I was born six months after the inaugural Yass Knockout in 1989.
But, growing up out of town I knew nothing of the tournament until I moved to Yass around 18 months ago.
My first Knockout experience was an absorbing one.
I played with a team consisting of friends from the University of Canberra and, after just the first game, found myself sore, stiff and feeling a little under the weather (partially due to the night before).
Six fast-moving games later, over the course of 48 hours, I wasn’t feeling well at all. But, somehow we had managed to finish third in, what I think was C-grade. The prize-money paid for that night out.
It was a big weekend but, throughout it all I forced myself to stop and look around and take in the enormity of the tournament.
An event this big is extremely abnormal for a town the size of Yass. Not all country towns this big experience a sporting tournament that is the biggest of its kind in Australasia.
One hundred and four teams came and went over the course of three or four days last year. This year there are 102 teams registered which means the number of people converging on the Yass Valley will be almost as significant.
Along with Classic Yass, and now the Turning Wave Festival, I consider the Yass Knockout to be just as important. It brings loads of money into the Valley obviously, but it also puts us on the map as a town which truly loves its sport.
It shows we are a healthy, competitive, but extremely social bunch of locals that love accepting and meeting new people.
And, to me anyway, that’s what it’s all about.