Third annual pickleball tournament honors late teacher, contributes to local inclusive playground

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– The third annual Nick Hostler Memorial Pickleball Tournament, honoring the late Springfield teacher and his work with special education students, kicks off this weekend. 

Hostler’s inclusive playground is an effort made possible by the pickleball community. 

So far that community has helped raise over $22,000 towards the equipment for the playground, which includes pieces for all children to experience play. 

Hostler’s mom, Mary Kay Hostler, says inclusivity for all children was Nick’s passion. She says it feels good to know his dream didn’t end when the family lost him unexpectedly.

The tournament has grown in size since it first began three years ago. 

Mary Kay Hostler says more than 130 players from six different states are registered. 

The event is free and open to the entire community. 

“We have had tremendous support from the pickleball community in Springfield and beyond, we are drawing from six states this year which is amazing of course,” Hostler said. “We have a Branson following that supports us and Joplin and a lot of the surrounding communities, but we’ve also branched out to Kansas City and other states. It’s a wonderful feeling and we really, really appreciate it.” 

The tournament begins at 8 a.m. on Saturday and will run until at least 6 or 7 p.m.

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