St. Jude Gala and Pickleball Rodeo Fundraisers

Division A winners (left to right): Craig Witt, Judy Brown, Pat Kolarik, and Sandra Hubbard

Division B winners (left to right): Steve Comito, Donna Davis, Jackie Comito, and Madelyn Witt

Beth Larose displaying one of the gift certificates to the crowd

Erika Lochow and Bill Foraker

In lieu of an annual Quail Creek Classic Pickleball Tournament fundraiser for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Quail Creek Pickleball Club members organized a Holiday Gala at the Madera Clubhouse on the evening of Dec. 3, followed by a Pickleball Rodeo on Dec. 5.

The Gala, under the leadership of Beth Larose, Bill Foraker, and Beth Fauber, was a festive and formal social evening of appetizers and dinner, with music throughout the evening by Will Foraker. Ninety-eight Quail Creekers attended the Gala and raised $9,425 through personal monetary donations and goods and services donations from local businesses and residents, and a surprise raffle and live auctions.

Eighty Quail Creek pickleball players participated in the rodeo, organized by Erika Lochow, Paula Davis, Dusty Friedman, and Lenny Friedman. Players were organized into teams of four, with players of mixed ratings on each team to equalize the competition. The afternoon started with serve and return-of-serve skills contests, followed by dinking and third shot drop skills. Prizes were awarded to the first-place finishers in each of two divisions.

The final competition, and an always popular and fun event, was a pickleball relay in which all players on a four-person team hit alternate shots. When a team scored three points, they gave up a paddle, and at six points, they gave up another paddle. When a team reached nine points, all four players played with just one paddle! A round robin determined the final four teams who played for gold, silver, and bronze medals. The gold medal winners were Rich Haupt, Kay Martens, Connie Olsen, and Jolece Oughton. Susie Eckhardt, Dennis Grothaus, Deb Robinson, and Christel Gibbons took silver, and Pat Kolarik, Judy Brown, Craig Witt, and Sandra Hubbard took bronze.

The rodeo raised $4,500 through personal monetary donations and the sale of raffle tickets for pickleball mentoring sessions, lessons, and goods and services donated by residents.

Three residents provided matching funds totaling $1,500. With the matching funds and additional donations, the gala and rodeo raised a net of $14,549.22. Thank you to all who participated in these events, volunteered your time and energy to make them a success, and donated to this very worthy cause! In total, Quail Creek pickleball players have raised $53,560 for St. Jude since 2017. The organizers hope to resume the Quail Creek Pickleball Classic Tournament in 2022 to raise funds for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.