A highly successful pickleball qualifier for zone 2 of 55+ Sports has seen several teams advance to the 55+ Summer Games being held in Brooks, Aug. 17 to 20.

Area director Doug Campbell says 21 teams of higher level pickleball players -- 3+ and 4 -- participated from Cochrane, Drumheller, Three Hills, Bragg Creek, Morrin, Munson, High River, and Canmore.

He's pleased with attracting players from across the zone that sketches from the B.C. to Saskatchewan border, excluding Calgary, in this part of the province that's better known as Big Country.

"These are the more elite players," explains Campbell. "They constitute about 20 per cent of the pickleball players, and the ones that are just beginning or moving up in the rankings play their qualifier in the fall."

The gold medallists advance to Brooks. Should they not be able to participate, the silver medallists have the option of representing the zone. Successful teams at the provincials will qualify for next summer's 55+ national games in Quebec City. 

Like all 55+ sports, competitors were divided into several age categories, allowing them to play against their peers.

A few other zone qualifiers are upcoming.

Cochrane will be hosting at least one more, this time Bocce on June 3 at the Cochrane Golf Club. The registration deadline is May 26.

Other upcoming events are golf on May 25 in Turner Valley, track and field on May 26 at Calgary's Glenmore Athletic Park, cycling in Bragg Creek on May 30, and slo-pitch on June 15 at a location to be announced.

More information on the remaining qualifiers can be found here.

Alberta 55+ Sports offers the chance to compete in 14 different sports as well as adjudicated arts and crafts categories. But its main goal is to encourage people to have fun and stay active by enjoying sports.

Zone 2 pickleball gold medallists were:

Level 4 winners:

Women's 55: Carrie Irwin and Heather Coonfer, High River

Women's 60: Lina Danis and Jacky Shoebridge, Cochrane

Men's 55: Dan Hird and Afolabi, Drumheller

Men's 65: Steve Katulka (Bearspaw) and Gary Hawkes (Cochrane)

Mixed 55: Carrie Irwin (High River) and Dan Hird (Drumheller)

Mixed 60: Jacky and Paul Shoebridge, Cochrane

Level 3+ winners:

Women's 55: Gail Reiss and Carolyn Mulholland, High River

Women's 60: Catherine Burdett and Lorraine Makowecki, Cochrane

Women's 70: Barb Imeson (Cochrane) and Mayruth Guenter (Three Hills)

Men's 55: Duane Bolin and Bob Thomas, Drumheller

Men's 65: Bill Cooper and Paul Shoebridge, Cochrane

Men's 70: Leon Beg (Munson) and Bob Chambers (Morrin)

Men's 75: Henry Wilson (Cochrane) and Bill Guenter (Three Hills)

Mixed 55: Laurie and Dwayne Bolin, Drumheller

Mixed 60: Lina Danis and Mark Lenson, Cochrane

Mixed 65: Heather Coonfer (High River) and Bill Cooper (Cochrane)

Mixed 70: Mayruth and Bill Guenter, Three Hills

Mixed 75: Barb Imeson (Cochrane) and Colin Gilbert (Bragg Creek)