SEQUIM — When it came time to christen the new pickleball courts at Carrie Blake Community Park, the Sequim Picklers were quite democratic about it.
After a quick email to the group mid-week, enough players came to fill all 32 spots on the new eight-court facility with a few waiting their turn.
“Everyone wanted to be the first to play,” said Charlie Pugh, Sequim Picklers vice president.
The culmination of a three-year effort to build new courts off of Blake Avenue came to fruition on June 28, with Sequim Picklers and curious park-goers trying their hands (and paddles) in the sport.
The Picklers will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 11 a.m. July 25 at Carrie Blake Community Park, 202 N. Blake Ave. They look to get in plenty of playing time — weather dependent— before then.
“Its great to see it as a reality,” Charlie Pugh said.
Ruby Pugh is one of two club members who are on hand twice a week (Tuesdays, Thursdays) to help newcomers learn the game.
“We had no idea what pickleball was when we got here (in 2014),” Ruby Pugh said. “I came onto courts with flip-flops.
“I had played racquetball and tennis. I thought it’d be easy. Not so much.”
When the Pughs came to Sequim there were about 35 members in the Sequim Picklers club, Charlie Pugh said. Now, there are 171 paid members.
Finding space for players on the courts adjacent to the Sequim Community School at Third Avenue and Alder Street got to be tough, but a community effort and partnership with the City of Sequim made the new courts a reality, Charlie Pugh said.
“Everyone in the club had participated in making these,” he said last week, looking over the dark blue and green courts.
He said the project came it at a little under $300,000, not including the land donation (City of Sequim) and donated architecture work (Christiane Johnson).
Charlie Pugh said Assistant City Manager Joe Irvin was key in getting the project completed.
While the courts took years and plenty of community funding, playing the game doesn’t take much, Ruby Pugh said.
“All a person needs is a paddle and a good pair of shoes and you’re in,” she said.
Gary Poor, a Pickler club member, brought some teammates from the adjacent softball field over to the new courts last week to give them a taste of pickleball.
“They (the courts) are beautiful,” Poor said.
“What I like about the sport has a lot of socializing,” he said.
The Picklers have a schedule posted on the courts detailing when the courts are open for club or public use.
Michael Dashiell is the editor of the Sequim Gazette of the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which also is composed of other Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News and Forks Forum. Reach him at [email protected].