Steamboat Springs set to host 2nd annual Paddle Battle

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— Matt Parker put a bounty on his own head after winning last year's inaugural Paddle Battle ping pong tournament. The Steamboat Springs resident offered $25 to whoever could beat him on the table.

This isn’t the NFL, and bounties are encouraged.

So for those who think Parker can be beaten, welcome to the second annual Vertical Arts Paddle Battle. The tournament takes place Friday with preliminary rounds at the Tennis Center at Steamboat Springs and the finals at McKnight’s Irish Pub & Loft.

Registration begins at 5:30 p.m. with play set to begin at 6 p.m. The cost is $25 per player in men’s A and B divisions and a women's division.

The idea for the tournament came out of the work culture at Vertical Arts, a Steamboat Springs architecture and design firm. But for Brandt Vanderbosch, principal at Vertical Arts, it began as a family affair.

Vanderbosch started going to a family ping pong tournament in 2008. His uncle died at the first event, and the tournament was renamed the Bill Hall Classic in his honor. He launched the Paddle Battle last year, and it was a hit.

Pizza will be provided for players, and those interested can bring their own drinks. Cash prizes will be provided to the winners. Last year's event saw more than 50 competitors and raised more than $600 for the Steamboat Challenge Fund. This year's tournament again will be a fundraiser for the Challenge Fund, which benefits students and teachers at Soda Creek and Strawberry Park elementary schools.

All levels of players are welcome to participate.

To sign up, visit http://steamboatpaddlebattle2.eventbrite.com. Those with questions about Friday’s event or an anticipated ping pong league to start in December or January can email Matt Parker at matt@vertical-arts.com or call 970-871-0056.

To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email lgraham@SteamboatToday.com

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