Classic Southern Hospitality in the Heart of Louisiana
In earlier days in the South, a Mint Julep cup – traditionally, a sterling or pewter cup with a beaded rim – was a popular gift for a wedding, a new baby, a christening, or a graduation. It served a far greater role than a means of sipping bourbon, sugar, and mint. It was meant to document a special occasion and to represent tradition and history.
When Southern Trace Country Club opened in 1988, they wanted to host a member-guest tournament. They wanted the tournament to have a catchy name, espouse genuine southern charm, and extend true southern hospitality to all its guests. The Mint Julep was the perfect name for this event and has become Southern Trace’s premier annual tennis tournament. The tournament has grown through the years and has hosted up to 80 teams for the last 32 years.
The tournament begins on a Thursday evening with a Pairings Party and runs Friday through Sunday. Each year it garners more support from sponsors and vendors, and the weekend schedule adds more activities and events. The community involvement each year is huge. From title sponsorships to party sponsors, to court banners to gift bags, the community support is what drives the event and ensures the original attributes its founders valued continue year-after-year.
The 2020 Mint Julep brought on its own set of changes with Cliff Drysdale Tennis taking over management of the tennis club and Matthew and Anya Coerver taking over as Directors at the club, as well as challenges with restrictions for indoor gatherings and crowd sizes due to the global pandemic. While canceling the event this year would have been the easier route, the tournament committee took into account the loyalty of the Southern Trace members and the desire to cling to some form of normalcy. The committee and club wanted to provide members and guests a weekend of safe and socially distant fun on the court. With modifications to the tournament schedule, the committee did just that.
Changes to the 2020 weekend included canceling the Hit for Prizes event on Friday night and the Saturday night party. While these are both very popular and usually highlights to the weekend, new additions to the weekend were exciting and allowed for proper physical distancing and ensured safety for the players. The new events throughout the weekend included a Fastest Serve Competition, a Pro Exhibition Match, a Mint Julep Bar with a DJ, and a family event Sunday afternoon with Frios Gourmet-Pops for the children. Southern Trace also had Southern Hydreight Mobile Medics on hand to provide IV hydration and vitamins to the players and a Head representative with tennis merchandise and demo rackets available for players to try.
While the odds were in favor of canceling the event, thanks to the committee, sponsors, Southern Trace staff, and all of the players and members, this year’s Mint Julep was one that we will never forget. Special congratulations to the Women’s 5.0, 6.0, 7.0, and 8.0 and Men’s 6.0, 7.0, and 8.0 finalist and champions that won a mint julep cup as the trophy.
May this tournament continue for years to come and continue to provide true southern hospitality while celebrating life, family, friends, and tennis at Southern Trace.