Pickleball Interest Growing in Panora

These players participated in a July 13 pickleball round robin tournament at the Panora Community Center gym. Left to right, women in the front are Mary Hansen, Nancy Clawson, Cathy VanGundy and Beth Muenzenberger. Men in back are Duane Spicer, Tony Spencer, Kerry VanGundy, R.D. Coreman, Roger Hansen, Dennis Shepherd and Tim Hopson.

By Susan Thompson

Cathy VanGundy and her husband, Kerry, learned to play pickleball while spending time in Arizona during the winter. This spring, Cathy decided it would be fun to connect with other pickleball players closer to their Lake Panorama home.

She applied for and received a grant from the USA Pickleball Association, which helped her purchase two nets, some paddles and balls. She worked with the City of Panora to gain access to the Panora Community Center gym, and offered free classes to anyone who wanted to learn to play.

“We had about 35 people take lessons in mid-May,” VanGundy says. “We now usually have 12 to 15 people come and play during each two-hour open play. Thanks to the City of Panora, it is free, and we welcome new and beginning players.”

Open play is Monday and Wednesday mornings 9-11 a.m., and Tuesday and Thursday evenings 6:30-8:30 p.m. Although VanGundy says pickleball is a great sport for all ages, this particular program is set up for men and women ages 55 and up. 

Eleven players participated July 13 in a mixed round robin tournament. Each person played with a different partner each round, and kept their own individual score. The tournament winner was Kerry VanGundy with an almost perfect score of 54 out of 55 points.

Cathy VanGundy is pleased with how interest in pickleball is growing in the Panora area. “I’m so impressed with how quickly everyone has improved, especially since most only learned how to play two months ago,” she says. Anyone who wants a free beginner’s lesson in advance of one of the open play sessions can email VanGundy at cathyvg@netins.net.  

“We are looking forward to having two new pickleball courts at Lake Panorama,” Van Gundy says. “Although the air conditioned gym and lack of wind is wonderful, I’ve missed the outdoor play. So now there soon will be two options for play. We are grateful for all the support from our community to introduce and grow this new sport.”