For the 11th year in a row, the Greater Vernon Open demonstrated to all as to why the bocce tournament is not only the largest single-day tournament in Western Canada, but the most fun as well.
With close to 70 teams in attendance in Coldstream Park, first-time contestants, Bryan Cragg and Don Deane walked away with the championship trophy and $400.
First-time contestants Galina Labun and Tanya Mund were the top-placing, all-female team, winning $200.
In total, more than $1,000 in cash and prizes were given away during the charity event Sunday.
Started by Ed Schratter and Bill Trickey with only 10 teams, the GVO has grown to an annual event that now raises money for the Canadian Mental Health Association’s Ride Don’t Hide program.
The charity has a special connection to Schratter as it was his brother Michael who started the now national charity bike event that this year raised more than $1 million to fight the stigma of mental illness.
“We definitely could not put on an event such as this without the strong support of Okanagan Spring Brewery,” said Trickey.
“Our hats go off to great local businesses like Okanagan Spring Brewery who not only support local jobs, but local charities as well.”
The tournament is held on the fourth weekend of July, anddraws competitors from around the province and Alberta.
“We have multiple teams from Vancouver and Alberta who regularly book their summer vacations to specifically coincide with the GVO,” said Schratter.
“These people can stay anywhere in the Okanagan, but choose to come to Vernon because of this tournament.
“It’s good for our charity, good for Vernon and always makes for a great event.”