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Pickle Ball, other Senior Games coming to Manteca

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POSTED January 5, 2009 12:27 a.m.
Manteca is about to become the Northern California Pickle Ball Mecca for the Over 50 set.
Never heard of Pickle Ball?
It’s a cross, of sorts, between tennis and Ping-Pong using a court with the same dimensions as a doubles badminton court — 20 feet wide by 44 feet long. Players use a graphite paddle — the same as a paddle tennis racket — but it doesn’t have any holes in it. The ball resembles a Wiffle ball made of hard plastic with holes cut out all around. Two out of three games constitute a match with each game going to at least 11, as you have to win by two as in Ping-Pong.
You can find out more about Pickle Ball when the California Senior Games Northern California qualifier for those 50 & older comes to Manteca April 24-30 through the efforts of the Manteca Convention & Visitors Bureau.
The CVB won the bid for Manteca to host the north state qualifier for the Summer National 2009 Games in San Francisco. Other cities hosting qualifying events are San Diego and Pasadena.
The qualifying games usually have been 1,500 and 2,400 competitors. The CVB is in need of volunteers to help stage the games.
“If you’re familiar with the sports taking place we can find a place for you to help and if you’re not but just want to volunteer there are tasks that support the games as well such as manning the gates,” noted CVB Events Manger John Heath.
To volunteer, call the CVB at 823-7229.
The CVB will be setting up registration in the next few weeks. You do not need to have competed in the Senior Games before to participate. The only criteria is that you are 50 or older.
There are 17 national qualifying sports plus 20 local sports recognized by the California Senior Games Association. Manteca, since it is starting out, elected to offer just nine sports initially although more could be added at a future date.
The sports being offered in Manteca are track and field, tennis, swimming, golf, soccer, Pickle Ball, softball, ballroom and country dancing, and bowling.
Other sports the California Games sanction are basketball (3 on 3), archery, badminton, cycling (both time trials and road racing), horseshoes, race walking, racquetball, shuffleboard, table tennis, and volleyball.
Other local games are billiards, grandparent/grandchild relays, inline skating, lawn bowling, martial arts, power lifting, rock climbing, rope climb, rugby, and trap shooting.
Competition is divided in divisions of five-year increments starting at age 50.
The CVB went after the Games as part of its ongoing commitment to fill Manteca hotel rooms, restaurants, stores and attractions with visitors’ dollars. If each competitor comes with just one other family member and spends just one night in Manteca, it would generate more than $160,000 alone in hotel room payments. Some will live close enough to Manteca and won’t need to rent a room but there are many who will stay multiple days depending on the sport and how many events they are entered.
An average visitor between food, lodging and other expenditures such as attractions stores and gas spends $120 a day.  The Games have the potential of pumping between $500,000 and $1 million into the Manteca economy within a seven-day period.
Hosting the Senior Games also fits into the CVB’s new tourism strategy branding Manteca as “Hook, Wine and Sneakers” in reference to the new Manteca Bass Pro Shops store, the nearby Delta, wineries, and numerous recreational sports venues such as Big League Dreams.
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