Pickleball Festival inaugural event a huge success

Steve Baer

Last month the SaddleBrooke Ranch Pickleball Association held its first annual Pickleball Festival for members. Some 70 matches were played by 64 players over the course of the six day double elimination event. Gold, silver and bronze medals were awarded with 48 members earning medals.

Preliminary rounds took place on Monday, April 14 through Friday, April 18 with the finals, watched by more than 100 people, being held on the stadium tennis court on Saturday, April 19. Players competed in four numerical skill levels (2.0, 2.5, 3.0, 3.5, with higher numbers denoting more advanced players) in three categories: women’s doubles, men’s doubles and mixed doubles.

While the festival was not a tournament per se, players got a taste of tournament experience as every medal match had a referee and line judges. Thanks to Steve Phillips, who trained referees, and Chris Jerman who deployed referees and other monitors.

Bob Hills created the event brackets and schedules while Rich Ferris ensured the brackets were full. Linda Shannon-Hills acted as the lead festival photographer. Many other volunteers handled supply and logistics issues. The association thanks SaddleBrooke Ranch staff who publicized the event to the community and The Bistro, which hosted a happy hour and taco bar after the festival.

Pickleball is one of the fastest growing sports in the U.S. today. Over the past three years our association has grown to 115 members with more joining every month. In fact, SaddleBrooke Ranch has the highest percentage of players per homes of any active adult community in Arizona.