Cranbrook will be buzzing with excitement over the first weekend of August as the St Mary's and Shuswap bands co-host this year's installment of the Canadian Native Fastball Championships.
While the Shuswap Band put in the original bid to host the event in Invermere, organizer Dean Martin realized that he'd need a little help.
Enter the St. Mary's band and Chief Cheryl Casimer, who offered to help out on the organizational side of things, which ended up with a venue shift to Cranbrook to utilize the Kinsmen Quad and Moir Park ball diamonds.
"Coming into Cranbrook, we're into the St. Mary's territory so we got together with Chief Cheryl and decided collectively that we could do this," said Martin.
"We're very privileged to be able to host such an event in our region," added Casimer. "The benefits that are going to come to local business and the community and surrounding area are phenomenal."
Martin said the tournament, which rotates to different provinces year-by-year, is the premier fastball event for native communities across the country.
"We're excited to have it," said Martin. "We're excited to participate in it in every way and certainly we're excited to show off our region to visitors outside this area. They're excited about coming here, too. They don't come with just the ball players; they bring their families."
The competition will be fierce, as Martin expects roughly a dozen players who have been involved with the Canadian national team at one point or another to be scattered throughout the teams.
"That is pretty high-calibre, and that's in both men and women's." Martin said.
Martin expects roughly 50 teams to enter, which will be spread over three categories of men's, women's and masters to vie for roughly $50,000 in prize money.
Martin said two Shuswap teams will enter and there are plans to get a women's team together made up of the two bands.
Both Casimer and Martin are working to find tournament sponsors and Casimer is also taking the lead on organizing a corps of volunteers to help run the event.
Anyone interested in helping out can send an email to email@example.com.