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Yorkton Pickleball grows to over 200 members in four years

Club was established in 2020 and has grown to over 200 members in the past four years.
Pickleball Yorkton continues to see growth. (File photo)

YORKTON– Pickleball Yorkton’s indoor season continues to see growth in both memberships and skill level.

Pickleball Yorkton Club was established in 2020 and has grown to over 200 members in the past four years. The game of pickleball is the fastest growing sport in the world, and was originally aimed at a aging population but as the sport becomes better known, it is widely becoming a sport anyone can play with some level of success.

The Yorkton Club has fuelled the growth in Yorkton by hosting Learn to Play Clinics throughout the indoor season. These clinics give out the basics of the game and helps to ward off any hesitation in our new players, making them feel comfortable on the courts and confident to come out and play during the Drop In Sports spots at the Gloria Hayden. The club has 5 coaches that facilitate the clinics, which aids in building the club membership and teaching the skills needed to play the game.

The PBY Club also provides advanced lessons for the pre-intermediate players in the club. Teaching players the skills that are needed to become more successful on the courts in both recreational and competitive games.

Pickleball Yorkton’s Coaches also have a lesson plan available to those players that seek the competitive edge in tournament settings, with the 3-month Player Development Program. This program gives players the opportunity to practice shots and techniques that will see their success level improve. Discuss strategies and positions on the courts that build teamwork during competitive play. Pickleball Yorkton strives to provide each member with the opportunity to advance their skills and seeks court times so that players can practice in a game setting.

Along with teaching and training new players the club has also challenged it’s members to participate in tournaments put on by Pickleball Yorkton.  The Pickleball Yorkton club hosted three tournaments in the past three months. With the support and sponsorship from Aspiria’s Yorkton Crossings, they have made the February 10th Winter Smash Tournament, the March 16 Men’s Only ‘Spring Slam’ and the March 23 Ladies Only ‘You Go Girl’ Tournament possible.

The Winter Smash Tournament was held at the Gallagher Center Flexihall and saw over 140 competitors come from both Saskatchewan and Manitoba. The day held, Ladies, Men’s and Mixed divisions. Skill levels of 2.5, 3.0 and 3.5+ self-rated categories. It proved to be an action-packed day of hard-fought battles and intense competition. Our local Pickleball Yorkton club members proudly took several of the medals.

Ladies 2.5 saw Diane Davis and Gina Resler take the silver and Bev Bielinski and Kendra Kerr take the Bronze.

Ladies 3.0 had Kim Dobko and Jody Chupa receive the gold medal, and Arlene Osicki and Janet Simpson take the bronze.

Ladies 3.5 Gold medallist Brenda Serfling and Marleen Schrader, defeated 2 strong teams from Regina for the top spot.

Men’s 3.0 Gold Farron Stricker and Lewis Rathgeber, Silver Alvin Sieben and Trevor Hudym, Bronze Terry Spilchen and Ray Clarkson

Men’s 3.5 Gold medallist Ken Kolisnek and Gerard Osicki, Silver Hassan Sief and Jeff Templeton, Bronze Craig Samzow and Kevin Fisher. 

Mixed 2.5 Gold Farron Stricker and Gina Resler took top honours defeating 2 teams from out of town.

Mixed 3.0 Gold Terry Spilchen and Jody Chupa, Silver Gerard Osicki and Arlene Osicki

Mixed 3.5 Gold medallist Dave Bella and Brenda Serfling, Silver Ken Kolisnek and Marleen Schrader and Bronze Craig Zamzow and Chanz Hutton.

The participating PBY players had some tough battles to win to get to their positions on the podium defeating some very skilful opponents.

It was an exciting day for Pickleball at the Flexi-hall and many of the out-of-town players commented on the Gallagher Centre and the amenities within the building. Envy and awe at what we have to host such an event and a promise to come back again for our next tournament.

The next tournament was the Men’s only Spring Slam which PBY hosted at the Gloria Hayden Community Center. This was the first year hosting a men’s only tournament, and the response quickly filled the spots available.

What a tournament! Amazing Competitions at ALL levels! Close matches and hard-fought points. It was exciting to watch as the teams battled it out! Here is the list of the teams that took their spot on the podium. 

PBY winners are underlined. 

3.5+ Gold: Dave Bella & Terry Spilchen Silver: Ken Kolisnek & Kevin Fisher Bronze: Les Covey & Rodrigo Marouelli

3.0 Gold: Lewis Rathgeber & Farron Stricker Silver: John Fraser & Chris Harris Bronze: Matt Harold & Alvin Sieben

2.50 Gold: Jay Hamilton & Tim Hamilton Silver: Jared Franklin & Larry Wintonyk Bronze: Rob McDonald & Bob Purton. 

The Spring Slam Tournament saw many of our members take up the challenge and entered for the first time. It was great to see how well each player did on the courts. Some tough battles and some incredible turn arounds. Some good experienced gained and skill levels tested just makes for a re-commitment to play more Pickleball and come back for the next tournament.

Next up was the You Go Girl Tournament Saturday March 23rd. at the Gallagher Center Flexihall. 

This is the 3rd year of PBY hosting the “You Go Girl” Ladies only tournament and because of its popularity we held it at the Gallagher Centre. It provided a full day of feisty female competition on the courts. With our local Ladies taking up several of the positions on the podium.

2.5 Gold Bernie Blackstock and Norma Schneider Silver Kim Hladun and Ryea Harper, Bronze Gina Resler and Diane Davis.

3.0 Gold Dee Krahn and Danica Smith defeated 2 strong teams from Regina.

3.5 Silver was awarded to Brenda Serfling and Janet Simpson.

All the tournaments that Pickleball Yorkton hosted were made possible by Aspiria’s Yorkton Crossing sponsorship and support. The Club wishes to Thank Aspiria and plans to build on this year’s successes by planning and aiming for bigger and better tournaments next year.

President Gina Resler and the Pickleball Yorkton Board Members are hoping to arrange and organize a committee that will explore the opportunities for Yorkton Pickleball to host the Pickleball Saskatchewan Provincials in 2025. “Based on the response we have had and the comments that were expressed by all our visiting players, the Gallagher Center is the ideal location for a large-scale event like the Provincials. We are still in the process of planning and discussing the requirements to host this event that will draw over 300 pickleball players to our City.” Gina stated, “and with the cooperation of Pickleball Saskatchewan and the City of Yorkton I think we can host a very successful event in the summer of 2025!”

“Some of our Pickleball Yorkton Club competitors are planning to attend the provincials in Regina this summer, so we will see firsthand on how it is organized and learn from it, what we can do differently or better. Either way we are excited to see our players taking the challenge and we wish them all the best in all their competitions” explained Gina.

Outside of the tournaments, regular pickleball play times are at the Gloria Hayden mornings, and mornings at the Gallagher Center Flexihall. All skill levels are welcome at both venues during Drop In Sport spots. Pickleball Yorkton prides itself on being welcoming and patient with new players and everyone remembers that they were once a beginner. With the popularity of the game the number of players coming out to the courts has increased and yes there is some wait times, but everyone gets to play. PBY has 10 indoor courts to play on and if you’re not playing it gives you time to make a new pickleball friend.