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Sports Update: May 2014

Published: May 21, 2014

The Eugene, Cascades & Coast area may be gearing up for one of its biggest years ever in track and field, but it will also be playing host to a number of other events that may less familiar to some. This summer is a great opportunity to give something new like pickleball a go, or try racing a dragon boat with your coworkers (yes, the Eugene, Cascades & Coast Sports staff will be doing just that!). It’s also a chance to see the largest covered and lighted public skatepark firsthand, along with the incredible improvements made to Eugene’s Washington Jefferson Park.

USA Pickleball Association via Facebook 200 x 300

 

Pickleball is great for all ages! (photo courtesy of USA Pickleball Association via Facebook)

Crunchy Dill Pickleball Doubles Tournament June 7 – 8, 2014, Eugene Family YMCA Tennis Center

You don’t have to be a “big dill” to play pickleball. You just need a partner (and a paddle) for the first ever Crunchy Dill Pickleball Doubles Tournament.

Pickleball is a racket sport that uses solid paddles to hit a perforated ball over a net (think of combining badminton, tennis, and table tennis, and you get pickleball). The pickleball court’s dimensions and layout are similar to those in badminton, with a net and rules comparable to tennis. The sport has been touted as one of the fastest growing in North America, and there is no shortage of tournaments around the U.S.

The tournament in Eugene will include men’s, women’s, and mixed doubles. Registration is open until June 23, and the fee guarantees you at least two matches, plus Saturday dinner, Sunday lunch, and a weekend full of fun. It’s a great opportunity to meet other players from around the area of all ages and skill levels.

Looking to learn the game or want to brush up on your skills? Don’t miss the pickleball clinic the evening of June 7 with practice drills plus pickleball techniques and strategies. Some of the world’s very best players will share their knowledge and expertise to get players ready for the next round of matches on Sunday, or to inspire new players to sign up for the tournament in 2015.

The "soft" opening of the WJ Skatepark was a huge success (photo courtesy of WJ Skatepark + Urban Plaza via Facebook)

 

The "soft" opening of the WJ Skatepark was a huge success (photo courtesy of WJ Skatepark + Urban Plaza via Facebook)

WJ Skatepark + Urban Plaza Grand Opening Celebration June 21, 2014, Washington Jefferson Park (Eugene)

It took ten years of planning and fundraising, but the WJ Skatepark + Urban Plaza in Eugene has finally become a reality. The largest covered and lighted public skatepark in the U.S. saw more than 1,000 skateboarders, BMX and scooter riders, roller skaters, and spectators show up to the “soft opening” in April, and has drawn crowds on a daily basis ever since.

An official grand opening celebration will be held all day on Saturday, June 21 (also celebrated worldwide as “Go Skateboarding Day”). A skateboard demo and competition will take place, and attendees can enjoy other sports, including a 3-on-3 basketball tournament, horseshoes, and bike polo. Live music and vendors will also be on hand. This is a great chance to see the improvements recently made to Washington Jefferson Park, including new restrooms, landscaping, energy-efficient lighting, vendor pads for food carts, and free Wi-Fi throughout the park.

The tentative schedule for June 21 is as follows:

  • 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. - FREE skate lessons provided by the City of Eugene River House Outdoor Program and Tactics Boardshop
  • 11:30 a.m. - Food booths open
  • 1 - 8 p.m. - Retail and community booths
  • 1 p.m. - Dedication ceremony
  • 1:30 - 2:30 p.m. – Live music by Sol Seed
  • 1:30 - 3:30 p.m. - Free skate
  • 1:30 - 5 p.m. - Drop-in horseshoes hosted by the Oregon Horseshoe Pitcher's Association
  • 3 - 4:30 p.m. – Live music by Lafa Taylor (Street Ritual, Make Music)
  • 3:30 - 4 p.m. - Skate demos
  • 4:00 - 7 p.m. - Skate competition hosted by Tactics Boardshop, with music by DJ Foodstamp
  • 5 - 6:30 p.m. - Live music by Sol Seed
  • 7 - 8 p.m. - Live music by Strange Vine

Heroes 2 Oregon Dragon Boat Paddle Challenge July 19, 2014, Dexter Lake

The inaugural Heroes 2 Oregon (H2O) Dragon Boat Paddle Challenge at Dexter Lake is more than just an exciting way for groups to try their hand at racing dragon boats. It’s also a benefit for the Eugene Parks Foundation to support the Oregon Veterans Adaptive Sports Fund. Proceeds will send veterans to the National Veterans Summer Sports Clinic in San Diego for a week of activities, such as sailing, surfing, and cycling (hand and tandem).

The dragon boat crew is made up of 20 paddlers, plus a steersperson at the back, and a caller or drummer at the front. An experienced steersperson and caller will be provided for each boat, along with life jackets and the boats themselves. Get a team of 10 to 18 friends, coworkers, or family together and sign up (this is a great team-building opportunity!), or participate as a “free agent” to be matched up with a group.

This exhibition event is the first of its kind in Lane County, and no experience is necessary. The Emerald City Dragon Boat Club will have their experienced paddlers on hand the day of the event to familiarize participants with what to do. Want an extra advantage? They’re more than happy to set up pre-event coaching sessions for a small fee.

Registration fees for teams increase on June 15, so take advantage of the early bird rates and register today! Be a hero to local wounded veterans looking to regain their active lifestyles.

jess and audraAbout the author: Jessica Chestnut is the Social Media and PR Manager for Convention and Sports. She's called Oregon home for more than 20 years, and there's nowhere else she would rather be than Lane County. She spends her free time snowboarding, skateboarding, camping, floating the McKenzie, watching college football, enjoying local microbrews and spending time with her husband and their boxer-mutt, Audra.

Author: Eugene, Cascades & Coast Sports Commission

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