park in Perryville Thursday night, the first night of the Great American Brass Band Festival.

Kendra Peek/kendra.peek@amnews.com
Walker Gray tries his hand a croquet before the start of the final round in Perryville, kicking off the Great American Brass Band Festival.

Kendra Peek/kendra.peek@amnews.com
Civil War reenactors walked around Perryville Thursday night, the first night of the Great American Brass Band Festival.

Kendra Peek/kendra.peek@amnews.com
Civil War reenactors walked around Perryville Thursday night, the first night of the Great American Brass Band Festival.

Kendra Peek/kendra.peek@amnews.com
Civil War reenactors walked around Perryville Thursday night, the first night of the Great American Brass Band Festival.