Packed with pickle-ballers in Yukon

Indoor racquet sport among highlights of week-long Yukon Senior Games

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Karen McAlister and Griff Henderson compete in mixed doubles pickleball during the week-long Yukon Senior Games. Pickleball combines elements of badminton, table tennis and tennis. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)

By Conrad Dudderar
Staff Writer

The gymnasium at Yukon’s Jackie Cooper Gym was packed with 80 pickle-ballers.

Singles and doubles pickleball competitions were among highlights of the 20th Annual Yukon Senior Games that ran April 12-16.

The Jackie Cooper Gym, 1024 E Main, hosted three days of pickleball matches – doubles Tuesday morning, mixed doubles Wednesday morning and singles Thursday morning.

Invented in the mid-1960s as a children’s backyard game, pickleball is one of the fastest-growing sports in the United States.

“It’s all the rage,” Yukon Parks & Recreation Director Jan Scott said.

Pickleball is a racquet sport that combines elements of badminton, table tennis and tennis.

Several dozen competitors filled the pickleball courts for the Yukon Senior Games.

Registration increased after participants learned they would not have to wear facemasks inside the City of Yukon building. Previous COVID-19 mask guidelines recently expired.

There is an avid group of pickle-ballers in the Yukon area – many of whom are former tennis players, Scott explained.

“They love the game,” she said.

Pickleball participants do not have to run as much as tennis, reducing wear and tear on the body. The sport has the dimensions and layouts of a badminton court, with a net and rules similar to tennis (with several modifications).

Two or four players use solid paddles made of wood or composite materials to hit a perforated polymer ball, much like a wiffle ball, over the net.

Carma Branscum and Richard Lewis show off their pickleball skills April 14 inside the Jackie Cooper Gym, 1024 E Main. Pickleball was among featured events in the 20th Annual Yukon Senior Games. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)

BUT THAT’S NOT ALL…

Pickleball contributed to a busy week for the Yukon Senior Games, which attracted some 120 participants.

Registrants ages 50 years and above competed in pickleball and many other events in Yukon – from billiards and basketball to weightlifting and archery.

The games closed Friday with basketball in the morning and table tennis in the afternoon, both at the Jackie Cooper Gym.

Winners of creative arts contests were announced April 13 during a Hawaiian luau-themed reception inside the Dale Robertson Center, 1200 Lakeshore.

This featured live music by Steve Crossley, dancing, dinner, and dessert.

The Dale Robertson Center also was the site of Yukon Senior Games’ billiards.

Meanwhile, horseshoes, washers and cornhole were hosted by another Yukon Parks & Recreation site – the Yukon Horseshoe Courts in Yukon City Park.

The archery events were at Archery Traditions and fitness/weightlifting at Miller Fit in Yukon.

Two senior games’ competitions were outside Yukon – golf and bowling.

Teammates Claudette Thompson and Neil Cain challenge for pickleball supremacy during the Yukon Senior Games. Registration increased after pickle-ballers learned they would not have to wear facemasks inside the City of Yukon’s Jackie Cooper Gym. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)
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