Peggine Tellez, USA Pickleball’s Great Plains Regional Director, spoke with Dinkheads about USAP’s Great Plains Regional Championships, which will be held in June 2022 at Monument Valley Park (MVP) in Colorado Springs.
According to Tellez, the tournament will run for 7 days, starting Monday June 6 and ending Sunday June 12. In 2021, the tournament used temporary, chalked/taped courts located on the tennis courts at Colorado College. The somewhat dilapidated condition of the college’s courts prompted public complaints by some disgruntled tournament players on social media. In 2022, by contrast, the entire tournament will take place at MVP on its 15 permanent, well-maintained courts.
Tellez said the tournament will not be using Bear Creek Regional Park’s courts. Tellez told Dinkheads she repeatedly requested permission to use the courts during the 2021 tournament, but was denied. She also cited some limitations of the Bear Creek facility with regard to tournament operations, such as limited electricity and the lack of level ground on which staffers’ tents can be set up.
A 7-day format has been used by other USAP regional tournaments. Tellez explained that players aged 65 and up will compete during the first three days of the event (June 6-8). The fourth day (June 9) will be devoted to singles. The final three days (June 10-12) will be set aside for players under the age of 65.
Tellez hopes that the new format will provide “breathing room” in case there is poor weather, as was the case during the 2021 event. She hopes each day’s games will conclude by 4 or 5 pm, but MVP has lights. This allows play to continue after sunset if there are delays.
The date of the event — early June — has been moved up by about two weeks compared to the 2021 tournament. Tellez believes this will increase the probability of avoiding monsoon flow.
Tellez said she is looking into the possibility of moving the tournament to another city or state in 2023. She praised Colorado Springs’ Parks and Recreation Department as a “phenomenal partner” but is keeping her options open going forward. There are seven states in the Great Plains region: Colorado, Kansas, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, and Nebraska.