About 35 miles northeast of Bakersfield and 105 miles due north of Los Angeles (as the crow flies – it’s considerably further by road!) lies the small community of Kern River Valley, CA.
“Small Town Challenges”
Maybe an unremarkable fact, but what is remarkable is the journey its pickleball club is going through at the moment and the impact on the nearby communities it is having.
KRV Pickleball Club is hot in the middle of a series of contests against its neighboring rivals. The first two contests, or “Small Town Challenges” against Team Bear Valley Springs (about 40 miles north), were close-fought affairs that TBVS narrowly scraped. Consequently, KRV is chomping at the bit to face its next opponent from an ever-increasing list of interested clubs.
Wayne Moore is the local driving force behind the competition. He says, “The challenge is moving toward what we hope is a regular event. Next time, we plan to expand by adding two more small-town pickleball clubs from Antelope Valley and Ridgecrest to join Kern River Valley and Bear Valley Springs Pickleball Clubs.”
Antelope Valley Pickleball Club has already said it would like to host the next round of games at some time in the future.
The contests started back in May when Team Bear Valley squeaked home 2-1 over KRV but were more convincing winners in June when they won 3-0. This article from the kernvalleysun.com gives you the lowdown on how the matches turned out.
Kern River Valley team member Larry Hooker could’ve been angry but can see the positive outcomes of the event:
“How do you get 70 friends and neighbors together for a Sunday afternoon?” he said.
“You play pickleball! That is what happened on June 25. Bear Valley Springs Pickleball Club invited Kern River Valley Pickleball Club to their house to play pickleball.”
Hooker went on to say how pickleball was introduced to Bear Valley Springs in 2018, leading to the construction of four permanent courts with two more planned.
“Who the heck plays pickleball?” Hooker continued. “Anyone who wants to meet great people and make new friends, that’s who plays pickleball. There are families, moms, and dads bringing their children to the courts for a family day of playing pickleball. What are the age limits? Sunday, at Bear Valley Springs, the most senior competitor was 80+ years young, and the youngest was in their 30s.”
A Magnanimous Gesture
Hooker mentioned how magnanimous the United Methodist Church had been by letting KRV PC play on two temporary courts placed on a neglected basketball court.
“Due to church activities, use of the courts is restricted to Tuesday through Saturday,” Hooker said. “Are two courts enough? A pickleball match has two players on each side of the net, and the average match will require 20 to 30 minutes of playtime.”
Bear Valley Springs Pickleball Club currently features 42 members, while the Kern River Valley Club has 108.
Follow Bear Valley Springs Pickleball Club by visiting their Facebook page.
Read more about the California Pickleball scene by reading these great articles.
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