Local, Regional Pickleball Tournaments Announced for New Evansville Courts
Tourneys offset facilities upkeep; Grand Opening Tournament, May 10 through the 12th, Evansville City Championships, June 8th and 9th, Wesselman Summer Open, August 3rd through the fifth
Currently, the new pickleball courts at Wesselman Park in Evansville are waiting for the final coating.
But in about six months, the site will be busy with players from around the tri-state, volleying the brightly colored, wiffle-ball type spheres back and forth in hopefully friendly competition.
The City of Evansville along with the Evansville Community Pickleball Association — formerly the Evansville Pickleball Outdoor Courts (EPOC) — have announced the first set of pickleball tournaments at the new city facility.
So far three tournaments have been announced at the facility still under construction. The first is the Grand Opening Tournament — May 10th through the 12th, Evansville City Championships — June 8th and 9th and Wesselman Summer Open — August 3rd through the 5th.
“We will also be soliciting larger pickleball events that will bring others from outside of the community,” said Interim Parks Director Steve Schaefer. He said there are already local tournaments in the city for sports like tennis and golf.
“(We’re) trying to create some energy and excitement around the sport. We know it's already out there. We know that people are playing at all sorts of different facilities. But having a city championship is a fun annual activity to have. We also have the city swim championships. So just recreating it for a different sport.”
The courts should be ready by early 2024. The restrooms are almost complete, and they’re waiting on good weather to coat the new courts.
Schaefer says these facilities can handle local and regional tournaments, according to USA Pickleball.
“We've been working with USA Pickleball, we've been working with other pickable organizations, both locally, regionally, and nationally, to make sure that our courts are ready for tournaments and those types of events.”
There are restrooms, but no kitchen facilities, so these tournaments are better suited for food trucks instead.
According to Steve Burgess, chairman of the EPCA, tournaments are a great way to make these facilities self-sustaining when they need to resurface courts or buy more nets. They also have to pay for a tournament director to run each event.
Burgess says it can also build community.
“Tournaments bring people from Vincennes, from Washington, from Jasper, from Owensboro, from Henderson and it gives us an opportunity to compare our growth and a sport amongst everybody else.”
He said they expect fewer entrants in the inaugural tournament because it’s so new — maybe 300 to 500 — with multiple age and skill levels.
“So the initial tournament, in May, Mother's Day weekend, we will have a 50-plus category and a 49 and under category, we are expecting between three and 500 entries — so 500 entries would be 250, teams.”
These tournaments are for players with a novice skill level of 3, up to level five and professional.
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