A record number of 98 teams showed up for the 15th annual Greater Vernon Open (GVO) charity bocce tournament.
The event, held July 27 at Coldstream Park, saw close to 200 bocce enthusiasts enjoy an incredible day of fun in the sun vying for the richest bocce prize purse in Western’s Canada’s largest single day bocce tournament.
The GVO once again partnered with Okanagan Spring Brewery to host the event. Tournament organizers Ed Schratter and Bill Trickey couldn’t have been more pleased with the continuous support the local brewery has provided over the past nine years.
“Beer and bocce make a great combination and OK Spring steps up every year to make that happen,” said Schratter.
“It is so nice to see big local businesses continue to support local charity events,” added Trickey. “Without their support we wouldn’t be able to donate the money we do every year.”
This year, partial proceeds will go to supporting the North Okanagan Youth and Family Services Society (NOYFSS).
“Both Ed and I are local teachers and we see first-hand the positive impact NOYFSS has on our community and we are happy to show our support,” said Trickey.
Participants from across the country and all over BC were also happy with OK Spring’s contributions, and teams from Toronto and Montreal commented on the craft beer that has helped make the Okanagan famous for “fun in the sun.”
“We often have tourists from all over book their Okanagan holidays to coincide with our tournament,” said Schratter. “Locals also like to bring out-of-town guests to the tournament as a way to showcase the beauty of our area, and many love the venue of Coldstream Park as one of those hidden gems of the North Okanagan.”
Said Montreal competitor Jonathan Egett: “It was a fantastic day! I can see why they call the GVO the ‘Social Event of the Season!’ We had so much fun that we’ll definitely be back.”
This year’s prize money was divided amongst some local teams and one team from the Lower Mainland.
The $200 costume prize went to the Vancouver team of Georgina and Erica Opp for their Cruella de Vil-inspired outfits. The Top-Placing all female team of Debbie VanDeSande and Shelly Zupp took home another $200 as did the second place team of Eric Ladner and Sean Boal.
Local boys Jason Webster and Chris Brandle took home the first place trophy and $400 for their efforts. Many others received door prizes courtesy of Okanagan Spring Brewery.
The GVO charity bocce tournament runs every fourth Saturday in July.