BRANSON, Mo. — The Branson Chamber of Commerce announced the city will host a pickleball tournament from July 31 to August 2.
Pickleball is a paddleball sport (similar to a racquet sport) that combines elements of tennis, badminton, and table tennis. Two or four players use solid paddles made of wood or composite materials to hit a perforated polymer ball, with 26-40 round holes, over a net. The game was invented in the mid-1960s and has seen a resurgence as one of the fastest-growing sports competitions in America.
The inaugural Branson Championship Experience at the Branson Convention Center is expecting to see more than 250 competitors from ages 13 to 96 years old.
Roberto Camara and his family have lived in the United States for 30 years and are happy to be international ambassadors for Pickleball starting in Branson.
“We started playing pickleball here in Branson and after we learned about this sport, we made the decision or had the idea to take it to Brazil,” said Roberto.
Roberto says he and his family are helping organize tournaments in Brazil, just like the Branson Championship Experience happening at the Convention Center.
“It’s a really good game inter-generational too because a lot of it is your skill,” said Roberto. “So a person that’s really skilled who’s in their 60’s or 70’s can play someone in their 30’s or 40’s or even teenagers.
A special guest, Tyson Apostol, will be attending the tournament. Apostol was the winner on season 27 of “Survivor: Blood vs. Water.”
“We saw an article on Pickleball Magazine about Tyson playing pickleball,” said Roberto. “And my son had the brilliant idea about reaching out to him and inviting him to the tournament.”
Guests will be allowed to participate in an open day tournament on July 31 for $5. All of the proceeds will go to Together Forever, a charity for children and young adults with cancer.
Event organizer Alessandra Camara says her dreams of Pickleball tournaments in Branson are becoming a reality.
“I used to work at the after school program in Hollister,” said Alessandra. “That’s how I first met the family. Love the family and the mission they have behind this foundation is absolutely incredible.”
The Camaras hope to bring the national championships to Branson someday.