The tourney, which includes a number of different events, will be held from August 9-15 at the newly completed Founders Courts at Battle Point Park. It includes Pickleball clinics, Aug. 9-11, for players wanting to hone their games; the Wooden Paddle Classic on Aug. 12; and Women’s Doubles, Mixed Doubles, and Men’s Doubles, Aug. 13-15. (See a schedule of events below).
The Bainbridge Island Historical Museum is sponsoring the event in cooperation with the Bainbridge Island Pickleball Community. Proceeds from the tourney and the sale of merchandise will benefit the museum.
As many islanders know by now, Pickleball was invented on Bainbridge Island more than 50 years ago by three friends and their families, and the original court still sits in the front yard of Scott and Carol Stover, off of Pleasant Beach Drive on the island’s south end. The Stover’s, who are related to co-founder Bernie McCallum, played on the courts for many years, prior to christening it as a shrine to the game’s origin.
“Kudos to the Historical Museum for recognizing the historical significance of (Pickleball),” says Clay Roberts, a local pickleballer and prime mover behind the creation of the Founders Courts. Sponsoring the tournament “seems like a great way for (the museum) to honor the game that started here.”
Along those lines, Roberts is trying to encourage Gov. Jay Inslee, who lives on Bainbridge, and the Washington State Legislature to name Pickleball as the official state sport. “We don’t have one now,” he says.
The Founders Tournament, initially launched in 2019, is expecting to draw just under 400 participants to the weeklong extravaganza.
“It’s substantially bigger than the last time we did this,” says Sean Megy, an avid player and organizer of the coming week’s event. “There’s lots of moving parts.”
Megy estimates that “30-35 percent” of participating players will be coming from the Seattle area and Sequim – two big Pickleball enclaves – with the remainder a mix of locals and enthusiasts from afar.
There are at least 400 or more regular players on Bainbridge, and in the inaugural tournament two years ago, Pickleballers came from as far away as Florida to attend the event.
Organizers are partnering with Visit Bainbridge to provide relevant information for those visiting – perhaps for the first time – on great places to eat, stay, adventure, and tour as well as links and phone numbers to hotels and other accommodations.
Along with the clinics and the actual play itself, participants and the public at large can purchase hats, T-shirts, and wooden paddles commemorating the tournament and the game’s history, as well as take a tour of “Court No. 1,” located at the Stover’s property.
Interested parties can sign up at the History Museum tent at the Founders Tournament site and hop aboard a Bainbridge Metro Parks District shuttle to the original court. The service will leave daily at 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Masks will be required.
If you’re not a player, but perhaps just interested in watching the tournament, Roberts says the public is more than welcome. He encourages folks to bring their own chair and find places to watch, either in a section between the courts or behind the fencing around the courts. Two misting tents will be available to all in case the temperatures soar this coming weekend, as they are expected to.
“Every day is a different set of events and a different level of competition,” Roberts says. “You can watch really good Pickleball or not so good Pickleball, but if you’ve never played or watched, you might say, ‘I can do that.’”
For more information on the Founders Tournament visit: https://founderstournament.com/
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
Wooden Paddle 2.5/3 * 9 AM
Wooden Paddle 3.5 9 AM
Wooden Paddle 4.0 9 AM
Wooden Paddle 4.5 9 AM
Mixed Doubles 3.5 65+ 2 PM
Mixed Doubles 4.0 65+ 2 PM
FRIDAY, AUGUST 13
Women’s Doubles 2.5 ALL 3 PM
Women’s Doubles 3.0 50-64 8 AM
Women’s Doubles 3.0 65+ 11 AM
Women’s Doubles 3.5 8-49 12 Noon
Women’s Doubles 3.5 50-64 8 AM
Women’s Doubles 3.5 65+ 11:30 AM
Women’s Doubles 4.0 8-49 3 PM
Women’s Doubles 4.0 50+ 11 AM
Women’s Doubles 4.5 ALL 3 PM
SATURDAY, AUGUST 14
Mixed Doubles 2.5 & 3.0 8-49 8 AM
Mixed Doubles 3.0 50-64 8 AM
Mixed Doubles 3.5 8-49 3 PM
Mixed Doubles 3.5 50-64 12:30 PM
Mixed Doubles 4.0 8-49 2 PM
Mixed Doubles 4.0 50-64 11 AM
Mixed Doubles 4.5 8-64 3 PM
SUNDAY, AUGUST 15
Men’s Doubles 2.5 & 3 65+ 12:30 PM
Men’s Doubles 3.0 8-64 12:30 PM
Men’s Doubles 3.5 8-49 8 AM
Men’s Doubles 3.5 50-64 8 AM
Men’s Doubles 3.5 65+ 3 PM
Men’s Doubles 4.0 8-49 8 AM
Men’s Doubles 4.0 50+ 12:30 PM
Men’s Doubles 4.5 8-49 11 AM
Men’s Doubles 4.5 50+ 2 PM
Men’s Doubles 5.0 ALL 3:30 PM
*Numbers represent ability ratings of players