Cancer benefit tournament this weekend

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 17, 2003

NATCHEZ &045; Duncan Park will play as the feature host to the 24th annual Natchez Cancer Tennis Tournament beginning at 3 p.m. Friday.

Natchez Community Tennis Association president Noreen Pyron expects approximately 200 participants for the three-day event with half of the proceeds headed toward the American Cancer Society.

&uot;We’ve got players coming in from Lafayette, Jackson, Shreveport and New Orleans,&uot; Pyron said. &uot;It’s well known to be a lot of fun and some great tennis.&uot;

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Today is the last day to register at Duncan Park Tennis Pro Shop for the strictly doubles’ tournament.

The cost is $30 per person for those interested in entering men’s, women’s or mixed doubles. Players who sign up for more than one competition pay $50 total.

Each category is divided on the combined skill level of teams, ranging from 5.5 to 9.5.

&uot;It’s always very competitive and a lot of fun to play,&uot; said Ralph LeMay, who will look to capture the 7.5 section with playing partner Robert Dunn. &uot;As far as the tennis itself is concerned the teams are pretty evenly matched. It’s a well ran tournament.&uot;

The 2002 tournament raised $6,200, with more than $3,000 of that donated to Camp Rainbow, a camp in Meridian for children who have cancer.

The remainder of the money benefits the Natchez Community Tennis Association and helps fund projects like resurfacing the courts or building the spectator deck at Duncan Park.

&uot;It’s just my way of getting involved after having some relatives die from cancer,&uot; said Pyron, who has been involved with the tournament directly for 15 years. &uot;When it first got started I wasn’t that involved with it. It used to be much bigger than it is now. Still this is a big tournament going by the numbers.&uot;

Due to the overflow, courts at Trinity Episcopal Day School, Beau Pre County Club and into Vidalia will be a part of the tournament’s schedule, Pyron said.

Even if you’re just a fan of the yellow, fuzzy ball, this tournament offers you a chance to enjoy the amenities and matches, she added.

A $10-a-head social fee gets wanderers through the gates and into an 8 p.m. get-together at Bowie’s Tavern Friday, and a cocktail reception at the Governor Holmes House Saturday.

&uot;The social aspects are pretty attractive to a lot of people from out of town I’d imagine,&uot; LeMay said. &uot;There is time for us to get together after hours for parties. Most tennis players are very social, fine people, so those are a lot of fun.&uot;