'Just can't believe we did it': Inuvik team celebrates Yukon slo-pitch tournament win

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Barry Jacobson, founder of Inuvik's Barry Pickers slo-pitch team, poses with a trophy the team won during the Dawson City, Yukon, Labour Day Tournament.  (Barry Jacobson Facebook - image credit)
Barry Jacobson, founder of Inuvik's Barry Pickers slo-pitch team, poses with a trophy the team won during the Dawson City, Yukon, Labour Day Tournament. (Barry Jacobson Facebook - image credit)

A Northwest Territories team won the Labour Day slo-pitch tournament in Dawson City, Yukon, this weekend.

Barry Jacobson, captain and founder of the Barry Pickers from Inuvik, N.W.T., said he's still in shock.

"Still getting used to it, for me," he said, "just can't believe we did it."

The annual slo-pitch tournament attracts teams from across the North who gather at Dawson City's Minto Park for round-robin matches on Friday and Saturday and playoffs on Sunday.

Jacobson describes his team, which has been together since about 2014, as "middle of the pack" within the local league. This year was the third time they've competed at the Dawson tournament.

"It was a great tournament to play and it's always fun," he said. "Everybody's laughing."

Submitted by Barry Jacobson
Submitted by Barry Jacobson

Jacobson said at one point over the weekend, it started pouring rain "pretty heavily," forcing a stop to a game in which they were up six nothing.

"Lightning started to happening and [we heard] the thunder close," he said. "The organizers called the game and we had to finish it off Sunday morning at 8 a.m."

He said they "barely beat" the team the next day, but managed to pull through.

Dawn Kisoun, the tournament organizer, said this is the first time in 24 years — at least since she's been living in Dawson and attending every Labour Day softball tournament — that a Northwest Territories team has won.

Kisoun grew up in Inuvik, and is a past president of the Dawson City Slo-pitch Association.

She said the Alaskan team typically wins the tournament, but they haven't come to play for three years now, since the COVID-19 pandemic. She said it was exciting to watch Jacobson's team win.

"It's people like that that make me continue doing this because they have so much fun here," Kisoun said.

The grand prize was an ounce of gold, along with jackets.

Meanwhile, the Carmacks Hawks, from Carmacks, Yukon, came in second, and the Inuvik AJs came in third.

Kisoun said slo-pitch has always been a popular sport in Inuvik, something she attributes to the 24-hour sunlight.

"As a kid, we were never home in the summertimes, because the softball diamond was always there for us to play around," she said. "Our parents always knew where we were — at the ballpark."

Jacobson brought the trophy to the ocean for some photos, to be sent off to Kisoun.

Next year, his team plans to go back to the tournament.

"I think we're going to try to bring the same team back with us to Dawson," he said. "I think most of the people that we had they're on board to come back, if not all of them."