Six teams were formed for the annual 1/2 Cutz tournament, a two day event to raise funds for Cowichan Valley families who are struggling to make ends meet while dealing with a child who has been struck by cancer.
The event started on Friday evening, August 10, at the Mesachie Lake Community Hall where coaches picked their teams through a random draw.
Coaches this year were, Matt Ellford for the grey team, Ross Forrest for the red team, Darcy Mayo for the orange team, Matt Dunnae for the green team, Rick Brubaker for the yellow team, and Alyssa Morris for the blue team.
The Cody Classic tournament began 14 years ago when Cowichan Valley resident Wes Swain and his family found out that their four-year-old son Cody had cancer, says Dustin Mayo, one of the organizers for the 1/2 Cutz Tournament.
“This started as a family thing,” said Mayo as he addressed the players, volunteers, and family members near the end of the tournament on Sunday. He explained that the Swain family decided they would carry it on for other families that are facing the same hardships.
All funds raised in the Cody Classic go towards paying for transportation and other costs for families who are having to travel for cancer treatment for a child.
The 1/2 Cutz tournament began a few years ago out in Mesachie Lake, and all funds raised from this local tournament are combined with funds from the Cody Classic.
“Last year we managed to raise $40,000 between both tournaments,” said Mayo.
Much of the funds are raised through the $50 per player fee charged to anyone entering the tournament, however there is also a silent auction, raffles, a beer gardens, food concession, T-shirts and much more.
Each year a brave soul steps forward to raise funds through having their hair cut or shaved.
This year that brave soul was Ashley Chadwick from Duncan.
“I’m nervous, really nervous,” said Chadwick on Saturday.
“I’ve always had my hair long. My mom says the last time it was cut I was probably four-years-old.”
“It’s going to be weird. I won’t have to buy shampoo and conditioner every two weeks.”
Chadwick has been raising funds since December through activities like beer gardens, and bottle collections from events like Lake Days.
“I’ve played with the 1/2 Cutz for the past few years,” said Chadwick.
Though sections of Chadwick’s hair were auctioned off for cutting to the highest bidder, with Ayslin Veitch stepping up first, Jennina Russell from Heads or Nails in Lake Cowichan once again stepped up to do the actual cutting.
Russell has participated in this aspect of the tournament since its inception, and Mayo took a moment to thank her for time and continued support.
In total, Chadwick raised $6,015, including monies donated at the tournament while her long locks were being snipped off.
Mayo and his wife Kristal also brought down a quilt that was started for the kids who have been helped and Mayo talked about how it shows the names of nine children in the valley who have been helped through the tournament.
“It hangs in our bedroom,” said Mayo. “It means a lot to us.”
The final fundraiser for this year was something new.
Eric Wilkinson decided he would brave the pain and auction off fist fulls of his chest hair to those who thought they could rip it out.
Though he didn’t seem too excited about the idea when it came time to actually do it, he still saw it through and for $20 each, Johnny Stinson and Drew Forrest tried to grab as much hair as they could.
Mason Wall was also talked into allowing a couple of people try to pull out some of his back hair, much to the delight of the crowd.
It is not yet known how much has been raised in total for this year’s 1/2 Cutz Tournament, but Mayo says that information should be available in the next week or so.
In the meantime, stay tuned for the Cody Classic coming up in September in Duncan.