More than 70 players participate in pickleball shoot-out Nov. 21-22 in AJ

Winning the top three places in the mixed doubles/coed division during the Apache Junction Parks and Recreation's inaugural pickleball shoot-out were, from left, Dick Johnson, Kathy Oliver, Garry Provost, Patti Ivanich, Vivian Sullivan and John Allevi. (Special to Independent Newsmedia Inc. USA/AJ Parks and Recreation)

Winning the top three places in the mixed doubles/coed division during the Apache Junction Parks and Recreation’s inaugural pickleball shoot-out were, from left, Dick Johnson, Kathy Oliver, Garry Provost, Patti Ivanich, Vivian Sullivan and John Allevi. (Special to Independent Newsmedia Inc. USA/AJ Parks and Recreation)

Pickleballers from across the Valley congregated Nov. 21-22 in Apache Junction to compete in the city’s first-ever AJ Shoot-out Pickleball Tournament, according to a press release. The shoot-out was a partnership between Apache Junction Parks and Recreation and the Friends of Apache Junction.

The event’s gold level sponsor was Brookdale Apache Junction Senior Living Solutions (formerly Horizon Bay). Tournament contributors included Pickleball Central and Pro-Lite Sports. Devil Dogs was on hand to provide refreshments.

Winning first through third places in the mixed doubles/coed division were the teams of: Patti Ivanich and Garry Provost, Kathy Oliver and Dick Johnson and Vivian Sullivan and John Allevi, respectively.

Winning first through third places in the women’s division were the teams of: Patti Ivanich and Vicky Joens, Jeanne Hunt and Lindi Hoekstra and Liz Dubisar and Bronagh O’Hagen, respectively.

Winning first through third places in the men’s division were the teams of: John Allevi and Winter Luidhardt, Dick Johnson and Reg Skinner and Mike Duby and Rick Williams.

All games were doubles at the four new lighted courts that are open to the public at Prospector Park, 3015 N. Idaho Road in Apache Junction. More than 70 players ranging in age from 19 to nearly 80 years old participated.

In addition to the park, the Apache Junction Multi-Generational Center, 1035 N. Idaho Road, offers indoor pickleball at the following times: noon-3:30 p.m. Tuesdays, 5:30-8:30 p.m. Wednesdays, noon-3:30 p.m. Fridays and noon-2:30 p.m. Saturdays.

The center offers basic instruction for beginners 11 a.m.-noon on the first Saturday and 6-7 p.m. on the third Tuesday of each month, according to the release.

Pickleball is a paddle sport that combines many elements of tennis, badminton and ping-pong, according to the USA Pickleball Association website. Played with a paddle and 2-3/4- to 3-inch plastic ball, the sport was created for all ages and skill levels in 1965 by three dads who lived near Seattle, Washington, as a way to keep their kids from being bored during the summer, according to the website.

A pickleball court is the same size as a doubles badminton court and measures 20-feet by 44-feet, according to the website. In pickleball, the same court is used for both singles and doubles play.

The city opened its four outdoor pickleball courts on June 21, according to a previous press release.

For more information about the indoor courts, call 480-474-5240.

For more information on future pickleball programs, e-mail the parks and recreation department’s sports coordinator at ggartner@ajcity.net. For more information on this or other parks and recreation programs and services, call 480-983-2181 or visit the department’s website.

The Apache Junction Independent is mailed each month to 35,000 homes.

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