Missouri Valley / Iowa

Okoboji Tennis Association Unites Community

November 04, 2020

To honor their 100th anniversary in 2020, the USTA Missouri Valley is recognizing 100 deserving recipients with the Gold Star Award. This award recognizes contributions that recipients have made in growing the game of tennis in their community.


In October, Paula Richter of the Okoboji Tennis Association was named a Gold Star Award winner for how she’s worked to incorporate tennis into the Okoboji community and the towns surrounding it.


The Okoboji Tennis Association started out of a desire to share the game with people of all ages in their community, and that is exactly what they continue to do up to this day.


The event that started it all for the Okoboji Tennis Association was the Okoboji World Tennis Classic, an adult tournament that has brought in players from all over the region to compete and have fun since it was founded in the 1980’s.


The tournament was so successful that it piqued the interest of junior players who wanted to participate as well. In order to create a fair, fun and successful tournament environment, the Okoboji Tennis Association decided to create a junior tournament version of the World Tennis Classic and partner with the USTA to have the tournament sanctioned.


From then on, the small-but-mighty Okoboji community has rallied around the sport of tennis and will continue to for years to come.


Richter, Okoboji Tennis Association founder and leader, has a lot to be proud of with what this tennis association has accomplished and is grateful for the service the USTA has been able to provide.


“The USTA does a lot to promote tennis in general and get people excited about tennis,” Richter said. “They provide a great platform for organizations. There’s a lot of tools there that they can help with.”


One opportunity that the USTA has provided that Richter is particularly excited about is the ability to provide beginner-level tennis programming for young children out of their local YMCA.


In regard to the future, Richter shares that they simply want to continue giving back to the game and sharing tennis opportunities for everyone in their community, regardless or age or skill level.


“Service is what brings our community together, and we want to keep that up,” Richter added. “We’ve met the nicest people playing tennis, so we can’t help but to want to help other people.”


The recipients of the Gold Star Award will receive personal items, a plaque and a special gift. Congratulations to Richter and the Okoboji Tennis Association and all of the other Gold Star recipients.

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