Tuesday July 28, 2015

There were 55 players signed up to play in the Alpine Bank of Delta Pickleball Tournament on June 28-29 at Bill Heddles Recreation Center’s tennis courts. The number of people playing the relatively new sport has increased dramatically across the country and abroad.

The 55 participants in last weekend’s tournament in Delta hailed from Montrose, Ridgway, Eckert, Grand Junction, New Castle, Glenwood Springs, Clifton, Carbondale, Durango, Delta, Surprise, Ariz., Cedaredge, Austin and Olathe.
Winners were crowned in six divisions.
Six teams were entered in the 3.0 Men’s Doubles division with Rick Lane (Durango) and Lorin Stern (Surprise, Ariz.) taking home the top prize.
From the 3.0 Women’s division, Jodi Slagter (Cedaredge) and Jill Pulford (Montrose) captured top honors in the four-team field.
Rick Marion and Maxine Behrman (Delta) won first place in the seven-team 3.0 Mixed Doubles competition.
In 3.5 Men’s Doubles, seven teams battled for the top prize, with James Main and Dale Parker (Glenwood Springs) earning first place in a seven-team field.
The 3.5 Women’s Doubles winners were Janine Burke (Grand Junction) and Sydney Hays (Glenwood Springs). There were six teams vying for honors in this division.
Main and Hays topped a 14-team field in the 3.5 Mixed Doubles competition to place first. Main has been playing steadily for three years and has played off and on for the past eight years. He grew up in Washington state where pickleball was popular. Hays, to show just how the sport has evolved, has been playing for about a year and a half.
The second-place winners in the 3.5 Mixed Doubles division, Daria and Ryan Harlow, have also been involved competively in pickleball for about one and a half years. Daria is the area USAPA (Pickleball Ambassador) for the area. The Harlows won their division in the Grand Junction competition recently.
Pickleball courts are small enough to have one court on each side of a regulation-sized tennis court. The dimensions are 44 feet long and 20 feet wide. Two service areas are split into 10 feet each on either side of the net with a seven-foot no volley zone on each side of the net as well.
The game is played with a paddle that is of solid construction (special construction) about a third the size of a tennis racket. The ball is made of durable plastic with holes in it and there are different designs for an indoor versus an outdoor ball. Either may be used outside or indoors.
The team serving scores points, with the first team to reach 11 points declared the winner (there are variations in scoring). The winning margin must be by two points and teams must win two of three matches to earn the victory.
Pickleball is a combination of tennis and table tennis skills. Players impart a variety of spins and angles on the ball to gain advantages as often as possible.
There are five legs of tournament play teams may be involved in on the Western Slope. The first leg was in Grand Junction, with Montrose hosting the second leg. Delta was the third leg, with competition moving on to Durango for the fourth leg and finishing in Glenwood Springs for the final leg.
A male and female team Grand Champion is crowned at the conclusion of the five legs of play. Winners are determined by points. Players earn a point when they play in each tournament, pick up five points for a first-place finish, four points for second-place, and three points for third place. The winners receive $50 cash.
Pictures below were provided by Whitnee Lear.

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