Matt Parker, business manager for Vertical Arts Architecture in Steamboat Springs, plays pingpong with principal  Brandt Vanderbosch during a work break. The fourth annual Paddle Battle will take place from 1 to 9 p.m. Saturday at the Tennis Center at Steamboat Springs and McKnight’s Irish Pub & Loft.

Photo by John F. Russell

Matt Parker, business manager for Vertical Arts Architecture in Steamboat Springs, plays pingpong with principal Brandt Vanderbosch during a work break. The fourth annual Paddle Battle will take place from 1 to 9 p.m. Saturday at the Tennis Center at Steamboat Springs and McKnight’s Irish Pub & Loft.

Steamboat's Paddle Battle returns for 4th year

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— Matt Parker is the Ric Flair of local pingpong.

The styling, profiling, limousine riding, jet flying, kiss stealing, wheelin n’ dealin’ son of a gun hasn’t lost a game in years.

“I’m competitive by nature,” Parker said.

So it goes as the annual Paddle Battle returns for its fourth year. Each year, Parker has reigned as champion of the open division.

The fourth annual event takes place from 1 to 9 p.m. Saturday at the Tennis Center at Steamboat Springs and McKnight’s Irish Pub & Loft.

There are men’s and women’s B levels as well as an open category. There also is a doubles category. Prizes will be awarded to the winner in each category as well as banners for the top 3 finishers.

The cost is $25 for singles or $20 for a doubles team. People can sign up Saturday at the Tennis Center or by visiting www.steamboatpaddlebattle4.eventbrite.com.

All the proceeds from the event benefit the Steamboat Challenge Fund. To date, the event has raised more than $1,500 for the fund.

The event begins with practice and pool play for singles. The singles division then will be bracketed and doubles play will begin.

The event will move to McKnight’s for the finals, which will begin at about 6:30 or 7 p.m.

As the business manager for Vertical Arts Architecture, Parker also serves as the organizer for the event, the heavyweight champion and general heel inside the squared circle — or flat table.

Parker has an outstanding challenge to any person that beats him; to be the man, you have to beat the man. If any person defeats Parker for the gold strap, he’ll pay for that person’s entry.

“It’s an open challenge,” Parker said.

Parker, though, has several friends from Denver coming up and said he could be vulnerable. He knows the book to beat him is out.

Stay away from his forehand and stay sober as Parker doesn’t drink.

By the championship, “at that point I have an advantage,” he said.

To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229, email lgraham@ExploreSteamboat.com or follow him on Twitter @LukeGraham

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