Pickleball players from East County and beyond came to Lakewood Ranch Feb. 6 to participate in UMR Sports' first-ever pickleball tournament.
The tournament sold out, with 50 players participating in the women's and men's divisions. The tournament was held for people with 3.0 and 3.5 ratings, or intermediate-level pickleball players. Chandra Moore, a former professional tennis player who will provide pickleball instruction at UMR Sports, said she was excited to see the camaraderie between players.
"We went with a lower bracket to involve more people, to give them the confidence to be able to play," Chandra Moore said. "Some of them haven't ever played a tournament. So we're like, 'Come, try. Hey, this is our first time. Let it be your first time.'"
UMR Sports is a Bradenton-based athletic academy that will soon begin construction on a sports complex located on Upper Manatee River Road. Pickleball courts will be one of the first amenities completed at the complex, according to UMR Sports founder and owner Ryan Moore, Chandra Moore's husband, who expects the courts to be ready for play by summer.