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Semiannual pickleball tourney has an IMPACT


Photo by Steve Lee
Executive director Angie Kagey shares a space under the registration tent with her husband Bill and board member Dre Lee.

IMPACT seems to have found a new and fun way of raising funds for its cause by hosting a third semiannual pickleball tournament earlier this month.


No doubt there will be another one — Oct. 26 to be exact.


“Pickleball is so popular and the idea of hosting a fun, new fundraising event that can include men and women, young and old people expanding our reach and visibility, seemed like a great idea,” IMPACT educator and board member Tammy Bradley said.


The nonprofit program, which has served Hillsborough County for more than 20 years, educates teens on choosing healthy lifestyles and relationships through high schools, churches and community organizations.


Photo by Steve Lee
Organizer Tammy Bradley, who also played in the tournament, is flanked by champions Ryan and Amy Tirona.

It encourages them to avoid high-risk behaviors, withdrug and alcohol and sexual risk avoidance practices.


“I think people in the community just love to play,” Bradley said. “It’s just a good opportunity to come out, have fun, learn a little bit about IMPACT and what we do and why

we do it; and hopefully help support it.”


Bradley not only helped organize the tourney but played in it.


“The greatest joy I have is getting to meet new people with a common love for pickleball,” she said. “No matter where you go or who you play with, you are connected in a unique way.”


Poto by Steve Lee
The top men’s advanced players posed together.

About 60 players turned out for the series at High 5 in Brandon. Awards were doled for winners in beginner, intermediate and advanced groups of men’s, women’s and mixed doubles. Championship rounds were the best of three.


That is a marked expansion from the inaugural fundraiser, which was a mixed doubles tourney with random partners.


“We got feedback that people would rather choose their own partners,” said Bradley, noting that men’s and women’s divisions were added to the ensuing series. “We experienced a learning curve and have improved in every tournament.”


Photo courtesy of IMPACT
Here are the top mixed doubles teams.

The tourney also has picked up sponsorships since the first one with shout-outs for sponsors during subsequent events, with Bradley noting that “Ultimately, this benefits all the students who hear the messaging that IMPACT offers.”


Hosting pickleball tourneys each fall and spring is becoming a primary fundraiser for IMPACT.


“We are hopeful that we can continue doing them semi-annually, as long as we continue to get the response and support from our community,” Bradley said. “Being able to play in an event that I helped plan allowed me to hear the comments from people who were having a great time and maybe hear some things we can improve upon.”


BY STEVE LEE

Times Total Media Correspondent

Photos courtesy of IMPACT

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