Article by Rebecca Band
Photos by Eric Wolfe
About 200 IBEW 1245 futbolistas and their families came to Merced on April 12 for the union’s 4th annual soccer tournament.
Eight teams went head-to-head in the single-elimination tournament, while their families and friends cheered them on. Kids of all ages competed in “junior soccer” along the sidelines, leaving little doubt that futbol is the most popular sport among IBEW 1245’s line clearance tree trimmers and their families.
“It’s a day of friendship, of unity, of solidarity; it’s a day for the members and their families. And it’s a day of soccer, the most popular game in the world!” IBEW 1245 Business Manager Tom Dalzell said at the soccer tournament. “Only one team wins today, but really everyone leaves a winner because of the friendship, solidarity and time that we spend together.”
There was plenty for kids to do. Besides all the soccer on and off the field, there were spirited games of volley ball and two piíƒ±atas that were just begging to get clobbered with a stick. The kids were happy to comply and were rewarded with showers of candy.
Estanislao “Tanny” Hurtado, who works at Davey Tree and played on the Bakersfield team, called the annual tournament “a great idea.”
“We get to meet the other brothers that do the same thing we do for a living, and we get to know each other,” said Hurtado, who represents tree trimmers on the IBEW 1245 Advisory Council. “Most of the players here today know that the union helps us get good wages and benefits, but this is a great event because it reminds the tree trimmers that the union is there for them” in other ways as well.
IBEW 1245 staff and volunteers served up a BBQ lunch of chicken, rice and beans, and also served as judges in the Salsa and Dessert cooking competition. The unanimous verdict: all four entries were delicious, and all four contestants won prizes.
Following lunch, the teams from Bakersfield (in orange) and Angels Camp (in teal) battled it out in the final round of the single-elimination tournament, with Angels Camp squeaking out a 3-2 victory.
Artemio Contreras, an 11-year IBEW member competing on the Angels Camp team, usually brings his son along with him to the tournament, but this year his son had a conflict—he was playing in his own soccer game. Despite missing his family, Contreras says he thoroughly enjoyed the day – and the victory.
“The union has been sponsoring these tournaments for years, and we’ve come every year. Our team always makes it to the finals!” Contreras noted with pride, speaking in Spanish. “I really love futbol. It’s the best! Even though I’m a little old to play, I love to come and it’s a great way to build solidarity.”
A second eight-team tournament scheduled for Fairfield on April 26 was postponed due to wet field conditions. The tournament has been rescheduled for Oct. 4.
Special thanks to IBEW 1245 staff and volunteers who made the event such a success!
Jose Artiga – Kids Games
Alejandro Artiga-Purcell – Kids Games
Jane Cottrell — BBQ