Folks will soon flock to Mount Airy to take part in a sport which is rapidly growing in popularity, according to one local resident.
Jackie Lewis said the Mayberry Pickleball Tournament has drawn the attention of 80 players from North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.
Pickleball, which follows rules similar to those of tennis, uses a plastic ball and over-sized ping-pong paddles.
The sport has really taken off locally in recent years, according to multiple folks involved in recreation in Surry County.
Lewis said it’s growing on a national level as well.
“They now rank pickleball players,” noted Lewis. “We will have some nationally top-ranked players here in Mount Airy for this tournament.”
The tournament Lewis is promoting will take place on June 11 and 12 at Reeves Community Center and Northern Wellness and Fitness Center.
“We’ve had to split it between two locations,” said Lewis. “We will be using five courts. Both locations have been most gracious in letting us use their facilities.”
Play begins both days at 9 a.m., and though the tournament brackets are filled, Lewis said the public is welcomed to come see what pickleball is all about. Doubles play will be held on June 11, and mixed doubles will compete on June 12.
The $25 registration for each competitor will also find a good home, according to Lewis. All proceeds will benefit the Surry County Health Foundation.
Lewis, a retired social services employee, said the foundation supports programs for which the health department has no available funds.
A list provided by Lewis indicates the foundation has helped fund an EKG machine, a security system and toys for the county’s pediatric clinic, educational materials for various programs, behavioral counseling, projects related to the county’s animal shelter, a flu clinic, birth control devices and many other things throughout the course of the past three years.
Lewis said players will compete for bragging rights on June 11 and 12, but they will also have a shot at something many tournaments don’t offer.
Lewis and fellow organizers tried to put a little Mount Airy touch on the awards players receive.
“They are made with Mount Airy granite,” explained Lewis. “They are something different. We are offering a better medal than most places. We are pretty proud of it.”
Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.