By David F. Rooney
This year’s Glacier Challenge Slow Pitch Tournament was, by Sunday, regarded as a success by organizers, not only in terms of teams registered but also by the paucity of injuries and events that required police intervention. But the organizing committee is likely going to have to undertake some formal marketing to build up attendance in the years ahead.
“Some places that have tournaments like ours count themselves successful if they have 20 teams,” former tournament chairman Alan Chell said Sunday. “Then we look at our numbers and you realize we’re doing very, very well.”
Registration for the annual tournament is 87 this year, down from last year’s total registration of 93 and that was a deep decline from the pre-recession years when as many as 120 teams arrived here each summer.
Chell said the floods in Alberta may have prevented some teams from registering this year but some formerly regular attendees are beginning to bow out.
He said some people called to say they wouldn’t attend this year because were going to do something different. That’s to be expected as the families who have for 26 years been coming to this multi-generational tournament are aging. A lot are watching their kids leave home and are deciding its time to do something else for a change.
The challenge for tournament organizers is to reach younger men and women who want to have a good time in Revelstoke. Believe it or not the organizing committee has never marketed the weekend blow out and they are starting to realize they should start doing that. They really, really should, Chell said.
“Think of your spending habits when you go somewhere for a vacation,” he said. “You probably don’t spend less than $100 a day, even if you’re sleeping in a tent. There are usually between 2,000 and 3,000 people here for the tournament so they’re spending about $300,000 or more each day. That’s $1 million over the long weekend.”
That money does get spent in our local economy and in face it circulates as many as seven times in a kind of socio-economic echo, Chell said.
“A waitress at the Big Eddy Pub might make $200 or $300 a night on tips alone,” he said. “But Style Trend may not make any money during the long weekend. What they’ll is an echo from the money all of these visitors have dropped because one of the waitresses may decide that since she’s flush she can go to Style Trend and purchase something she has been considering for some time.”
Shell said there were no major injuries at the ball parks this weekend and, as far as he knew on Sunday afternoon, no one had been arrested.
Sounds good. In the meantime here are a few photos from Sunday: