IRT Heading To The Prairie Athletic Club

For the 17th straight year the Prairie Athletic Club (PAC) is proud to team with the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) to bring the finest racquetball players in the world to Sun Prairie for the 20th Annual Lou Bradley Memorial Pro-Am February 1-3. The Pro draw has included many of the top players in the world over the past decade. Top 10 players Rocky Carson, Daniel De La Rosa, Alvaro Beltran, Mario Mercado and Jansen Allen have played The Lou in the last few years. Beltran beat Allen in a tie-breaker for the title in 2018 with Mercado and Gerardo Franco advancing to the semi-finalists.

Top players from the Midwest, including Iowa’s Brad and Blake Hansen, Brad McCunniff, Derek Ott and Ryan Ratchford often make the trip. Former Sun Prairie standout Justus Benson (23 rd on the IRT) and representatives of several other states will also help fill the Pro draw. Top players such as former Wisconsin state champions Andy Thompson, Tracy Chynoweth, Jay Wollenberg, Jimmy Crawford and Matt Stamborski may be in the mix as
well.

Sign up for The Lou on the PAC website, which is www.prairieathletic.com. Matches are expected to be from 1 p.m. to about midnight on Friday; 7:30 a.m. until midnight on Saturday; and 7:30 a.m. until about 3 p.m. on Sunday. The Pro matches start Friday afternoon and go until about 11 p.m. From 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. Saturday, Pro matches will be on Court 7, which has a glass side wall for added viewing not only upstairs, but in the Lost Court bar and restaurant at ground level. Last year nearly 200 people packed the PAC to see the final.

You can expect to see quarter-finals late morning to early afternoon, semis around 3 or 4 p.m. and the Pro final to be about 8 Saturday night. Join the party as PAC’s own D.J. Johnson, of Galaxy DJ, increase the energy above court 7 for the Pro final. The excitement and speed of racquetball – where players hit the ball in excess of 180 MPH – make this event a great one to watch. Though not a Tier 1 event the pro players –who are very accessible -will tell you this is one of the better events on the tour for the incredible atmosphere.

At most pro tournaments, you have to purchase tickets at $20 or more to see the pro matches. That is not the case at the Lou Bradley, where viewing for any match is – and always has been – free. Bradley was one of the true ambassadors of the sport of racquetball before passing and The Lou Bradley Sportsmanship Award is given out at the Wisconsin State Singles Tournament every spring to the player who most exemplifies the same passion for the game and ability to enjoy it that Lou did.

Thanks to generous sponsorship from Bruce Thompson and Phil Sussek, we are still able to donate $5 of every entry from this tournament to the Lou Bradley Scholarship Fund, which has raised more than $50,000 since its inception. The Lou draws some of the top players in the world and nearly all of the best players in the Midwest, but that’s not what this tourney is all about. The tourney honors Bradley, who loved the game and loved to celebrate it.

The PAC is located at 1010 N. Bird St. in Sun Prairie, Wis. Please contact Paul Krueger at the PAC (608-834-2630) or by e-mail at [email protected] for more information on The Lou. For information on the hotel host for the Lou Bradley Memorial Pro/Am visit: https://www.choicehotels.com/wisconsin/madison/comfort-inn-hotels/wi415/rates?ratePlanCode=LPRAIR

Paul Krueger

[email protected]