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.”
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.