Pickleball-mania with Rotary of South Walton!

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Rotary of South Walton has helped to bring pickleball tournaments back to South Walton with its second pickleball tournament hosted by and for the Boys and Girls Club of South Walton on Saturday May 22nd. The proceeds of this year’s tournament will once again be applied toward a matching grant from The Rotary Foundation. This is the second year in a row that the organization is applying for this grant for the Boys and Girls Club of South Walton.

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20 players gathered for a King and Queen of the Court format across five different courts. The games were 15 minutes in length and saw some incredible effort and determination from each of the players. There were awards going to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners.

To receive the grant, the South Walton club, like all Rotary clubs, needs to apply to the foundation for a matching grant once a cause has been identified. The Foundation considers the grant, the impact it can have on the local community and the results that can be furthered for helping to contribute to this world. This year’s event was extra poignant as many of the players were able to participate in something like this for the first time in over a year. Add to that Rotary, worldwide, is a leader in communicating the importance of vaccines (as it has with Polio) and vaccinations around the world.

“We are looking forward to hosting this event every year and expect it to grow and become a significant tournament for our pickleball players. And we miss our snowbirds and Canadian friends” said Janine Stouse, this year’s tournament coordinator for the club. Winners were awarded medals in recognition with the Gold going to Ray Braswell, Silver to David Douglas and Bronze to Vipin Pandey, for the Kings. For the Queens, the Gold went to Jeonsuk Anderson, the Silver to Denise Lassiter and the Bronze to Cheryl Majka.

There was also a raffle for prizes donated to help raise funds for this year’s grant. Denise Lassiter, representing the Northwest Chapter of the Emerald Coast of the USAPA (United States Pickleball Association) donated paddles as well as indoor and outdoor balls. Jeff Harris, from Run With It, in Ft Walton Beach, donated two $25 gift certificates. Brenda Whitwell, Financial Advisor with Edward Jones of Inlet Beach was a sponsor. Moe and Janine Stouse of Grayton Beach also helped sponsor the tournament as well. Special thanks and recognition  go out to Sandy and Joe Gulak (of Coastal Seniors of South Walton) for donating time, and pickleball paddles and balls from Gamma Sports.  Joe and Sandy were instrumental in organizing the tournament as well as the set up and take down of equipment. Thanks also go out to Publix and Joe Kelly for their assistance and contributions to help make it a comfortable and successful tournament. Lastly Taylor Goode, as director of the Boys and Girls Club made the location possible for this year’s event.

Plan to visit a club meeting and experience the fellowship, networking and hear about the work going on today in the South Walton community and around the world! In person meetings, with masks and social distancing are currently being held in the conference room at the back of the South Walton Branch Library on Greenway Trail. That meeting is the first and third Thursdays of each month at 8am. Or you might want to visit virtually. To get the link and any other information, please email Membership Chairman Maurice Stouse at moe.stouse@gmail.com or call President Brenda Whitwell at 228.697.0333.

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