It All Started With An Idea At A Beauty Shop!
Parts of the article below was written by Brent Schacherer for the Hastings Star Gazette on 8/11/1988.
Sometimes ideas for sports contests come about in the strangest ways. Living proof of that is the Rivertown Days tennis tournament which has its origins in a local beauty shop. The tournament started when Donita Soucek, then women's tennis league secretary, visited the beauty shop and a Rivertown Days organizer suggested she start a youth tennis tourney to be run during the community celebration.
"I didn't know what was going to happen, but I thought it sounded like a good idea," said Soucek, co-chairperson of the RTD tourney. "So we started organizing it."
And the tournament was born in 1979. That first year, there were 16 entrants, eight boys and eight girls in grades 10-12. One of the players dropped out before the tourney began, and there were just 15 remaining.
By the tournaments 10th anniversary, things really changed. There were 215 entrants in 16 divisions, a total of 161 players and play ran from Thursday evening to Sunday evening at both Roadside Park and the High School tennis courts.
"I think we thought we were going to run this little kid's tournament," Soucek said. "But it just got bigger, and bigger, and bigger."
Now in looking at the tournament's 40th Anniversary in July 2018 - the goal is to have 170 players register and participate in 200 entries.
"Come to the courts to watch some great tennis."