The La Crosse Area Pickleball Club got its start when snowbirds who picked up the game during winters elsewhere began to play the game. They looked for places to play Pickleball when they returned to this area. A few people led the way in finding places to play, including Don McCrery, Candice Bucheger, Jo Ann Wickizer (on right in picture), Mike and Teresa Mattie and Whitey and Linda Hoehn.
Candice was instrumental in getting Onalaska Parks and Rec to host an "Introduction to Pickleball" in the summer of 2013 and it began to take off from there. Onalaska Parks and Rec then painted Pickleball lines on the Parkridge tennis courts and gave us a crank to lower the nets for Pickleball play. In the summer of 2016, they opened up the first dedicated outdoor Pickleball courts at Oak Park in a 50-mile radius! We are all thankful for the Onalaska Parks and Recreation's supportive response to Pickleball from the very beginning.
We are also thankful for the YMCA in Onalaska being open to Pickleball play. When they had one gym, the players would come and tape down the lines and then set up the nets. When done playing, the nets had to come down and all the tape lifted up from the floor. Then the Y announced they would be adding another gym. Mike and Teresa then spoke with YMCA leadership and urged them to add Pickleball lines in that gym - which they did! By February 2018, there was a total of 7 times when 20+ players came to play at the Y including two evening times for day workers.
During all of this Pickleball growth, there was a need for some communication and organization, and Jo Ann took on a leadership role to do this for which we all are thankful. Not only did the organization help, but several social events were communicated via Jo Ann that were hosted by various members. That "community" feeling is a big part of this sport. Because it is mostly designed as "drop in" play, you get to meet lots of people, have time to chat with them, and a whole new set of friends results.
Now in 2021 we have over 300 players in the La Crosse area!!
LA CROSSE PICKLEBALL CLUB
With the growth of pickleball in our area, we have a leadership team to help guide the development and promotion of pickleball. We do not require dues, instead we choose to raise funds as needed for the pickleball needs in our area such as wind screens, paddles, medical supplies for the courts, and working toward getting an AED unit. We have an official club bank account for donations to be held and from which items are paid for.
The leadership team ( Jan 2020): Vacant, President; Jo Ann Wickizer, VP; Karen Bonifas, Treasurer; Social Committee: Judy Brennan, Dobby Engelbert, and Diane Walker. Additional members at large: Kent Bruden, Candice Bucheger, Steve Clark, Gary Ekern, Mike Gritzmacher, John (Whitey) Hoehn, Richard Huber, and Bridget Olson.
The city of La Crosse has given the club 8 dedicated pickleball courts at Trane Park. Planned for completion by fall of 2021
To keep updated on the latest happenings, sign up for a weekly email by contacting the La Crosse Area Pickleball club at firstname.lastname@example.org.