Humble Beginnings to Established Event, 6th Annual Badger Open

By Barbara Wei | Sept. 15, 2014, 12 a.m. (ET)

Humble Beginnings to Established Event, 6th Annual Badger Open Set for September 20-21, 2014 

Eugene WangThe Center Court Sports Complex in Waukesha, Wisconsin (located less than 20 miles from downtown Milwaukee) will host the 6th annual Badger Open this coming weekend (Sept. 20-21). The four-star USATT sanctioned tournament will bring together approximately 250 players to complete for $10,300 in prize money in 22 different events. The 2014 Butterfly Badger Open will also include two walk in events, a 51 point handicap event and a fully recreational event, to help build the local table tennis community.

Six years ago, tournament director Linda Leaf had a dream of building and growing the elite table tennis community in the Midwest. So with a team of volunteers, Linda worked to host one of the first 4-star events in the Midwest in 2008. In the Badger Open’s first year, the tournament lacked proper sponsorship, so volunteers traveled to clubs across the Milwaukee and Chicago regions to collect the needed number of tables to hold the event. Linda called the effort to host the first Badger Open a “gamble”, as it would be impossible to predict how well the tournament would do.

Those humble beginnings have now led to one of the most established annual 4-star tournaments in the Midwest. As part of the Midwest Circuit and the North American Tour, the 2014 Butterfly Badger Open provides an added opportunity for elite players to earn tour points and prize money. Similarly, bringing top players to the Milwaukee area helps grow and excite the local table tennis community. As the tournament enters its 6th year, tournament director Linda Leaf hopes to provide an exceptional experience for all the players, coaches and spectators participating in this year’s event.