Tuesday, July 27, 2021
 
 
Pickleball Players Score on Way to Nationals as WRV Explodes with Pickleball Players
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Patti Lousen and Tom Bowman scored a huge comeback at the 2021 USA Pickleball Pacific Northwest Regional Championships in Boise.
   
Friday, July 16, 2021
 

STORY AND PHOTO BY KAREN BOSSICK

Two Wood River Valley residents will be playing for a national championship in pickleball in Indian Wells, Calif.

Tom Bowman and his wife Patti Lousen are headed to the pickleball courts in Palm Desert after winning Mixed Doubles Gold at the five-day 2021 USA Pickleball Pacific Northwest Regional Championships in Boise.

Others winning gold included Men’s Single Winner Jim Kanellitsas and Jill Beck, who won Women’s Doubles Gold with Lousen.

 
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Pickleball players become fast friends. But that doesn’t mean these friends are above “killing” the ball when it comes to scoring points.
 

They were among 900 players from 32 states who played in temperatures so hot that organizers had to spend more than $10,000 on tents and other shaded coverings, along with ice to keep the players and spectators cool in triple-digit heat

Lousen played for 10 hours in 95-degree temperatures one day, then competed for more than eight hours with her husband in temperatures exceeding 100 degrees.

They lost their first game, which meant they spent the rest of the day in the consolation bracket rushing form game to game without even time for a lunch break. Then, down 2-11 in the final game, they went on a tear, winning 15-12—a huge comeback.

Fortunately, they won’t have to play in Palm Desert now--when the highs are ranging between 107 and 111 degrees. It should be a bit cooler by December when the national championships are held.

 
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Patti Lousen and Tom Bowman’s mixed doubles gold medals.
 

“It’s so much fun,” said Lousen. “People are so friendly--I have pickleball friends all over the country from Los Angeles to Denver who invite me to their parties. Pickleball players are a most inclusive group.”

Pickleball, invented by a U.S. Senator in 1965 as a way to entertain his bored youngsters, has become a boon for former tennis players who can appreciate the smaller size courts and those just wanting to have fun with a game that combines elements of tennis, badminton and ping pong.

The Sports & Fitness Industry Association estimates that the number of pickleball players nationwide has grown from 1.3 million players in 2016 to 4.2 million today. And the growth in the Wood River Valley has been exponential, as well.

Since 2016 when Ketchum resident Nancy Goodenough introduced several Wood River Valley residents to the sport, the sport has grown to about 400 players in the valley. Bowman counts 280 pickleball players in the Wood River Pickleball Alliance alone.

Pickleball players recently cut the ribbon on eight new blue pickleball courts at Atkinson Park.  And they have a plethora of other pickleball courts to choose from, including four at Heagle Park in Hailey, six indoor winter courts at the Community Campus in Hailey, six at the Valley Club and four at the Heatherlands.

They also have eight new courts at Sun Valley Resort and eight at Elkhorn Village.

Want to know more? Visit https://woodriverpickleball.org

 

LOCAL WINNERS AT THE 2021 USA PICKLEBALL PACIFIC NORTHWEST REGION CHAMPIONSHIPS IN BOISE:

Mixed Doubles Gold—Tom Bowman and Patti Lousen

Men’s Singles gold Jim Kanellitsas

Women’s Doubles Gold—Patti Lousen and Jill Beck

Mixed Doubles Silver—Juli Evans and Rich Evans

Women’s Doubles Silver--Criss Fallowfield and Julie Evans

Men’s Singles Silver—Richard Brown

Men’s Doubles Silver--Geordie Foster and Richard Brown

Mixed Doubles Bronze--Robbie Engelhart

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