The annual Fourth of July tennis tournament will kick off June 29-30 to begin this year’s holiday festivities.

INDEPENDENCE – The annual Fourth of July tennis tournament will kick off June 29-30 to begin this year’s holiday festivities.

The tournament, now in its 46th year, is located at Central High School and Western Oregon University. Rain or shine, show up ready to compete in this two-day event.

Never played before? That’s OK. Everyone from those who have never held a racket before to avid players are encouraged to participate.

“We have several levels of play,” said Patti Youngren, who organizes the event. “I try to get as much information as possible from the players so that they are put in the category that best fits their abilities.”

Those interested can play in singles or doubles, but can only be registered in two events. Singles play cost $15 or $10 for students, and doubles cost $25 per team or $14 per student team.

Playing times and locations will be announced Thursday after 7 p.m.

For many people, this tournament is like a reunion, Youngren said.

“Many of the players have played in the tournament for several years,” she said. “I get excited seeing people that I usually only get to see once a year. Some of the young men were on high school teams and played with us or against us when I first started coaching.”

It also reaches people beyond the Willamette Valley.

“In the past we have had people from other states who heard about our tennis tournament and added the stop in Independence to their vacation plans,” Youngren said.

Two local businesses sponsor the event: Graphic Latitude and Les Schwab of Independence. Youngren said they help with putting out T-shirts for the tournament’s finals winners, and roving trophies, which are given out to a father/son and mother/daughter team.

This tournament is a great way to engage in friendly competition and make new friends.

“I first came to this tournament in 1986 or 1987; the ladies that I played against became lifelong friends,” Youngren said. “It is a great way to meet new people.”

For more information on the tournament, contact Youngren: patyoungren@aol.com or 503-507-5760.

Registration forms can be found at oregontennis.com. Those, along with checks, made out to M.I.T. can be mailed to 1040 Monmouth Street, Independence, OR, 97351.

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