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Pickleball was a 'smash hit' at Looney Days

Committee needs roughly $30,000 more in fundraising to complete the courts

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The Vergas Pickleball Courts were a big draw during the Looney Days festivities on Saturday, Aug. 14.
Barbie Porter / Detroit Lakes Tribune
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VERGAS – The recently completed Vergas Pickleball Courts along Otter Tail County Highway 4 were a big draw during the Looney Days celebration on Saturday, Aug. 13.

“The organizers did a fantastic job,” said Bill Esser, a summertime Loon Lake resident.

The Pickleball Court Committee took the idea of having four courts from a dream to reality in one year. Discussion began in 2021 and quickly gained momentum to the point enough funds had been raised to install a concrete base. This past spring, the fence was installed, the concrete was painted and temporary nets were put in place.

Committee member Ron Franklin explained the permanent nets have been ordered and are set to be installed this year.

While the courts look complete, the fundraising goal is not. Franklin said between $25,000 and $30,000 is needed to pay for the court. He explained the committee wanted the Looney Days crowd, which is filled with visitors stretching from Fargo-Moorhead to the Twin Cities, to see the completed product. So, a loan was secured.

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The Vergas Pickleball Courts are almost complete. The committee is looking to raise up to $30,000 to fully pay-for the court and purchase remaining items, such as signage and player equipment that will remain at the park for people new to the sport to use.
Barbie Porter / Detroit Lakes Tribune

Committee member Shannon Charpentier said the remaining funds will also pay for equipment anyone can use and court signage to recognize sponsors, such as Franklin Fence and the Franklin family who have the court naming rights. To donate, contact the city of Vergas (218) 302-5996.

The sport was undoubtedly a draw, as more than 50 people took advantage of the opportunity to play pickleball. All skill levels were seen by event organizers, and Charpentier estimated half of those attending had never played the sport before they visited Vergas.

Pickleball requires players to use a paddle to hit a ball over a net. The rules combine tennis, badminton and ping-pong.

Since the courts opened, Franklin said a group typically plays at 8 a.m. He said all are welcome to join in the fun.

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