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A Father and Son Bocce Journey - The ChickenFoot design story

How a passion for bocce, engineering, and family brought Dan and Nate closer

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Todayโ€™s article is written by guest, Nate Urioste, who worked with his dad to design, patent, and manufacture the Chickenfoot accessible ball retrieval device for bocce. Enjoy!

A Father and Son Bocce Journey - The ChickenFoot design story

Dan (left) and Nate (right) show off the Chickenfoot at Palazzo di Bocce at the ABC Open

Bocce, known for its simplicity, involves players rolling a two pound ball closer to the โ€œJackโ€ or target than their opponent. Knocking your competitors' ball clear of point is a favorite move - the straight forward competition is an ethos of the sport.

Bocce is cherished for its inclusivity; it allows for communities, families and players of all abilities to revel in the thrill of competition.

To Dan and Nathan Urioste, Bocce became a father and son story of innovation and engineering excellence that reimagined accessibility to a beloved sport and nurtured their relationship through entrepreneurial passion and professional competition.

Accessibility Device for the Sport of Bocce

Dan required assistance retrieving the heavy two pound bocce ball and smaller jack, dozens of times over the course of one game. The constant bending risked reinjury to his back and caused him to lose focus on the game. His injury prevented him from enjoying more than two games. Dan could not compete in bocce tournaments that required five plus games.

With their invention, the ChickenFoot, Dan could play bocce longer without bending or risking reinjury. He used the ChickenFoot to Scoop, Flip and Roll the bocce ball without ever stressing his body and was able to maintain his focus on the court and his approach. Dan also used the ChickenFoot to navigate the bocce court - using it to get on and off the court.

The Chickenfoot Design Story

Chickenfoot Premier

In 2010, Dan Urioste, seeking to stay active, joined his community's bocce league, Trilogy Bocce, Gilbert, AZ. Determined to compete despite his limitations, Dan patented the ChickenFoot in 2012, The first ChickenFoot was a wooden stick with two arms capable of retrieving the bocce ball without bending, proving engineering brilliance in its simplicity and functionality. Dan invited Nathan to join him, using bocce to strengthen their bond on and off the bocce court.

Nathan, sharing his father's entrepreneurial spirit, collaborated with Martin Vasquez, a General Dynamics colleague skilled in designing deep space earth station antenna loads. Leveraging 3D printing, they prototyped a drastically upgraded ChickenFoot ball retriever, with one patented Foot capable of retrieving balls from 42mm to 107mm (intended for the jack and bocce balls) made of impact-resistant plastic, with a pad stamped logo, affixed to a fixed length aluminum pole (33โ€ and 36โ€) with a custom Winn Dri-Tac golf grip. This trio produced the first edition of ChickenFoot retrievers, unveiling them at the USBF's National Bocce Tournament in 2016. Two years later, they had sold out, resonating with bocce enthusiasts nationwide. The feel, design and functionality of the ChickenFoot was validated.

Continuous improvement and motion is the ethos. Nathan identified flaws in the ChickenFoot, prompting a redesign. A new 3D printer was acquired, leading to the ChickenFoot Premiere. The Premiere featured a redesigned pole with the same custom grip and logo, a removable Foot for convenience, and customizable length adjustments. It introduced a budget-friendly option when the Premier Foot is used with aftermarket trekking poles. The ChickenFoot Premiere was patented in 2019, marking another milestone for Father and Son.

Dan and Nathan debuted the ChickenFoot Premiere in Fall of 2023. The Premiere features a patented Foot adaptable with most trekking poles - just tighten and go! The ChickenFoot Premiere Foot can be purchased for $49.99 while the complete Chickenfoot Premiere with custom logo pole, Foot and Winn Dri-Tac golf grip is available for $150.00.

Chickenfoot for Bocce today and beyond

Today, The ChickenFoot is the leader in ball retrieval design, seamlessly blending simplicity, functionality, and elegance made possible through 3D print technology. It pays homage to engineering ingenuity, elevating Bocce as a cherished family tradition, and showcasing the transformative power of 3D print in sports equipment, offering tailor-made gear, lightweight designs, and unmatched performance enhancements.

The Father and Son duo compete in national bocce tournaments in Las Vegas, Dallas, Detroit, Phoenix and California, promoting the ChickenFoot Premier ball retriever and making friends and memories.

~Nate Urioste

Thanks for contributing your article, Nate. Itโ€™s amazing how you and Dan have bonded over bocce and Chickenfoot.

I certainly know what Iโ€™ll be getting my dad and mom for Xmas this year!

Are you innovating in the bocceverse? Consider submitting an article to BocceLabs to get the word out.

~Digital Dave

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