Pics and Sticks organizers went into a Monday evening information session just wanting to get the word out among the South Okanagan business community about next spring’s charity event.
What they managed to accomplish was much bigger.
Over the course of several hours, Pics and Sticks gained status as a signature event for the region.
It didn’t hurt that one of the event sponsors is Canadian country music star Gord Bamford, who turned up with his very talented band, brought along Kelowna prodigy Beamer Wigley, and cranked out tunes for more than an hour.
Nor was it a bad thing the event was held at the Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre in its secluded outdoor amphitheatre. The setting was stunning, the evening just cool enough to be comfortable, the food and drink exceptional.
To round out the unapologetic schmoozing, local realtor Kevin Primeau coaxed some of his hockey buddies — including former Oiler coaches Ron Low and Bob McCammon and player Chris Joseph — into making an appearance.
But what made the evening great — and secures signature-celebration status for next spring’s Pics & Sticks — was the messaging.
It was an easy sell: partner with us and participate in a community-minded, socially responsible event promising 100 percent of the profits will benefit local youth groups and other charities.
“Talking with folks tonight, it’s been a great start,” said Mr. Bamford after his set. “People want to be involved. They got a little snapshot of what we’re doing and what we want to do and how we want to give back.
“I think if it’s any indication from tonight’s event, we’re on our way.”
No doubt about that.
More than $4,000 was raised Monday evening to start the work early, two of 16 Humboldt scholarships — in the names of Jaxon Joseph and Logan Hunter — filled to help local youth get a post-secondary education.
Commitments were made to help local minor hockey teams sell event tickets — half of the proceeds going to each team, the remainder to charities and Humboldt scholarship funds.
But biggest of all was the communication. The word is out; the local business community enthused and inspired.
“To have the short timeframe we did to get the word out, we’re really happy with it,” said Mr. Primeau. “I think there’s a couple of hundred that we got here tonight and that pretty much was our target.”
Everyone went home happy Monday evening — the biggest smiles on the faces of the event’s sponsors. They’ve now got nine months to put the big show together — a weekend of golf, hockey and country music.
Another spectacular South Okanagan event is on the way. Bank on it.
— Andrew Stuckey