Wednesday July 09, 2014

KIBT appears ready for rebirth in 2014

With six teams already confirmed, organizers are optimistic that they will revive the Kamloops International Baseball Tournament in 2014.

Dean Padar, president of the popular tournament, said Wednesday that the board of directors is optimistic KIBT will run at NorBrock Stadium from July 10-13. The 2013 tournament, which was to be the 41st, was cancelled because organizers couldn't get enough teams to attend.

Padar said Wednesday that six teams have confirmed they will be at NorBrock Stadium, and that doesn't include a Kamloops entry, which is almost a guarantee.

Each of the confirmed teams - the Kelowna Jays, Red Deer Riggers, North West Honkers, Seattle Studs, Thurston County Senators and Everett Merchants, the latter four of whom are from Washington - has appeared at KIBT in the past.

"It's encouraging," Padar said. "They've obviously enjoyed coming before. No one said, 'We don't want to come back because you didn't have a tournament last year.' "

Padar also noted that the tournament will need the eighth team to fly.

"We're optimistic we can get that eighth team," Padar said. "We've been talking to teams from the States and (Vancouver) Island. I don't know if we can go with seven (teams) or not. I can't really say what we'll do if we can't get an eighth."

KIBT had been limping along since around 2005, with the tournament running with six teams a few times and, on one occasion, with only five. But Padar said all the financials remain in good shape, even if the volunteers and organizers were getting burned out.

Padar made it known that the board needed some new blood, but it didn't come until the 2013 was cancelled.

Dean Martin, a former president of the Kamloops Minor Baseball Association, joined the board, as did local baseball supporters Chris Neurauter, Sean Wandler and Will Devick. They are working at adding sponsorship to help ease the financial burden for teams coming to the tournament.

"The eventual goal is to knock down our entry fee," Padar said of the $1,000 fee. "We've been hearing the grumbling over the last few years."

Padar is in his 20th year helping out with KIBT, while Wayne Harper has been involved for the entire run and his wife, Linda, has been around for longer than Padar.

"I'm looking forward to doing it for another year," Padar said. "I hope it flies . . . if it doesn't, I don't know where it goes from here."

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