The racquetball courts of Sioux Falls will be abuzz this weekend, as the Lewis Drug Pro/Am makes its return to South Dakota. This is the event’s 41st year, making it the longest-running racquetball tournament in the country.
The Lewis Drug Pro/Am annually brings together racquetball players from throughout the world. This year’s tournament features players from four countries and 19 states. One of the competitors is Lee Connell, who made the 14-hour drive from Canada.
“It’s a great tournament, there’s players from all over the world. Even the top pros say that when they retire, they’re planning on still coming to this tournament every year,” Connell says.
The tournament attracts more professional players every year, and tournament director Mark Gibbs says the event’s reputation plays a major role in those numbers.
“I think the reputation spreads throughout the pro racquetball community. You know they talk to each other at different tournaments and the Lewis, I think, has been one for years, it’s the 41st year. I think that information has just traveled from players and they talk to each other and we get more and more pros every year,” Gibbs says.
“18 of the top-20 players on the International Racquetball Tour are playing in this week’s event, competing for a share of $30,000 in cash and prizes. Win or lose, Connell is ready to pick up a racket,” KELOLAND’s Grant Sweeter said.
“More than anything, I’m excited to play. I love playing the game and it’s so fun for a guy like me to come out and just give it all I’ve got against the best in the world,” Connell says.
“I would love anyone who has interest in sports in general, even racquetball it’s exciting, especially the doubles are very exciting. That’s why we are free for anyone to watch,” Gibbs says.
The men’s doubles final is set for Saturday at 4:30, while the singles championship is Sunday morning at 11:00.