Three generations of Summerfelt family have played in tournament over its 24 years
The Glacier Challenge is turning 24-years-old this year. It also marks the 24th year that the Lumby Drillers are making the trip to Revelstoke to take part in the venerable softball tournament.
“We all played ball and just thought we’d try going in a tournament,” said Gail Summerfelt, the matriarch of the team in an interview from her home in Lumby, B.C. “I think that’s why we first went there.”
The team consisted of herself, her husband Jim, their sons Jamie, Stacey and Jason and some friends. They camped at Williamson Lake
“We had a lot of fun,” Gail said. “I don’t even know how we did. I don’t know if we did bad or good.”
The next year they came back and then the year after that. Eventually, it was just assumed the team would go.
“After the first few years everybody took it for granted that we would go,” Gail said. “Now it’s the only tournament we go to.
“We make it one weekend where we all leave home, camp together and have fun.”
While she doesn’t remember too much from the early tournaments, she does recall the mud volleyball court that was set up in the park and the dance that was held at the arena. They took advantage of the helicopter rides and river rafting trips that were offered.
“We always seem to have fun there,” she said. “It’s a good weekend for everyone to get together and enjoy each others companies.”
The tournament has always been a family affair for the team and proof that the weekend isn’t just for partying. While the kids have gone off to enjoy the mayhem at Centennial Park, Gail said she enjoyed camping at Williamson Lake.
“It’s a good family thing. Everybody can bring their kids,” she said. “We have fun as a mixed group – old and young.”
Since that first year, three of Gail’s grandchildren have played on the team. As well, Stacey met his wife Corrinna at the tournament one year
Gail, now 62, has hung up her cleats and traded in the bat for a pen and line-up card. She doesn’t play any more and instead takes care of the logistics and organizing. She’s thought about retiring but said her sons won’t let her stay home.
“The kids seem to think its a big deal that I’m there. I’m not sure why but I still go,” she said.
What’s next for the Drillers? Gail, for one, thought she would retired after 20 years but now she’s aiming for 25 years, which will be next year. Stacey and Corrinna have two sons of their own, aged 9 and 12, who come to the tournament but aren’t old enough to play yet.
Their oldest son Jamie now has a grandchild of his own so there may be a fourth generation coming up.
I asked Gail if any memories stood out but she couldn’t think of any. “Every year we enjoy it.”