Fort Macleod residents were stars last year in their support for Alberta’s air ambulance.
Organizers of the 11th annual STARS Charity Volleyball tournament are optimistic Fort Macleod will rise to the challenge again.
“Obviously we’d like to beat our total every year,” tournament organizer Mike Bourassa said.
The tournament is March 15-17 at F.P. Walshe school, with competition for 24 teams in recreational, intermediate and competitive divisions.
In its 10th anniversary year in 2012 the tournament raised $6,100 to pay for a single mission by STARS air ambulance.
“It was nice that the flight that we funded was within our local area,” Bourassa said.
STARS flew a mission to Pincher Creek on April 22, 2012, within a month of the volleyball tournament in Fort Macleod.
Each STARS flight costs $5,400, and organizers are optimistic the 2013 event will raise enough money to pay for another flight.
“In a couple of weeks we’ll be hitting the pavement, doing our fund-raising for it,” Bourassa said.
Bourassa encourages Fort Macleod and district residents, businesses and groups to contribute what they can afford.
“Every bit helps,” Bourassa said. “It all adds up.”
People in Fort Macleod and district are strong supporters of STARS air ambulance, which relies on donations and fund-raising events such as the volleyball tournament for most of its budget.
“The first couple of years people had lots of questions,” Bourassa said. “As it has gone on it has become easier.”
The Queen’s Hotel hosts a beer garden the Saturday of the tournament, and there is a dinner and dance at the community hall that evening, with a guest speaker.
“We’re trying to arrange for a pilot to come out and talk. We’ve never had that.”
Organizers are optimistic the 2013 tournament will have strong support from teams and donors alike
“Things are going along pretty good,” Bourassa said. “We’ve already got teams registered.”
“I’m pretty confident we’ll be getting at least 24 teams again,” Bourassa said.
Last year 26 teams registered and organizers scrambled to adjust the schedule to accommodate the increased number.
Teams were contacting Bourassa prior to Christmas, long before he usually starts contacting people about the tournament.
“It’s definitely a good problem to have,” Bourassa said.
To register a team or make a donation contact Mike Bourassa at 403-553-2025 or 403-330-3546.