Duncan Park plays host to local charity tournament

Published 12:07 am Saturday, June 3, 2017

Augusta Smith makes it a point each year to join local tennis players in the Natchez Community Cancer Tennis Tournament, supporting the event’s charity cause for over 30 years.

Smith and her daughter, Mattie Brown, have been a doubles team for almost a decade now, taking the court once again Friday afternoon at Duncan Park.

“It’s a fun tournament. It’s just that kind of thing,” Smith said. “I’ve always supported it for tennis in Natchez.”

Email newsletter signup

The event raises money for Camp Rainbow, a five-day camp dedicated to pediatric cancer patients and survivors ranging from ages 6-17 in the state of Mississippi. Tournament co-chair Suzan Hogue said about half of the proceeds go toward the camp, which usually comes to at least a couple thousand dollars.

“It’s always been called the cancer tournament,” she said. “As the years went on and business fluctuated up and down, we wanted to do something that was going to benefit something in particular. For a camp like that, that is a significant donation.”

Hogue said the additional proceeds go toward funding the Natchez Community Tennis Association. She said they recently rebuilt the deck overlooking the park’s tennis courts.

“We try to do projects that we can afford to make this facility better,” Hogue said.

While Smith said she doesn’t know any close individuals with cancer, she knows the money is a big help for the camp.

“I’m sure it means the world to them o be able to find a camp that will take them,” she said. “I can only imagine what it must be like to get all of their medication and things. These kids get to deserve as much fun as my kids did growing up, and probably more so.”

Smith said during the event, she also gets the chance to catch up with old friends.

This year’s tournament, which runs through Sunday, features over 60 participants.

“This tournament brings out people who don’t play all the time,” she said. “You see everybody you haven’t seen in a while.”

For as long as she can, Smith said she would continue to participate.

“I love doing anything with Mattie, and we always have a good time,” she said. “Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose, but we still have fun no matter.”