The 29th Annual Coors Slopitch Tournament is a go, after a group of volunteers stepped up at the eleventh hour to help run it, league executives announced last week.
Glenn Smith, a director with the Hay River Mixed Slo Pitch League, said league officials had resigned themselves to canceling the popular tournament early last week due to a lack of volunteer participation. Smith, who has helped organize the tournament in the past with Angela Carter, said that neither of them were available this year to lend a hand.
“We couldn’t commit to help organize it,” he said. “Or, at least, ensuring it got ran during that period.”
After emailing the league’s teams to see if there were any volunteers available, Smith said they made the tough decision to cancel the tournament due to a lack of commitments. The news didn’t sit well with Curtis Rowe, general manager of the Ptarmigan Inn and a player in the league, Smith said.
“He got word of that and felt that we can’t let this come to an end,” Smith explained. “It’s a fairly big event for the town and the slopitch community. He figured he’d step up and make sure it ran for those reasons.”
The tournament is too big a part of summer in Hay River to cancel, Rowe explained.
“It’s just a great event,” he said. “A lot of people put a lot of work into it.”
Rowe met with Smith on Thursday to confirm his intentions, and to outline the team of volunteers who will help run the tournament. The tournament, which is scheduled from July 30 until Aug. 2, typically features teams from across the Northwest Terrritories and Northern Alberta.
“It takes a fair amount of work and a fair amount of resources,” Smith said. “Not only leading up to (it), but during the weekend.”
While admitting the organizers were behind schedule, Smith said he remains confident they will be able to draw between 12 and 16 teams. Within a few hours of the announcement, Smith said things “were back on track.”
“Word has spread very quickly,” Smith explained. “Two hours after I had met with him I saw updates on people’s pages on Facebook, people asking if they could register, and if it was indeed a go.”
Rowe said the response from volunteers has been good since the announcement, though more are needed to ensure the event is a success.
“A big event like this needs lots of volunteers,” he said.
“The more volunteers, the easier it is on the other people who are already volunteering. The more, the better.”
If you are interested in lending a hand during the tournament call Rowe at 875-8466 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.