What another great slo-pitch tournament in Kipling, remembering the late Bobby Vargo, son of Glen and Lynn, brother to Ashley and Austin, husband to KaAnn and father to Hudson and Emmersyn.
Bobby had a love for his family and friends and for sports, especially hockey, baseball and slo-pitch. That is why this tournament is held in his honour.
After spending the past 16 months with COVID restrictions, it was a great day for one of the first events to take place in Kipling – the ninth annual Bobby Vargo Memorial Slo Pitch Tournament.
One of Bobby’s favourite teams was the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers, hence the flags in the field and family and friends donning the colors of the team.
Every year the Vargo family puts together a scrapbook of pictures from past tournaments, which are also on display with the album accumulating more and more memories with each passing year.
Although the day was a hot and windy one that didn't stop anyone from having the fun they came for.
Players on each of the 10 teams entered has connections to the Vargo family. Teams were divided once again into three divisions including: Hazel County 605s, Kookshow Kids, Rusty Beavers, Brew Jays, Tea Baggers, Here 4 Beer, Flipping Bats, Master Batters and DOA.
One new team, Fungi, this year was made up of Kipling Grade 11 and 12 students.
“The nice thing about that team is those kids have been coming here since we started and now they’ve got their own team,” explains Glen Vargo. “And that’s what it should be.”
Events featured this year for the kids once again included sandpits with buried treasures, Paw Patrol and a bouncy house. And fun for all ages was the dunk tank sponsored by the Royals senior baseball team. A variety of silent auction items were up for grabs as well as a 50/50 draw by the Kipling Skating Club.
The Nutrien Ag Solutions home run derby was included this year, and kicking off the derby in the evening were longtime family friends Kristen Batters and April Frater throwing the ceremonial pitch to begin the event.
The derby had 12 participants and was commentated by Marshall Stender. Gordon Kish volunteered his services as auctioneer at the Calcutta, which brought in a total of $8,100. Taking first place was Robbie Spencer with 13 home runs in the final round. In second place was Tyler Vargo with 11 dingers, third was Mike Meszaros with three and fourth was Nathan Yuzicappi with two.
After a long hot and windy day of ball games Flipping Bats claimed the championship trophy over Hazel County 605s. Team DOA beat the Kookshow Kids in the A consolation.
Profits from this year’s tourney are once again going to various groups and organizations in Kipling.
Over $120,000 has been raised since this tournament began, putting the funds back into community projects.
“We packed six months of planning into 3 weeks,” explains Glen who plays a major role on the planning committee.
“Since July 11th was the day to lift restrictions, the planning committee decided to go ahead with a one-day tournament,” explains Glen. “It’s worked out pretty good.”
Glen goes on to say:
“The sponsorship has been amazing. Once they (businesses) found out we were going ahead with the tournament, they came on board like crazy. They know it’s for the community … all the dollars raised stay here.”
“They’ve allowed us to do what we do.”
“I think people were ready to just enjoy themselves and be around other people. Get out and do something and visit.”
“For the time we put into planning this year, it came together pretty well.”
Glen says that approximately $45,000 from past tournaments has been put towards the ball diamonds so they’re in pretty good shape.
An emotional Glen delivered his speech on behalf of the Vargo family at the end of the tournament.
“I get all choked up as this is a special time for our family to have everyone here with us today to celebrate our son and his memory and it humbles us again to have such a great turnout. We did have some obstacles in planning this year’s tournament. Once again, thanks to all our sponsors.”
The committee is looking forward to celebrating their 10th anniversary of this event next year on the Canada Day long weekend.
1) A Side winners were Flipping Bats, back row, from left, Patrick Eashappie, Justin Spencer, Wayne McKay, Robbie Spencer, Nathan Yuzicappi, Owen Eashappie, Gordon Eashappie, Leland Wasacase and Taran Spencer. Front row, from left, Lakita Thomson, Rebecca Wasacase, Katrine Alexson, Chasity Wasacase and Brayson Saulteaux. Photo by Laura Kish
2) Robbie Spencer won the Nutrien Ag Solutions Home Run Derby Sunday night, hitting 13 homers in the final round. He accepts the trophy from Glen Vargo, presenting on behalf of Nutrien Ag Solutions. Photo by Laura Kish