The Red Deer Pickleball Club has received $30,000 from the City of Red Deer to help host a national championship next summer.
Council unanimously approved funding for the event that’s anticipated to run from Aug. 9 to 16, 2021.
As a competitive pickleball player, Coun. Lawrence Lee exempted himself from voting.
The money will come out of a $325,000 municipal fund for helping with various sports events and sponsorships.
Many such events have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as the Canadian Finals Rodeo and the Hlinka Gretzky Cup.
If next summer’s pickleball tournament also has to be cancelled, due to prolonged viral impacts, council was told the funds would be returned.
The pickleball club successfully bid on the national tournament that’s expected to draw about 900 guests.
The event is anticipated to boost local hotel revenues by $200,000 and add an additional $125,000 to the local economy through the purchase of food and supplies.
Coun. Ken Johnston said he was “delighted” to support the national competition, noting that the city budgeted for local pickleball courts several years ago.
The club has grown from 30 members in 2013 to more than 400 members as of 2019, including six trained coaches.