OUR CLUB HISTORY
Fort Pickleball Club History
The sport of Pickleball had its beginnings in Fort Qu’Appelle in 2014, when local resident Brian Casper returned from a trip down south full of enthusiasm for the sport. Brian organized and encouraged people in the area to start playing on the local tennis courts. Pickleball lines were painted on the two south tennis courts and the fun began!
In 2015 there were approximately 40 players participating in play.
2016 saw Jack Huntington take over the role of president and the fun continued!
The Club applied for the New Horizons Grant for Seniors in hopes of renovating the two south tennis courts; in early 2017 word was received that funding was denied due to the fact that the town owned the courts.
With Murray Schultz elected as president in 2017, the club assisted the Town of Fort Qu’Appelle in applying for the New Horizons Grant for court renovations. Temporary repairs were made to the south tennis court surfaces and Pickleball lines were painted on the north courts at the cost of $3,800 with our club paying $800 and the town paying the balance. A free beginners clinic was held in May.
In 2018, with Garnet Fry elected club president, the town received the $25,000 New Horizons Grant for court renovations. The total cost of renovations was over $50,000. Donations were received from private citizens, the Town of Fort Qu’Appelle, the Fort Qu’Appelle Lions Club, the Fort Qu’Appelle Tennis Club, the Village of B-Say-Tah, the Lipton Pickleball Group, and the Village of Fort San. Donations of time and/or material were received from the Prairie Co-op, The Fence Men and CF Asphalt. As a result, the two crumbling south tennis courts in Fort Qu’Appelle were transformed into three beautiful dedicated, fenced Pickleball courts, and one combination Pickleball/tennis court. Late in the summer of 2018, the dream became a reality! Fort Qu’Appelle was the second location in Saskatchewan to have dedicated Pickleball courts.
In 2019 our club hosted a successful Grand Opening Tournament on June 23rd with 81 participants taking part. Rain threatened to put a damper on things, but in the end it turned out to be a great day! A Kids Clinic was held in July with 19 happy participants.
In 2020, despite the Covid-19 pandemic, our club had a great outdoor season with over 50 active members. Our club created bylaws and became affiliated with Pickleball Saskatchewan Inc. The perimeter fence was deemed a safety hazard due to people getting cut and snagging clothing on the rusting chain link fencing. The fencing was replaced at a cost of $8,573.46. The Town of Fort Qu’Appelle contributed $3,886.19 to the project. Our club contributed $4,687.27. The Fort Pickleball Club later received a Community Living Grant in the amount of $3,365.02 to help defray the cost.
The Fort Pickleball Club is comprised of players not only from Fort Qu’Appelle, but also players residing in several surrounding communities. Our club is appreciative of the continued support that we receive from the community and strive to give back when able to. The Fort Pickleball Club has participated in Town Clean Up Days. The club has donated to the Lions Club and the Qu’Appelle Valley Centre for the Arts.