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Manteca expects upwards of 2,000 competitors for Senior Games
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WHAT: California Senior Games Northern California for those 50 & older
WHERE: Manteca
WHEN: April 25-30
MORE INFO: Contact the Manteca Convention &Visitors Bureau at 823-7229

The Manteca Tennis Center on Union Road is expected to draw upwards of 100 enthusiasts of one of the fastest growing sports – pickle ball.
Pickle ball is just of nine qualifying sports for the 2010 state competition that will take place during the Northern California Senior Games being hosted in Manteca April 25-30.
The Manteca Convention & Visitors Bureau is not only looking for participants in the competitive sporting events for those 50 and older but also volunteers to help man the various venues.
 The qualifiers usually attract between 1,200 and 2,000 competitors,
“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.
The start qualifying sports being offered in Manteca are track and field, tennis, swimming, golf, soccer, Pickle Ball, softball, ballroom and country dancing, and bowling. The local sports that are being staged are BMX, 3 on 3 basketball, and martial arts.
“We’re told that pickle ball will be the most popular of all of the sports in terms of the number of participants,” said Heath. “Once people see it they think it is so much fun and they can’t wait to play.”
Pickle ball is 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.
Other cities hosting qualifying events this year are San Diego and Pasadena.
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.
An average visitor between food, lodging and other expenditures such as attractions stores and gas spend $120 a day.  The Games have the potential of pumping between $500,000 and $1 million into the Manteca economy within a six-day period.
Del Webb is hosting the welcome reception at their multipurpose room. 1451 Americana St., on Saturday, April 25, at 6:30 a.m.
Hosting the Senior Games also fits into the new tourism strategy of the CVB that is 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.
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.
Registration takes place through March 20 followed by a 10-day late registration that has a penalty fee through March 30.
For more information or to volunteer, call the CVB at 823-7229.