I had the chance yesterday to sit down with Steve Lerner, the tournament director here at the 3WB Championships. And note — when I say “sit down,” I mean only that I was sitting down. Steve was running eighteen different directions all at once, marshalling tournament staff, accommodating players, and coordinating with Stratosphere personnel. Everyone involved is doing everything they can to make the event a success, and so far…it’s a slam dunk.
2016 is the 7th year for the Vegas 3WB Championships. The event has grown every year in terms of the number of players, number of events, and prize money: this year, right around 670 racquetball, handball, and paddleball players will contest some 1200 matches, competing for $50,000 in prize money. Two venues are in use. The main one in the Stratosphere parking lot has 10 short wall and 5 one wall courts. The overflow venue in the back of the Stratosphere has 2 additional short wall courts. (Fun fact: the overflow courts say up year-round as a private Team 3WB facility.) The event as a whole ultimately owes its existence to Mike Coulter, who has been involved with Vegas racquetball for over 30 years.
The venue here is unlike any other. It takes 10 days to build the courts, which are constructed with 3/4 inch plywood on studs. The wood is treated, and is stored flat for 50 weeks out of the year. The courts looks really cool from the outside — but what most people don’t know is that they are pretty cool looking from the inside too!
I was able to wiggle my way into the walls of one of the ESPN courts. Here are a few some truly “insider” pics of the Vegas 3WB Championships that you probably won’t see anywhere else.