Categorized | News, Sports

STARS volleyball tournament one of Fort Macleod’s biggest events

michael bourassa

The STARS Charity Co-ed Volleyball Tournament has grown into one of the biggest events of the year in Fort Macleod.
Hundreds of people will pour into town this week for the 15th annual version of the fund-raiser for STARS air ambulance on April 6-9.
A record 46 teams will compete in the tournament, including 16 in both the competitive and recreation divisions and 14 in the intermediate division.
“Believe it or not, there are players flying in from around the world for the tournament,” organizer Mike Bourassa said of players from professional leagues in Sweden and Japan.
The calibre of play in the competitive division is high, with teams filled with men and women who played at the university and college level, as well as professionally.
The tournament has become so popular there are 11 teams on the waiting list.
It wasn’t always this way.
“It is quite amazing to have that kind of turnout,” Bourassa said. “When we started we struggled to have 10 teams in the whole tournament.”
The majority of the games will be played at Fort Macleod and District Sports Centre, with four portable courts — one more than last year — set up on the arena floor.
Games will also be played at W.A. Day school.
Teams will play round-robin games on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, with Sunday reserved this year for the playoffs.
Play begins at 5 p.m. Friday at the arena, with the last games of the day at 10:15 p.m.
Action gets under way at 8:15 a.m. Saturday, with the last games of the day at 4:15 p.m.
On Sunday, the playoffs begin at 9 a.m. with the finals in all three divisions at 5 p.m.
The goal of the tournament is to raise at least $5,400 to fund one mission by the STARS air ambulance.
Last year the tournament raised enough money that two missions were funded.
Bourassa said the tournament has received strong financial support again this year from the business community.
The STARS tournament also provides an economic boom for Fort Macleod, with motel rooms full, restaurants packed with customers and other service businesses hopping.
Tournament organizers buy most of the supplies in Fort Macleod to keep as much of the $40,000 budget in town as possible.
The tournament also puts money back into the community — about $5,000 last year.
Tournament organizers will make a donation to the Fort Macleod Community Initiative Association in return for its volunteers setting up and taking down the portable courts, and scorekeeping during games.
The Fort Macleod Lions Club will operate a concession at the sports centre throughout the weekend, keeping all profits.
“It’s good for the town,” Bourassa said of the tournament.
New this year is a warm-up party on the Friday night at the Queen’s Hotel, with tournament organizers supplying free hamburgers and hot dogs. A local group is doing the cooking in return for a donation.
A dinner and dance will be held on the Saturday night at the Fort Macleod and District Community Hall with music by Roy Schuberg. Fort Macleod 2309 Army Cadets are providing a safe ride home service.
Local groups are also handling security and clean-up at the dance in return for donations from tournament organizers.
Bourassa said there is a simple reason for the tournament’s success.
“People have a good time when they come to the tournament,” Bourassa said. “If they didn’t have a good time they wouldn’t come back.”

Comments are closed.