With pickleball becoming a big "dill" across the country, a newly founded Jefferson City club plans to host its first pickleball tournament this weekend, with some of the proceeds going toward a good cause.
The Jefferson City Pickleball Club will host Pickle-Dilly 2019 from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Lincoln University tennis courts, 635 E. Dunklin St.
Invented in 1965, pickleball combines aspects of badminton, tennis and table tennis, according to the USA Pickleball Association. It has a net similar to those used in tennis and a ball with holes in it.
"Pickleball has been around for a little bit, but it's one of the newer sports so it's growing rapidly," club secretary Susan Kerrigan said. "It's a sport for all ages. We have some children of players who will come out all the way up to someone who is 77 years old. It's a good sport that can be played for many years and keep people active and involved."
More than 50 people registered for this weekend's tournament, Kerrigan said.
While registration closed earlier this week, players can go to r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=30712 to sign up for a waiting list.
When the club formed in February, Kerrigan said, members wanted to help local organizations while raising awareness of the sport.
The 34-member club plans to donate a portion of its proceeds from the tournament to Special Olympics Missouri to help purchase pickleball equipment, Kerrigan said. Club members plan to mentor SOMO athletes as they learn the sport, she added.
The remaining proceeds will go toward paying tournament expenses. Several sponsors have stepped up to help with the tournament, though, Kerrigan said.
Backwoods BBQ Smokehouse and RJ's Real Italian Ice will have vendor carts at the tournament site. Several other vendors are offering raffle items like jars of pickles, paddles and balls.
If it rains, the club will reschedule the tournament to June 1-2.
By hosting tournaments and teaching others how to play pickleball, Kerrigan said, the Jefferson City Pickleball Club hopes to promote the sport in the community and encourage the city or YMCA to create permanent pickleball courts.
While there are pickleball courts at The Linc, YMCA, Washington Park and Lincoln University tennis courts, Kerrigan said, the club must share those courts with other sports. The courts also sometimes have additional lines on them or the club must add its own pickleball lines.
For more information about the club, visit jcpbc.org.
Club members refer to this website for more information about the sport of pickleball.
This article was updated at 1:25 p.m. May 16, 2019, to link to an external website with information about the sport of pickleball.