Gracie Barra Okanagan’s first annual in-house tournament was a hit.
Sarah Draht, part owner of Gracie Barra Penticton with Jorden Reichanbach, joked that there were a few tap outs last Saturday. Ninety-four members stepped onto the mat. Among the members were kids competing for the first time in a double-elimination format.
“Even if the kid loses a match, they still get another match,” she said, adding that winners received new gi’s. “It’s teaching the kids good sportsmanship.”
Steve Garrett, who participated with his daughter Gracee, 7, said the tournament was great. New to the sport having joined the club in October, for him it’s simply for fitness.
“The reason I put them (Gracee and youngest daughter Amara) in it is they really are quite gentle, a little soft, little princesses for sure,” he said. “Give them some assertiveness. Give them a competitive drive I didn’t know they have.”
While Garrett won his only two matches, Gracee, competing in 55-pound weight group, was in five and won three by submission. She came back home with a bronze medal.
“They love it,” said Garrett. “Try to put them in as many sports as possible. Jiu jitsu is the one they ask about almost daily. They are super excited to do it.”
After the matches, everyone stayed for the barbecue and got to know the other members that came in from Kelowna, West Kelowna, Vernon, Salmon Arm and Kamloops.