Briggie Days wouldn’t be Briggie Days without a whole whack of sports action, which organizers are promising again this year.
With the return of a Brigade Days original sport, a weekend-long 24-team softball tournament as well as motorsports and Hope’s own mountain grind, sports will be a major component of the 50th year of Brigade Days.
After nearly a decade on hiatus, logger sports returns to Hope with up to 14 events including an obstacle poll, a single- and two-person crosscut, horizontal and vertical log chops, Chokers race, bucking and several high performance sawing events.
Logger sports actually pre-dates Brigade Days, with organizer Ray Zervini recalling the Lions Club having a hand in getting the event started in Hope. Zervini, who has both participated in and organized logger sports since 1978, said this event will draw a mostly local crowd.
Although it is a novice show, participants need to be experienced with power saws and it can’t be their first time throwing an axe. The event kicks off Sunday, Sept. 9 and people who want to try their hand at the 12 to 14 events can sign up on the morning of the event around 9 to 9:30 a.m. Prize money is also in the pot for the top three finishers.
“A lot of people that are in there, they’re very experienced and put on a good show,” Zervini said.
In typical Hope fashion, local businesses have stepped up to make the event a reality.
“Quite a bit of work goes into it beforehand. You have to get the wood out, find wood for it, so a lot of the local logging companies have helped us,” Zervini said.
Possibly the largest gathering of two-pitch teams Brigade Days has ever seen will descend on the community for the weekend-long Caesar Soares Memorial 2-Pitch Softball Tournament.
Organizer Dan Small said the memorial tournament, named after longtime Hope resident and softball player, has been ongoing for six years. This year was so popular Small had to turn some teams away, making it the biggest one in the past six years.
Twenty four teams are signed up this year, beating the 20 teams and 300 players competing at last year’s tournament. The event is divided into two divisions, competitive and recreational, each with prize money attached for the winners.
Players will be pitching in a version of softball Small believes got its start in Hope and has since spread to leagues in Chilliwack and Agassiz.
Teams from around the Fraser Valley and Lower Mainland have signed up for the tournament, including nine or ten from Agassiz, as well as veteran players from Hope returning with team names such as the Underdogs, the Throwbacks and Ball-O-Holics.
The tournament is expected to draw up to 336 players, as well as family and friends who are already bringing local campsites to capacity.
Fans of softball wanting to catch a slice of the action can head to 6 Avenue Park behind the Hope Recreation Centre, where two ball diamonds will be hopping throughout the weekend.
The Hope Motorsports Group will be out in force throughout the Brigade Days weekend, with 4X4 and demolition derby events Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoons and evenings in the Sports Bowl.
Premiered last year, the group is bringing back an event which has people launch their junk vehicles into the air and keep them flying as long as possible, before speeding to a stop and trying to avoid smashing into concrete posts forming the boundaries of the sports bowl. The aptly named Jump Your Junk event kicks off the weekend’s festivities on Friday, Sept. 7.
Registration for motorsports events will be done on the day of, in the pit, according to the Brigade Days website.
For those who like early mornings and mountain climbs, the Hope Hustle will kick off from the base of Hope Mountain the morning of Saturday, Sept. 8. Participants can register on the day of at the mountain base, then make the 1.7-kilometre trek up to the lookout.
Last year the first woman up the hill was Hannah Chisholm, shaving off five minutes from her 2016 time to finish at 26:27. The first man up to the lookout was Terry Bremner with a time of 24:26, it was his fifth time crowned King of the Hill at the annual event.
For a full schedule of events, see brigadedays.com.
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