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GBRC to host weekend tournaments at Panther Activity Center
Great Bend Rec
Great Bend Rec

The Panther Activity Center at Great Bend High School will be hopping this weekend as the facility gets set to play host to two regional tournaments over the two-day span. A youth basketball on Saturday will be followed by a pickleball tournament on Sunday.

On Saturday, the Kansas Basketball Academy Foundation traveling youth basketball league will hold one of its five state qualifying tournament at the PAC and the Great Bend Recreation Activity Center at 2715 18th St. The Great Bend Recreation Commission will host the tournament in partnership with USD 428.

The tournament will draw 25 boys and girls teams from four different divisions - 1st/2nd grade, 3rd/4th grade, 5th/6th grade, and 7th/8th grade. According to GBRC Assistant Superintendent Chris Umphres, the teams will come from around the area, including Great Bend, Hays, Larned, Hutchinson, Salina and Dodge City. The games will begin at 8 a.m. and run until 8 p.m.

Umphres said because of the size of the tournament, GBRC facilities alone were not large enough to host it, so they were able to partner with USD 428 to hold the tournament at the larger PAC along with GBRC’s Activity Center.

As part of the partnership, GBRC will follow up Saturday’s basketball tournament by hosting at 38-team pickleball tournament at the PAC all day Sunday. Like the basketball tournament, the pickleball tournament will draw teams from across the area. The tournament will have competitors ranging in age from approximately 20 years old to 80 years old.

For those who may not be familiar with the sport, Umphres described pickleball as a combination of ping-pong, badminton and tennis, played on a court about one-third the size of a tennis court.

Umphres said he is excited about the opportunity for Great Bend to host both tournaments, and, given the right facilities, feels there is a burgeoning opportunity to host more like it.

“People talk about the summer baseball, softball tournaments, but there’s a whole niche of other events out there,” he said. “You name the sport, there’s a tournament for it.”

He feels area tournaments like the ones GBRC is hosting this weekend are opportunities for the whole community to benefit economically.

But events like these take solid partnerships, and he is grateful for the partnerships with the city and USD 428 that allow these events to happen.

“(The partnership) is a joint effort,” he said. “They (USD 428) still have to have staff on call to help us out. It takes a group to run these kinds of events, and we appreciate it.”