Sports

Copper River tennis tournament to help raise money for injured Fresno Fire Capt. Pete Dern

Copper River Country Club will hold a tennis tournament to help raise money for severely burned Fresno Fire Capt. Pete Dern.

A 25-year veteran of the fire department, Dern suffered burns to 70% of his body late last month after falling from a garage roof and into engulfing flames while fighting a house fire.

The Copper River Doubles Challenge is split into two divisions — men’s 4.0 and men’s open — and will have $5,000 worth of prize money.

The seven-week tournament begins at 6 p.m. Saturday with the following round to be held each Friday there after leading into the May 29 championships.

“Pete Dern has endured a lot and so has his family,” said Coby Roberts, Director of Tennis at Copper River. “They’ve said he’s going to have a long road to recovery.

“We want to help and hopefully it can morph into something community wide. It was the right thing to do.”

Members of Dern’s fire crew and their fire truck, Engine No. 17, are expected to be part of the festivities before the tournament, Roberts said.

Former ATP Tour player Hank Pfister, 61, headlines the field of 32 players and 16 doubles teams. Pfister was ranked No. 19 in the World in 1983. He currently serves as director of tennis and fitness at the Stockdale Country Club in Bakersfield.

Others competing include Matt Quall, Max Taylor, Brian Wright and Phil King, all former college tennis players. No current college or high school players were allowed to compete.

“This tournament has the best amateur players in the Fresno area,” Roberts said. “It’s going to be fun nd it’s for a good cause.”

Admission is free, and food and beverages will be available.

In a separate fundraiser involving Copper River a few years ago, a country club held a tennis-athon along with a silent auction and clinics that helped raised $40,000 in donations for Fresno First Steps Home, an organization that strives to end homeless in the city.

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