2011 St. Louis Party with the Pros

The top men’s professional International Racquetball Tour (IRT) players meet in St. Louis at the Missouri Athletic Club for the sixth tier 1 of the 2011-2012 IRT season. This private facility features a fishbowl stadium court and history that goes back to 1904. Watch the action live on the IRT Network starting Friday, 3/25.

Click here to view the pro draw.

Building on last year’s event, Tournament Director Shari Coplen’s game plan includes the Ram’s Josh Brown signing autographs before the finals, a perpetual trophy permanently displayed in the club, charity doubles, and sponsor doubles.

Ed Gershenson, of Gershenson Construction Company, which began in 1977 as one man and a truck before growing to include over 100 employees, started playing racquetball around the time he started the company. He still likes the sport, encouraging people to bring the pros to the club so all can enjoy such a high level of play. “I saw them play for the first time in person last year and met most of them. They’re just regular guys, really nice.”

He’ll have the chance to not only watch, but join them on the court during the sponsored doubles on Thursday night, when he’ll likely pair up with Rocky Carson, his partner from last year, to try to win the chance to donate $100 to the charity of their choice.

Carson is also planning a visit to the Howard Grove Christian School to talk about racquetball, fitness, and the part his faith plays in his career before the quarterfinals begin on Friday, covered by a local KFNS sports broadcast and live streaming on the IRT Network.

In a “Winner Takes All” match between the semifinals, tournament director Shari Copeland will team up with IRT President, Jason Mannino to play for the Down’s Syndrome Society against Dan Whitley and John Kleinschmidt with Vetta Sports Doncord/MORA, who will play for the St. Louis Children’s Hospital.

Ed, like other local players, is glad for the chance to watch the pros play in person. “I’m grateful to Shari who does all the hard work to pull it together and am grateful for the pros who all come with positive attitudes and very friendly. It’s a great event; everyone I’ve met has been very kind.”