Behchoko team takes big win from KFN handgames tourney

Paul Bickford/NNSL photo Mikale Eyakfwo of Gameti supports his team by drumming during the handgames tournament hosted by K'atlodeeche First Nation from July 30 to Aug. 1.

Paul Bickford/NNSL photo
Mikale Eyakfwo of Gameti supports his team by drumming during the handgames tournament hosted by K’atlodeeche First Nation from July 30 to Aug. 1.

The Clarence Mackenzie team from Behchoko took the top prize in the third-annual handgames tournament held recently on the Hay River Reserve.

There were big payouts for the top eight teams in the July 30 to Aug. 1 tournament, which featured $50,000 in prize money.

K’atlodeeche First Nation (KFN) hosted the tournament, which attracted teams from all over the NWT and northern Alberta.

The prize money was distributed to the top eight teams as follows:

  • First place – Clarence Mackenzie (Behchoko); $14,000

  • Second Place – Chateh (Assumption, Alta.); $9,000

  • Third Place – Alex Black (Behchoko); $7,200

  • Fourth Place – Behchoko/Yellowknife; $6,300

  • Fifth Place – North of 60 (K’atlodeeche First Nation): $5,400

  • Sixth Place – South of 60 (Trout Lake); $3,600

  • Seventh Place – Dehcho Rebels (Wrigley); $2,700

  • Eighth Place – 8 of Us, 1 Sub (Meander River, Alta.); $1,800

Sharon Pekok, the recreation director with KFN, said 28 teams participated in the tournament.

Each team consisted of eight players and an alternate, meaning there were 252 players.

They came from such places as Fort Simpson, Wrigley, Yellowknife, Fort Smith, Behchoko and the Alberta communities of Meander River and Assumption.

“People come from all over and sometimes they don’t have a team so they’ll join other teams,” said Pekok.

Many of the participants camped out near the arbour, where the competition was held.

Pekok said KFN supplied the campsites to the visitors and also provided food.

She said the event was another success and KFN is already looking forward to next year.

“It’s a lot of fun and it’s a competition of people’s skills,” said Pekok of the popularity of the handgames tournament.

It’s also a gathering where people can meet up with friends and family, she added. “I think that’s a big part of it.”

–Paul Bickford