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Pickleball Jamboree at Coiner Park: A Growing Tradition

Pickleball Jamboree at Coiner Park: The annual Cottage Grove Pickleball Jamboree returned  to Coiner Park on June 8 and 9, marking its third consecutive year with a lively display of competition and community camaraderie. Led by Connie Pifer, this year’s event not only aimed to host a weekend of play but also sought to raise crucial funds for Lane Community College’s upcoming pickleball court expansion project. With participants enthusiastically embracing the sport’s growth despite local infrastructure challenges.

Fundraising and Community Support

Initiated three years ago to bring accessible tournaments to the local community, this year’s jamboree attracted 33 participants, each contributing $40 per event. A portion of the entry fees, $15 per player, went to the Emerald Valley Pickleball Foundation, an offshoot of the Emerald Valley Pickleball Club. The remaining funds were allocated to the winners’ prize pool.

The foundation’s mission is ambitious: to establish a comprehensive pickleball court facility at Lane Community College in Eugene, featuring 24 courts, including 10 covered courts. This project shows the growing popularity of pickleball in the Eugene and Springfield area, necessitating more infrastructure to accommodate the sport’s expanding community.

Pickleball Jamboree at Coiner Park (3)

Reflecting its growth, this year’s jamboree expanded from two to five categories, showcasing the increasing interest in pickleball despite limited court availability in Lane County. Connie Pifer highlighted the challenge of hosting tournaments locally due to insufficient facilities, emphasizing the sport’s impact on public spaces and zoning discussions.

It’s one of the reasons that we don’t have tournaments here, there aren’t facilities that are big enough to hold large tournaments,” Pifer said. “As pickleball grows, I’m sure you’ve read and heard about the controversy of taking over tennis courts, real estate, zoning issues, about how it’s noisy, and where do we build courts?  It’s getting more necessary for there to be more courts here in the area.

Winners and Highlights

Among the winners, Kassy Cave of Cottage Grove claimed first place in the 3.5 and under mixed event, alongside impressive performances from Ray Pardee and Garey Chambliss. In the 3.5+ mixed category, Ian Gerlach emerged victorious, with Pifer securing second place and Kyle Ohnemus taking third.

Participants like Alicia Cave praised the event for its camaraderie and competitive spirit, noting the opportunity to compete with players from outside their local community. “The jamboree was a blast,” she remarked. “It’s not just about competition; it’s about the social aspect and the supportive environment fostered by local players.

The jamboree was a blast, It’s not just about competition; it’s about the social aspect and the supportive environment fostered by local players.” – (Alicia Cave)

Marlene Wolf echoed this sentiment, reflecting on her positive experience in team play during the tournament. Playing with new partners was fun.

“Playing with new people was fun, “I was very impressed with the team play my partners, that I had never played with, and I were able to generate.  Although they didn’t place it was their effort and cooperation that helped me come out with wins. This is the most positive experience I’ve had in team play aspect ever in a round robin. That’s what it’s all about”  -(Marlene Wolf)

 

Community Impact and Future Prospects

The sport’s growth in Cottage Grove owes much to grassroots efforts and community engagement, leveraging social media and local networks to promote regular play sessions at venues like Riverside Community Church of God and Coiner Park.

Connie Pifer, a certified instructor through the International Pickleball Teaching Professionals Association, has been instrumental in fostering this growth. She leads classes through Lane Community College’s extended learning program, helping beginners discover the joy of pickleball and fostering a vibrant pickleball community in Eugene.

It’s been really rewarding,” Pifer reflected. “Seeing older adults embrace a new sport and witnessing their joy as they learn and improve—it’s truly fulfilling.

As pickleball continues to gain momentum in Cottage Grove and beyond, events like the Pickleball Jamboree at Coiner Park serve as accelerator for community engagement, skill development, and the expansion of recreational opportunities in Lane County.

Pickleball Jamboree at Coiner Park (1)

News in Brief: Pickleball Jamboree at Coiner Park

The Pickleball Jamboree at Coiner Park returned for its third year, blending spirited competition with community support on June 8 and 9. Led by Connie Pifer, the event aimed to raise funds for Lane Community College’s ambitious pickleball court project. Thirty-three participants competed across five categories, showcasing the sport’s growing popularity despite local court limitations. Winners included Kassy Cave and Ian Gerlach, celebrated for their victories in mixed events. The event highlighted pickleball’s community impact in Cottage Grove, emphasizing grassroots efforts and fostering a supportive environment for players of all levels.

Also Read: 62 year old Linda Thompson’s Pickleball Journey

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