Missouri Valley / Missouri

USTA Missouri to Host ‘Racquet Triathlon’ Fundraiser

Josh Sellmeyer | January 27, 2023

USTA Missouri is encouraging individuals to mark their calendars for an inaugural “racquet triathlon” fundraiser that will take place Sunday, April 16 at Cooper Tennis Complex in Springfield. The fun-filled, all-day event will provide participants the chance to compete in a trio of racquet sports — tennis, pickleball and badminton.


USTA Missouri Executive Director Leslie Echols and President Mallory Weber are coordinating the all-new event. Echols said festivities will run from about 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. outdoors at the Cooper Complex, weather permitting. Indoor courts at Cooper are reserved in case of inclement weather.


Echols got the idea for a tri-racquet event while attending an executive director meeting at the USTA National Campus in Orlando. USTA National employees introduced the attending executive directors to a variety of racquet sports. And during the proceeding days, Echols and other EDs from across the country met to brainstorm ideas tied to recruiting players and getting folks interested in multiple racquet sports.


“It was an awesome experience,” Echols said. “We talked about how to bridge the gap between racquet sports. So, for example, with tennis and pickleball there is sometimes a little bit of tension of ‘Oh, they’re using our courts’ or ‘We want more courts,’ things like that. The fundraiser was born out of some of those conversations to have a triathlon event and encourage people to participate in all those sports.”


Entrants will get to play as a pair in each of tennis, pickleball and badminton in the doubles-only event. No experience is required to participate.


“We’re excited about it,” Echols said. “We think it’s going to be a great way to introduce different racquet sports to different people. And bring the racquet sport communities together. It just gives people a chance to try out something they haven’t before.”


And in the process of attempting a brand-new sport or two, participants will also be supporting a good cause. Funds raised from the event will go toward continuing to help USTA Missouri expand its reach. Funds may be used for promoting programming in untapped pockets of the district, community outreach and/or the creation of a scholarship fund. Ultimately, the USTA Missouri Executive Board will make that call.


“Mallory and I are excited. We decided to involve the board and let them make the final decision,” Echols said. “We think that’s a fun way to approach it. Have some different possibilities, but then let the board decide how those funds will be best used.”


In addition to individuals saving the date of April 16 and spreading the word about the fundraiser, Echols and Weber are requesting sponsorships and donations. Businesses or individuals interested in contributing can contact Echols via email at ustamissouridirector@gmail.com.


“Especially since we’re talking about potentially making this a scholarship opportunity, we would love to see some donor support for that,” Echols said. “This is the first year we’re doing the program, so any support we can get is greatly appreciated. And then hopefully this will become something we can continue to do every year.”



Skip Advertisement


Related Articles

  • Nick Mathis and Madi Smith attended Lee’s Summit North High School together and became friends while taking Chinese class at the Kansas City-area school. Smith — who began playing tennis her freshman year of high school — and a couple of her friends convinced Mathis to give the sport a try. Read More
  • As part of Women’s History Month taking place in March USTA Missouri is highlighting Donna Hoffmann, a league player who broke gender stereotypes by playing sports and teaching them prior to Title IX’s passage. Read More
  • Brandy Lynch — an associate professor at the University of Central Missouri — approached USTA Missouri Valley Community Play Manager Lindsay Hall with a suggestion at the MOSHAPE Annual Convention this past November. Read More