Members of the Quesnel Pickleball Club were tickled pink to be able to play on the city’s first official outdoor courts this Monday (June 17).
Two of West Fraser Timber Park’s tennis courts were converted into six pickleball courts this spring and ten players were breaking in the hard courts as soon as they could.
“It’s so exciting,” said club president Sharon MacDonald, who had just finished her first game. “It rained last night, so we’re really happy it’s sunny this morning.”
The fates have also been shining on the new club, who recently qualified for an Imagine grant through Northern Health.
“We got over $4,600 out of a maximum of $5,000,” MacDonald says. “So we’re very fortunate.”
They plan on spending the money on more equipment as all the paddles, nets and balls the club have used so far have belonged to individual club members.
To break in the new courts properly, the first annual Billy Barker Pickleball tournament has been planned for July 20-21.
Kelowna’s Manta Sports have agreed to sponsor the tournament and will be setting up vendor booths and keeping score.
MacDonald says they also plan on involving Quesnel Special Olympics.
“We’ll see if they are close enough in skill to play a mini-tournament but if not then we’re going to train some of the athletes to do line calling.”
Only three of the six courts have permanent nets so far but some temporary nets were being brought from the club’s stash at Rink 2 to accommodate incoming players.
The club will have access to the courts on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 a.m to 11 a.m and on Tuesday and Thursday from 6 p.m to 8 p.m.
Carson Elementary school will also be playing pickleball as part of their gym program on Mondays at 1 p.m.