A crowd of 50 Teddy bear hunters brave the cold outside of The Morning Star office Saturday morning. The  newspaper was hosting its annual Gund Teddy bear contest.

A crowd of 50 Teddy bear hunters brave the cold outside of The Morning Star office Saturday morning. The newspaper was hosting its annual Gund Teddy bear contest.

Bears a popular tradition

The Morning Star hosted the annual Gund Teddy bear contest Saturday morning

Armstrong’s Judy Grant is a quick study when it comes to bear hunting.

Grant, who moved to the North Okanagan from Fort St. John a year ago, collected the top prize in her first shot at The Morning Star’s annual Gund Teddy bear contest Saturday morning.

In addition to receiving one of 50 limited edition stuffed teddies, Grant pocketed $500 after having her number drawn in a raffle. She arrived at The Star’s 25th Avenue building at 1 a.m. to sit No. 2 in line.

“My friend has come every year since she moved down and talked me into coming, and I’m so glad I did,” smiled Grant,  noting the weather wasn’t as bad as it can be up north.

“We brought our chairs and blankets, but it didn’t seem to be that cold. I’ve heard stories from everyone else about the cold here, but this was relatively a not bad evening.”

To qualify for a bear, and get their names in the draw, the first 50 customers had to show proof of $300 of purchases from a list of participating local stores.

When asked what she plans to do with the money, Grant replied: “We plan to travel to the Island to see our grandkids. It’ll be most welcome.”

Meanwhile, Kadie Schroepfler may be only 11 years old, but she is already a seasoned bear hunter. This was her fifth year of standing in line with her father, William.

The Len Wood Middle School student said the trick to handling the weather is “just layering up.”

The Schroepflers bust out their ever-increasing Gund collection every Christmas.

“Me and my brother take care of them; we play with them sometimes.

“I like the bears, and my mom likes the bears too… but she doesn’t like waking up that early.”