The Klamath Basin saw its first ever public pickleball tournament Thursday.
The Y Senior Pickleball Tournament started its three-day tournament with female doubles play.
The pickleball tournament was supposed to be held at the Running Y Ranch Resort before air quality became too difficult to play in but found a second location at Harbor Isles Fitness and Tennis Club.
After having over 100 people sign up for the tournament, the numbers dwindled down but the event still had 75 participants.
Klamath Basin Pickleball Association had a private tournament last year at the Running Y.
Soon after, an idea blossomed to have a tournament for everyone to be a part of.
Several months of preparation ensued for KBPA before its originally idea was taken away.
“People began to cancel and did not sign up after they read we had the worst air in the United States,” KBPA vice president Rick Zwartverwer said. “We are hoping we can have the tournament at the Running Y next year, and hopefully double or triple the turnout. It is great to have the first pickleball major tournament here that has been advertised across the United States.”
Zwartverwer is also an ambassador for the USA Picleball Association and does his part to introduce the sport to new people.
There were still several participants and couples who came hours away to compete.
A duo from Lake Tahoe heard of the tournament and participated Thursday.
Mark Pace is originally from the area before he moved to Hermiston two years ago.
Pace took vacation time from his job in Pendleton to play in the weekend tournament.
Pace has been involved with the sport for over a year now.
The Y Senior Pickleball Tournament will be his second time participating in a competition.
Two months prior in a tournament in Washington, he earned a bronze medal in men’s doubles and was a match away from a bronze in mixed doubles.
“My mother-in-law is a part of the sport here and it is great for us to come down here and enjoy this,” Pace said.
The female doubles had three different categories.
The gold medal for the women’s doubles skill group of 60 and over for 3.0, 2.5 players went to Cheryl Wimpey and Gloria Hahn, both from Mt. Shasta, Calif.
Cecelia Amuchastegui and Janice Casebeer, from KBPA, earned the silver medal.
For the women’s doubles 60 and over, 4.0, 3.5 group, Dee Turner and Penney Peloquin, from The Dalles Pickleball Association, took gold.
Beverly Pratt and Jennifer Whitmire, from the Palm Creek Pickleball Club in Casa Grande, Ariz., earned silver.
The final group featured women’s doubles for ages 50 through 59.
All teams played in a round robin format and played each team four different times.
The pair of Patricia Curtis and Alison D’Olivo did not lose any of their four matches and faced off in the championship match against Barbara Martin and Sarah Malaby.
It was a match of familiarity with all players in the KBPA.
The duo of Curtis and D’Olivo appeared to have the match won before they were stuck at point 13 and had their opponent inch closer at 13-8.
Martin and Malaby came as close as 14-11 before the match was lost on a fault and gave the gold medal to Curtis and D’Olivo.
The pair had never played in a tournament before after having met two years ago.
Curtis’ partner was unable to play and asked D’Olivo if she would team up with her less than two weeks ago.
A three-hour practice earlier in the week was their only preparation.
Today will start the men’s doubles and Saturday will be the mixed doubles competition.
“I just did not want to let my partner down and she did not want to let me down,” D’Olivo said.
“It is great to have someone who keeps it positive and that helps you in all aspects in life,” Curtis said. “Be around people who are positive.”