A major national sports event could be swinging into the North Okanagan.
The Field of Dreams women’s fastball team has submitted a bid for Vernon to host the Canadian Native Fastball Championships Aug. 3 to 5, 2012.
“We want everyone to have an opportunity to come to the Okanagan,” said Glenda Louis, one of the bid organizers.
“It’s also a good opportunity to promote the sport in our community.”
The championships would involve 1,100 male and female athletes over the age of 17, and it’s anticipated there would be about 5,000 visitors attending.
Based on those numbers, Louis is convinced the championships could have a significant financial boost for Vernon and the North Okanagan.
“We’re looking at all of the campground and hotel options,” she said, adding that participants and visitors would also use local restaurants and shops.
The 2012 event will be held in B.C. and besides Vernon, there are bids from Prince George and Invermere.
Today, the Canadian Native Fastball Association will accept the formal applications.
If the Vernon bid is successful, planning will get underway, including pursuing financial sponsors and volunteers.
“We are going to be looking for a lot of support,” said Louis.
One possibility is to involve junior fastball players in behind-the-scenes activities.
“We want to build partnerships. The youth can come and see what it’s all about,” said Louis.
Both the Okanagan Indian Band and the Okanagan Nation Alliance have endorsed the bid from the Field of Dreams team, and a presentation will be made to the City of Vernon council.
This year’s Canadian Native Fastball Championships, which starts today and runs until Sunday, is in Winnipeg, Man.
Among the teams participating is Field of Dreams, which was established in 1996 and consists largely of players from the Okanagan Nation.
“It has actively been a competitor in the national championships since 1999,” said Louis.
“The love for the game of fastball is a tradition handed down from generation to generation; which has provided many opportunities for our youth far and wide within our nations. The physical endurance and skills has not come easily as our athletes of all ages put forth great dedication, personal commitment and many hours necessary to enhance their gamesmanship abilities.”
“Little do our athletes know it, but they are the role models for tomorrow’s future athletes.”