For its first year, the Oyen Beach Volleyball Tournament has become a huge success within the community, especially for the younger generation.
Organizer and Big Country Ag Society board member Tim Kolkman attributes much of the help to volunteers and family who kept the tournament running.
The event held approximately 44 players with 60 or more in the stands to watch all the action.
Two nets were used from Fri. Dec. 28 to Sat. Dec. 29.
“It went over really well,” said Kolkman. “I think it was something new, it was something to get people out of the house over the Christmas break and it’s something for the young people in Oyen. There is not a lot for the younger people in town here.”
The Crossroads Centre riding arena was covered in worked-up dirt to create the illusion of a beach and space heaters covered entrances to bring the temperature up in the building.
A highlight of the event happened on Friday night when games started to wrap up around 10:30 p.m.
Many of the ‘older kids’ played volleyball with whoever wanted to stay.
“They had a lot of fun with basically anybody that wanted to horse around and stayed there until 12:30 [a.m.] “Watching some of the older people bring their kids in and watching them go and play in the sand. We had all sorts of sand toys and beach for the kids to play in,” he said.
“Some of the highlights for me were just watching everybody have more fun than you could outside in the middle of winter as far as I’m concerned.”
Kolkman plans to increase the efficiency and flow of the tournament as this year had some scheduling issues.
They are also thinking of adding more nets if the demand is greater, up to four courts.
Younger children were also in attendance so the group hopes to start a mini court at one end where the net is lowered for the children to play while the adults also have their game at the same time.
The possibility of a dance has also been considered.
The idea of hosting a beach volleyball tournament came up after the Big Country Ag Society president approached Kolkman about how to get the younger generations to get involved and use the large Crossroads Centre.
“I went home the one night and thought about it a little bit and our daughters are big volleyball fans and we thought ‘Hey, why don’t we do beach volleyball?’ We took it to them and ‘Yeah if you can pull it off, do it!’ so that’s basically how it went,” explained Kolkman.
Many people have already asked the organizer about another tournament for Easter, showing the demand already.
Volunteers are always welcome to help with the event. “It was a learning curve but it was so much fun.”