The McQuade softball tournament is back for it’s 47th year and with it this year comes the return of some new teams from afar.

For the first time since 2019 Canadian softball players were able to cross the border to compete. One of those is the Wiserman team from Winnipeg. They have experienced McQuade seven or eight times before this summer, and they say were itching to get back on the diamond in Bismarck.

“This is almost like a softball festival for us the way we come down — the social event on Friday night and Saturday and stuff like that it’s just absolutely fantastic,” Richard Hildebrendt said. “Softball isn’t nearly as big in Canada as it used to be anymore and it’s always a nice change of pace for sure.”

It’s not just the players that come from afar. The annual McQuade tournament requires more than 100 umpires to officiate games. That brings another unique group of people together, and for most of them it’s a chance to get reps on the diamond.

That’s the situation for Patrick Dyson, who is from Long Beach, California, but made the trek to Bismarck to get the opportunity to umpire high level slow pitch softball games.

“It is super large, and yesterday the crowd size was probably the biggest I’ve seen in any kind of recreational softball, so it was pretty amazing to umpire in front of such a large crowd,” Dyson said. “I think it’s for a good cause and I’m glad to be able to come out and help and meet a bunch of great umpires and get some advice and some help. It’s been a great time so far.”

The McQuade Charity tournament wraps up on Sunday in Bismarck.