In May of 1955, Billie Bode and others put the finishing touches on the chicken wire backstops on Mason’s first two courts, #9 and #10. These courts were built by the Mason Jaycees and they were used for volley ball and tennis. Soon afterward, the severity of the drought in the 1950s caused the relocation of quite a few of Mason’s tennis enthusiasts; many people were forced out of Mason County in search of work in order to support their families. When the rains came back, so did the ranchers around Mason who were the foundation of Mason’s tennis heritage.
In ’66 or ’67 the Mason Tennis Association (MTA) was formed and in order to meet the community’s growing love of the game, the MTA constructed four more courts (#5, #6, #7, and #8) at a cost of $6,800. The student body of Mason High School made a sizable contribution; some recall that the students’ donation was as much as $2,000, money they raised through their annual magazine sales effort.
In the summer of 1973, the MTA began to make plans for the last four courts, #1 through #4. The city of Mason provided $5,000 and pledged another $5,000 the following year, while the Mason County commissioners committed $10,000 to be awarded in July of ’74. Rather than wait for the monies to be in hand, over 100 citizens signed a note for $20,000, thereby obligating them to $200 each in case the funds did not come through. Construction began in January 1974 and was completed in March. In addition to the four new courts, the asphalt courts were also resurfaced and all ten courts were lighted for night play.
Because so much of the work was completed by members of MTA, the final cost of the improvement project was only $27,000. Volunteers poured the slab, set posts and the reinforcement steel. The students in the CVAE classes at Mason High School welded fencing posts. At that time, about 90 families were members and paid annual dues of $5 per family. On works days, it was not uncommon to see the members and their children working at the courts. To ready the courts for play, the men acidized them and the women painted them.
The spirit of volunteerism was a driving force in building Mason County’s successful tennis program and that spirit continues today, making us the “Winningest Tennis Town in Texas.”