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Support Raise-A-Racquet and Help the Boys & Girls Club

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Flickr, Brooks Elliott

A lot of people fantasize about being with a professional tennis player. Your wish could come true, for a Saturday morning, if you can win one in an auction.

On Jan. 27, the Raise-A-Racquet Tennis Tournament will raise money for the Boys & Girls Club of Benton and Franklin Counties through a fundraising dinner, silent auction and live auction. Tennis pros from all over the Columbia Basin will be auctioned off. Winners may enter the Jan. 28 tournament play on teams with the pros.

Bill Fletcher, Racquet Sports Director for the Columbia Basin Racquet Club, and CBRC Event Coordinator Jackie Knipp have supported the tournament for several years. The club is hosting it this year. So far, the dinner will include live music and the silent auction will have items like training sessions with former NFL athlete Lamont Brightfield.

Raise-A-Racquet should be a lot of fun, but it’s all done for the children. The Boys & Girls Club offers numerous programs for youth in this area. Last summer, the club gave kids tennis lessons. They’re hoping to make it a weekly program this coming season.

“I saw a niche in helping out by doing something with tennis,” Fletcher said.

His own kids benefit from Boys & Girls Club programming in California, he added. “This is a way for me to give back.”

Individuals may attend the dinner and auction for $40 in advance, $45 at the door. The Raise-A-Racquet is designed, however, for businesses. In addition to reserving a table and becoming a sponsor of the event, companies are encouraged to purchase a tennis franchise and own teams in the tournament. The pros will organize the auction winners into three levels based on their skills. That way people with similar experience play against one another and no one is embarrassed, Fletcher said. The idea is to have fun. “It ensures great matches,” he added.

The teams contribute points to their franchise, and the franchise with the most points at the end of the tournament on Saturday wins.

Whether it’s with a company or by oneself, the dinner and auction are shaping up to be a great time, Fletcher said. At 5 p.m. the pros will warm up and give people a glance at their skills. Attendees may enjoy a Cocktail Hour while they watch. Dinner will be served at 6:30 and the live auction will follow. Tournament play begins at 9 a.m. the next morning.

Businesses interested in supporting the Boys & Girls Club can donate items or services to be in the silent auction. Contact the CBRC or the Tri-Cities Tennis Club for more information. Both locations are selling tickets and tables to the event.

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