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PHOTOS: Fun, frivolity, and great costumes abound at Greater Vernon Bocce Open

The 10th fundraising tournament will boost the coffers of North Okanagan Youth and Family Services

It’s a fixture of North Okanagan summers now, every fourth Saturday in July.

What started in 2005 with 10 teams has morphed into the largest single-day charity bocce tournament in Western Canada.

The Greater Vernon Open (GVO), held Saturday, July 22 at Coldstream Park, saw 97 teams of two competing for a $1,000 prize purse, with partial proceeds again going to North Okanagan Youth and Family and Services Society (NOYFSS).

Tournament organizers Ed Schratter and Bill Trickey were very pleased with how the event played out.

“This year we had more women playing bocce than men and the ladies had a blast,” said Schratter.

In addition to the first-place prize of $400, the top-placing all female team of Jenna Bestard and Brianna Hampton took away $200 for their playoff performance, while Georgian and Erica Opp won $200 for their fairy-inspired costume.

The $400 first place mens prize this year went to Scott Horsfeld and Curt Steinke and the team of Ryan Varley and Kelly Sproule collected $200 for second.

“It was Scott and Curt’s first time at the GVO and they said that they will definitely be back next year” said Trickey.

Schratter adds: “That is the great thing about bocce and the GVO in particular; anybody can win, and everybody has a great time. That’s what we strive for – a fun-spirited tournament, where everyone enjoys themselves.”

“Of course, we couldn’t put on an event such as this if it wasn’t for the very generous sponsorship of Vernon’s own Okanagan Spring Brewery,” said Trickey. “Okanagan Spring Brewery is such a great supporter of this event and has been for more than a decade. It is because of their support that we can put on such a big event. We can’t thank them enough.”

Another big shout out went to the actual venue of Coldstream Park.

The greenspace on Kalamalka Road is considered to be one of the “hidden gems” of Greater Vernon parks, and organizers praised Neil Blundell of Coldstream Parks for ensuring the park was in tip-top shape for this year’s record-breaking turn-out.

“The park is perfect for our tournament and the Coldstream parks team goes out of their way to make sure that everyone who plays understands what a special place it is,” said Schratter.

Trickey said the event always has a large contingent of not just out of town, but international players.

“Tourists that come to Vernon, book their vacation time around the tournament and we had teams from not just the Lower Mainland, the Island and Alberta, but teams from Scotland, Australia and the U.S.,” he said.

“Each out-of-town team goes away with stories about how beautiful Greater Vernon and Coldstream is. We love Vernon and Coldstream and we are so proud of our community and when we get a chance to showcase it like we do with the GVO, then we know that those people will bring back more in the future.”

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Roger Knox

About the Author: Roger Knox

I am a journalist with more than 30 years of experience in the industry. I started my career in radio and have spent the last 21 years working with Black Press Media.
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