The annual early season slow pitch softball tournament raises money for the Owatonna Park and Recreation youth scholarship fund. A record number of teams appear this year.

Friday night's breezy conditions left many wearing sweatshirts, but people gathering for a freshly grilled pork burger and a beverage outside the "cement" tent were still talking about how great the weather forecast was for the weekend. Many years, players and fans have to spend the weekend bundled up against the weather. Two years ago a major snow storm forced an unprecedented one-week delay in the event.

A record 148 teams from eight states are entered in the 36th annual Corky's Early Bird Softball Tournament. The annual Guns vs. Hoses charity softball game between Owatonna Police and Fire Departments kicked off the tournament. A new event this year is a home run derby on Saturday night. Friday night also included a Legends of Softball Reunion time.

The tournament headquarters is at the Steele County Fairgrounds. Some games are on other diamonds around Owatonna.

The top finishers will earn bids to national tournaments.