Eva Fearon returns the ball across a net at pickleball practice. Fearon is part of a pickleball group that practices Monday and Thursday mornings at 9:30 a.m. in the Youbou Community Hall. The group is hosting the First Annual Jean Cozens Memorial Tournament this year at the Youbou Hall. Spectators are welcome.

Youbou hosts first annual Jean Cozens Memorial Pickleball Tournament this Saturday

Youbou hosts first annual Jean Cozens Memorial Pickleball Tournament this Saturday at Youbou Hall. Spectators and challengers are welcome.

“Pickleball is one of the fastest growing sports in North America,” Eva Fearon is fond of saying. And it has certainly grown fast in Youbou.

Fearon, a pickleball enthusiast, is one of a group of about 20 men and women who meet Monday and Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Youbou Community Hall to play the sport. From the outside looking in, the sport looks like a complicated mix of badminton, tennis and racquetball, but participants say once you play, you catch on fast.

Youbou’s pickleball group has been playing for three years now and this Saturday marks the 1st Annual Jean Cozens Memorial Pickleball Tournament. Youbou’s first tournament was last year, but this is the first year for the memorial title.

Jean Cozens was also an enthusiastic player of the sport, and played until just a few weeks before she passed away last year.

“She was the one that wanted the tournament with other groups around the lake,” said Fearon. And so this year, Fearon along with Edie Waller and Glenda Sharp from Ladysmith decided to get the tournament going and name it in honour of Cozens.

“Jean Cozens was a really generous person. She did so much in our community and that’s why we chose to honour her memory with our tournament,” said Noni Baanstra, one of the initiators of the Youbou pickleball group.

This year the tournament begins on Saturday at 9 a.m. and runs until there are final winners in the men’s and women’s categories. After the tournament finishes, the participants will meet for a celebratory pot luck and to award the trophies and door prizes. First prize in men’s and women’s categories will receive a trophy that has a mini pickleball paddle, custom made by Dennis Peters.

The winners’ names will be placed on the trophy at a later date.

The tournament is open for spectators from around the lake. Spectating will be free and there will be coffee served.

If you would like to participate in the tournament, the cost is $10.

For more info, contact the Youbou Community Hall at 250-745-3712.