Shelley Bedard is a Pig. And very proud of it.
Bedard, a Vernon resident, is a card-carrying member of the P.G. Pigs softball team, a Prince George squad that, in one form or another, has played in every Funtastic slo-pitch tournament since the event’s inception.
“We actually were coming to Vernon to play in another ball tournament the same weekend, before Funtastic, and then Funtastic started and we’ve been playing every year,” said Bedard, a native of Williams Lake who moved to Prince George after high school.
It was in Prince George that Bedard, a financial consultant, met her longtime partner, Darrel Rahier, and they played softball with, among others, Dan Currie who, like Bedard and Rahier, now lives in Vernon.
It was at Funtastic 20 years ago that Currie met his wife, Jamie, also a Pig.
“We picked her up (for the tournament) and brought her down,” chuckled Bedard at the memory of how the Curries met. “(Team rep) Glen Lemon was instrumental in that. He’s the one who brought her for the tournament.”
It was also Lemon who was responsible for the name change (the team has been together for so long that Bedard can’t remember what they were called when they first started playing) to Pigs.
“Glen acquired an actual pig so we called ourselves the P.G. Pigs,” laughed Bedard.
As time goes on, and teammates age, priorities change. Even though the invite goes out every year to original players from Prince George, the Pigs often fill out their roster with, ahem, “Pig-ups” from Vernon.
“I think we have three or four players from Prince George playing this year,” said Bedard, herself having double-booked for the July long weekend. She goes back to Williams Lake for a high school reunion, and returns in time to take in the last day of Funtastic Sunday.
Team founders Grant and Tracy Skelly are unavailable to play this year, as they are sailing on a Mediterranean cruise.
“Funtastic is such a great time, we always book our holidays around it and try to have a Prince George reunion,” said Bedard. “The fun is why we keep playing year after year.”
The Pigs will be among the 216 teams competing in Vernon, where the tournament got underway Thursday night.
A combination of 84 other teams are taking part in Funtastic games in Armstrong and Enderby.
Canadian rock legends Glass Tiger hit the main stage at the Vernon Army Camp Thursday night to help kick off the always popular music festival portion of Funtastic.
Great White will be the main act on stage tonight and Bon Jovi tribute group Blaze of Glory wraps things up Saturday night.
A number of local bands will also be performing during the festival.
The Funtastic Sports and Music Festival brings in millions of dollars to the North Okanagan region, and the Funtastic Sports Society gives back proceeds from the event to community groups and organizations.