After 30 years of organizing the Appollos Slo-pitch Tournament, Mayor Ross Forrest has decided to hang up his glove, so to speak.
The tournament has helped to raise funds for various charities and initiatives over the years and the resulting visitors it brought to Cowichan Lake has spun off into revenue for local businesses.
“I’m sad to see the tournament not happening,” said Forrest. “It brought a lot of money into the community. Especially, as a lot of businesses tell me, it was their busiest weekend of the year.”
Forrest says there are a couple reasons for not continuing with the tournament.
“The Appollos hockey team has not been together for the last two years now, it folded before the ball tournament, and we kept going to get to 30 years,” said Forrest. “Also, there is not a lot of commitment from team members” without there being a hockey team.
One of the reasons the hockey team folded was the commitment requiring them to play in the Victoria hockey league as well as the expense involved in doing so.
The Appollos’ hockey organization once ran the whole thing itself, but different parts of the tournament had been handed over to other teams and community groups for assistance.
The 1/2 Cutz, for example, looked after the beer garden while the Appollos concentrated their efforts on the tournament dance.
However, the slo-pitch tournament never had a problem attracting other teams.
“Last year we had approximately 30 teams,” said Forrest. “Over the years the numbers have changed so much.”
He says those numbers fluctuated between six in the beginning to 93 at one point, before declining again to more manageable numbers.
“Organizing the tournament is an awful lot of work,” said Forrest. He added that it is more than just organizing the teams and creating a schedule, there is also the fact that the tournament is played at all the ball fields around the lake, including Lake Cowichan, Mesachie, and Youbou.
Then there is the organizing of the food concession.
“For the last few years we’ve contracted the concession out to the new grads as a fundraiser. We tried to spread it around so everyone benefits,” he said.
One thing is for sure, the Appollos Tournament will surely be missed.