Pickleball tournament fund-raiser makes debut at Apex Center

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Nearly 50 intrepid pickleball players took to the courts September 26 and 28 for the first-ever Pickleball Mixer Challenge at the Apex Center, 13150 W. 72nd Avenue, Arvada. All of the tournament fees – more than $5000 – were donated toward a matching grant fund in support of a potential project of eight outdoor pickleball courts in Arvada.

Tournament player Georgina Lynch described the event as “…a total blast: fun to play, fun to watch, good facility, good food and good people!”

The area’s pickleball community is enjoying robust growth, thanks to “Pickleball Ken” Marquardt, area ambassador for the sport, who coordinates playing times, places and events. Right now, there are about 500 involved and enthusiastic players in the northwest metro Denver area.

For the uninitiated, pickleball is played on a court, like tennis but half the size, with a Wiffle ball and paddles. The game’s roots go back to 1965, when Washingtonians Joel Pritchard and friend Bill Bell decided to liven up an afternoon at Pritchard’s home with a game that the whole family could play together. Soon afterward, pickleball grew in popularity; today, it’s played across the US and is included in the National Senior Games.

Congratulations to the winners in the Apex Center Pickleball Mixer Challenge:

  • First place: Dave Kunze and Eileen Egloff
  • Second place: Don Barron and Jean Marsh
  • Third place: Tom Carey and Nancy Mrcek

Thanks to these tournament sponsors for their generous donations of food to sustain the players and spectators, as well as some fantastic prizes: 3 Sons Italian Restaurant, Apex Park and Recreation District, Home Instead Care, Indian Tree Golf Course, Ken Mart Inc., and Subway.