As their sport continues its rise in popularity locally, members of the recently formed Tri-Valley Pickleball Club are bringing an inaugural tournament to Livermore this month that they hope will represent the start of something special for the region for years to come.
The first-ever Harvest Crush Tournament is set to come to May Nissen Park from Oct. 8-9, open to doubles' players from beginner to advanced skill levels -- and spectators are encouraged to attend.
"Pickleball is the fastest growing sport in the United States, and our region of California is working to provide enough courts to accommodate the growing number of players," said Kirby Wong, president of the Tri-Valley Pickleball Club.
"Nationally, other cities are recognizing the tourism value of the sport when tournaments draw players who spend money for hotels, dining, and shopping. We hope that our region will grow the same interest and this tournament is a start in that direction," Wong added.
The club, which was established as a 501(c)(7) nonprofit in February and already boasts a membership over 250 people, strives to grow the sport, support player development and recreational events, and advocate for more pickleball courts across Pleasanton, Livermore, Dublin, San Ramon and Danville.
Pickleball also presents economic development opportunities for the region, according to Wong. He points to the city of Middletown, Ohio, whose population is barely more than half that of Livermore but with the reputation as the "Pickleball Capital of Ohio" hosts an annual tournament that brings a $300,000 economic impact to its community at-large.
The inaugural Harvest Crush Tournament is the club's first step toward building such a presence in Livermore and the Tri-Valley.
The event will open with men's and women's doubles on Oct. 8, and mixed doubles following on Oct. 9. Players will be assigned based upon skill level and age in the event (which is non-sanctioned competition) that spans levels from 2.5 to 4.0, and age groups of 18-49, 50-59 and 60-plus.
The club can accommodate up to 160 players total, with 80 players each day. To learn more or to register, visit trivalleypickleballclub.com.