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Sports Briefs: Pemberton BMX needs your votes

Club shortlisted for $25,000 TSN Kraft Celebration Tour prize

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The Pemberton BMX Club is up and running on its new, BMX Canada-sanctioned track and held a grand opening on Canada Day that featured a First Nations ceremony and a sanctioned double points race that included riders from as far away as Washington and Vernon.

But the icing on the cake was the fact that the club had been shortlisted in TSN's Kraft Canada Celebration Tour the day before, a promotion that awards $25,000 to 10 different recreation facilities or clubs that meet their criteria.

There are 20 finalists for the award who will compete against each other to select 10 official winners, out of a field of over 600 applicants. Pemberton is up against Invermere in the final round of voting, which takes place on Thursday, July 11 at 9 a.m. and lasts for 24 hours. Voting details are online at www.kraftcelebartiontour.ca.

Invermere's application through the local Rotary Club would help build a splash park at Kinsmen Beach, a project with a total price tag of $320,000. The club has already committed $50,000 and raised $20,000.

Pemberton BMX's application would put the money towards a new start gate and staging area for riders.

Invermere has a population advantage with 3,500 permanent residents, while Pemberton has a full-time population of 2,300. However, Pemberton has the BMX communities of Whistler and Squamish on its side, and a long-term goal to create three sanctioned tracks in the corridor to host events and a regional tour. So far Pemberton and Squamish have tracks, and the newly created Whistler BMX club is submitting its own paperwork to build a track in the community.

The Pemberton BMX Club has held four races so far this season, and hosts races every second Wednesday through the summer starting July 10. They also have three camps this year; the first was June 23. Additional camps will be on July 21 and Aug. 18.

The Canada Day race was a double points race, with two races at the tracks in Langley, Squamish and Pemberton. Because of the opportunity to earn additional tour points the event attracted a huge contingent of riders from across the province, as well as a rider from Washington.

"It was pretty cool for the kids to see the level of riding they could potentially get to," said Pemberton BMX president Jessica Turner.

"For the most part a lot of our riders are on the mellower side, and just out to have fun and try out the sport, but the chance is there to go forward with it and do all the travelling and racing that other families do. It's just an amazing community."

In the club's last single point race on June 19, the PBMX had 88 riders taking part. The club itself is over 100 riders at this point and still growing.

Memberships start at $60 for the season, and get cheaper with additional family members. There's also a run bike class membership for $30, and gold memberships for $30. Single point races have a fee of $5 per race.

For more information, visit www.pembertonBMX.com or the club's Facebook page.

Winterhawks lose a close one

The Whistler Winterhawks Midget 1995-1997 squad lost their final game to place second at the Whistler International All Star Hockey Tournament this past weekend.

Their first game was a 5-3 win over the Junior Panthers, followed by a 6-2 win over Raiders Hockey. They lost 4-2 to the Cougar Selects, a team of rep players from Vancouver, then rallied to defeat West Coast Hockey 6-5 in their semifinal game. In the last game they were edged by the Warriors 3-2.

The Midget squad had a banner season, winning league and playoff banners before heading to the Tier 3 provincials, where they placed third. They also placed third at the Challenge Cup tournament back in May.

The Whistler tournament is always a little different, with core players on holidays or otherwise unavailable. The Whistler squad included players from Kelowna and the Lower Mainland.

Eagles short-benched for finals

After going 4-0 in the regular season, the Sea to Sky Eagles Rugby League Football Team would arguably be the favourite going into the B.C. Rugby League Grand Finals this Saturday against the Surrey Beavers. But sport is nothing if not predictable, and the Eagles will head to the fields at Capilano Rugby Club in West Vancouver missing their captain Matt Upton, a 27-year-old Australian living in Whistler who dislocated his shoulder three weeks ago. This will be the first game that Upton will have missed in the team's two seasons.

"It's been really tough on Matty," said head coach Keith Reeves, "he's played through this season's good times and last season's tough times, along with Ally Mac he really deserved to play in the final."

Upton won't be the only player missing. Harvey Bell, the team's leading scorer, landed a contract at the Calgary Stampede he couldn't pass up.

However, the Eagles continue to be confident. "Surrey are a real tough team who really get in your faces and try to provoke you," said Reeves. "We will beat them with skill and pace. We've lost a few key players but this year our squad is strong enough to cope with such losses. In our last two games we scored over 100 points and we will continue to play open, attractive rugby. We want to build a fan base and the best way to do that is to give (fans) something that is attractive to watch."

Kickoff is at 2 p.m., following the plate final between Kelowna and Richmond.

Snowboarder among grant recipients

Alexandra Duckworth, a member of the national snowboard halfpipe team and a Whistler resident, is one of 20 athletes to receive a $5,000 Team Investors Group Amateur Athletes Fund bursary for the upcoming Olympic season.

Duckworth is one of only three members of the national women's halfpipe team, along with two-time Olympian Mercedes Nicoll (sixth in 2010) and Calynn Irwin.

Since its creation in 2000, the Investors Group fund has contributed $1.3 million to Canadian athletes that meet their criteria for athletic achievement, financial need and community involvement.

Duckworth placed in the top 10 twice this season, including the World Championships and World Cup finals.

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