Tournament announcement coming May 19

The Owensboro Pickleball Association is scheduled to announce a major tournament on May 19.

“The economic impact of this planned tournament will be huge for Owensboro,” Jared Bratcher, sports director for the Owensboro-Daviess County Convention & Visitors Bureau, said Friday.

Dave Kirk, the CVB’s destination management director, said it’s hard to predict how many teams the tournament will draw.

 “Pickleball people tell me it will be 100 to 150 on the very low end,” he said. “But again, until registration opens, it’s really hard to predict. They’ll be sending information out nationwide.”

The announcement of the details of the tournament will come during the Pickleball Association’s “Bring On The Heat” outdoor tournament on May 18-19 at Moreland Park, Kirk said.

“Pickleball as a sport is exploding across the country right now,” Rene Kuegel, the association’s executive director, said Friday. “We want to capture some of that momentum and bring it to Owensboro.”

Kuegel is a United States of America Pickleball Association Ambassador.

“We have to go beyond our comfort zone when recruiting sports tournaments to Owensboro,” Bratcher said. “I’m excited to try something new like pickleball in Daviess County. One great aspect of this sport is anyone can play no matter their age or ability.”

Pickleball, which was invented in the mid-1960s, is a paddle sport that combines elements of badminton, tennis and ping pong.

It’s played with solid paddles and a perforated ball, similar to a wiffle ball.

In March, Dink Pickleball, a tournament and event management company that operates pickleball events across the country, announced that Owensboro has been selected to host the KY-ANA Pickleball Series Tournament in April 2019.

The tournament, which will rotate between Indiana and Kentucky, is expected to draw more than 200 players from 20 states and Canada for the three-day event, the announcement said.

 It’s expected to pump more than $55,000 into the local economy.

That tournament is scheduled for Centre Court, Owensboro’s indoor tennis center at 2965 Bittel Road.

The May 18-19 “Bring On The Heat” tournament has six divisions. Kirk said 20 to 24 teams are expected for that tournament.

People who don’t have partners can find one on a list of players seeking partners.

Registration ends at noon on May 14. To register, go to owensboropickleball.org or call Rene Kuegel at 270-302-0307.

The cost is $15 for association members and $20 for nonmembers.

Messenger-Inquirer article written by Keith Lawrence, 270-691-7301, klawren[email protected]