The Lake Cowichan Fire Department firefighters were champions of the 2015 Mesachie Lake Group Softball Tournament and Auction.

The Lake Cowichan Fire Department firefighters were champions of the 2015 Mesachie Lake Group Softball Tournament and Auction.

Mesachie Lake ball tournament goal hits home for firefighters

The 38th annual Mesachie Lake Group Softball Tournament and Auction is just around the bend.

Swing, batter batter!

The 38th annual Mesachie Lake Group Softball Tournament and Auction is just around the bend.

The event, which runs from June 17 to 19, brings together fire departments from around the Lake and as far away as Ladysmith to raise money for Muscular Dystrophy Canada.

“When it first started the Mesachie Lake Fire Department started this tournament as a means of raising funds for equipment within their own community to buy equipment and gear for the fire hall,” said Cam Ferguson, chairperson of the organizing group. “It very quickly took a shift in focus and that was in the early ’80s.”

Organizers decided to shift the fundraiser’s focus to muscular dystrophy when the son of a Mesachie Lake firefighter was diagnosed, then the son of a Duncan firefighter was as well shortly thereafter.

According to Ferguson, muscular dystrophy is a common fundraising cause for fire departments across North America.

“I think for this one it’s a lot closer to home,” he said, referring to the family members of local firefighters.

The weekend kicks off with a small golf tournament at March Meadows Golf Club Friday morning starting at 9 a.m. That evening at 7 p.m. the weekend-long baseball tournament begins at the Mesachie Lake ball park with the Honeymoon Bay Fire Department squaring off against the team from Cowichan Bay Volunteer Fire Rescue. At 9 p.m. there is a dance at the community hall.

On Saturday, baseball starts up again at 8:30 a.m. and goes until 1 p.m, at which time the live auction begins.

“It’s definitely the cornerstone of the whole weekend, it’s where the majority of the funds are raised and it’s a fun, entertaining live auction,” said Ferguson. “People come with money in their pocket to donate to the cause. And it’s not uncommon for a t-shirt and a hat to sell for $100 at the auction… You don’t come to this auction looking for a bargain on stuff. You’re coming to make a donation and have fun while you’re doing it.”

The auction runs until 4 p.m., followed by a $15 steak dinner. There will be no Saturday night dance, however, the group is planning to host a movie night for families instead. On Sunday, baseball resumes at 8 a.m. The final game is at 2:30 p.m. Teams will be from fire departments from Honeymoon Bay, Youbou, Lake Cowichan, Duncan, Cowichan Bay and Ladysmith.