After about six months of planning, we finally completed our third Picklemania Pickleball Tournament fundraiser for the Rotary Club of Andover. Here’s a short video that Jonathan Thorne (Five Star Remodeling) created for us:
The Rotary Club of Andover held the very first Picklemania charity/fundraising tournament in 2021 in response to the pandemic. Due to COVID restrictions and health concerns, our club could not hold Haus of Brews (our signature fundraising event) in 2020 so we had to figure out another way for our club to raise money for our service projects. That’s how the idea for hosting a pickleball tournament was born.
We did not have any sponsors that year with the exception of Chris McGill (CoreNorth Capital Planning) who pretty much bankrolled that first tournament. It was kind of a proof of concept – we just wanted to see if we successfully host a tournament and use it to raise money.
The club raised about $1200 from that first tournament. It wasn’t much but it was enough to prove to us that we could host a tournament and not be in the red. It was also enough to give us the confidence to solicit sponsorships from local businesses.
Since we only have 8 courts, we had to figure out a way to increase the number of players without needing additional courts so we transitioned from a doubles even to a team event. We used a made up team format that I came up where teammates can tag in and out during mixed doubles, kind of like in Wrestlemania. We limited the number of teams to 16 (since we only had 8 courts) and filled all of the team spots by February.
We wanted to keep growing but were still stuck with only 8 courts. We decided to allow 20 teams this time but we ended up with over 20 teams before we shut down online registrations. We were once again full by February. Because we ended up with 24 total teams (8 more than last year), we had to get creative with the format to ensure that we got lots of games/matches for the players.
This year our team format used modified MLPlay rules. Basically the same as MLP but only playing to 15, win by 1, with freeze at 14. We also did the singles dream breaker rotation as switch every 2 points instead of 4 for a couple of reasons: (a) people generally don’t like to play singles and we figured that 2 points/rallies would be manageable for everyone regardless of fitness level, and (b) since we were only playing to 15, this allowed each member of the team at least 2 rotations.
I predicted the tournament to run from 8 AM to 5 PM and, because I am such a taskmaster and stickler for schedules, we finished exactly at 5:06 PM. Yes, all of my events always run on schedule.
In case you missed the event, there are a few ways you can catch some of the action:
- Livesteam videos on my Ching page
- Tanner Rice’s YouTube channel
- Cory Sager’s Livestreams (I think you have to be his friend on Facebook to watch these)
This is pretty much how the day went:
These are the 4 pools:
As expected, the top two teams of each pool ended up being the teams with the highest total DUPR with the exception of Pool D. Pool D resulted in a three-way tie between Bodyworx, DUPR Troopers, and Mid-Court Crisis. We couldn’t use head-to-head because Bodyworx beat Mid-Court Crisis, Mid-Court Crisis beat DUPR Troopers, and DUPR Troopers beat Bodyworx; so we ended up using total games won as the tie breaker. Mid-Court Crisis won 16 total games, Bodyworx won 15, and DUPR Troopers won 14. Our team basically missed out on being Elite 8 by one measly game – because had we tied Bodyworx, we would have advanced ahead of them because we beat them head-to-head.
- Drop It Like Itz Hot – Donnie Lesperance, Frank McCormick, Kim McCormick, Tiffany Lesperance
- Newton Pickleball Club (NPC) – Jeff Dodds, Nick Cusick, Janelle Lindeman, Laurie Newton
- Generation Dink – Brady Randall, Sam Tope, Cheryl George, Patti Mackey
- Weekend Warriors – Austin Weiser, Matt Von Feldt, Alice Tunks-Jones, Susie Ternes
- Semi-Hot Assets – Tim Short, Zach Kill, Becky Molitor, Ying Krause
- Recourse Liabilities – Becker Truster, Randall Brumm, Emme Kempke, Madeleine Smith
- Negative Equity – Bob Decker, Nehme El Ters, Julie Foster, Leslie Bowerman
- Vornado – Lance Henne, Raj Jammula, Elizabeth Coppoc, Erika Bemis
Intermediate Bracket Results
- First place – Drop It Like Itz Hot
- Second place – Generation Dink
- Third place – Newton Pickleball Club
- DUPR Troopers – Ramon Lozano, Tanner Rice, Ching Brubaker, Katie Merrill
- Team BK – David Gleason, Ian Wright, Karly Gleason (Williams), Liz Wright (Sharp)
- Bang Bang – Trung Ho-Nguyen, Zach Nguyen, Fong Witte, Heather Griffin
- Bobby and His Peeps – Bobby Weisbrodt, Jeff Bally, Jenny Gaddis, Michelle Pease
- Sorry, Not Sorry – Daniel Lyon, Sean McKinney, Karen Fox, Stacy Wessley
- FORVIS – Fernando Martinez, Micah Jacques, Colby Fugit, Ting Ya Hsu
- Rinky Dink – Chris Wilson, Kumar Krishnan, Kimberly Howe, Vickie Bell-Hancock
- Dinking and Driving – Cory Sager, Ed Egan, Cindy Egan, Molly Sager
Advanced Bracket Results
- First place – DUPR Troopers
- Second place – Team BK
- Third place – FORVIS
ELITE 8 BRACKET
- TEMA – Chris Heck, Tony Swantek, Jenny Cole, Kayla Keuter
- Go Time – Cody Courter, Matt Nola, Chandi Bongers, Courtney Krsnich
- Chicken N Pickle – Jack Oxler, Michael Harris, Kim Blackman, Lindsey Vermillion
- Bodyworx – David Belew, Michael Ellison, Jen Tiano, Lori Belew
- Freddy’s – Bo Tolbert, Jared Smart, Huyen Nguyen, Kendra Wicks
- Cover Your Aces – Drew Spencer, Mitch Spencer, Greta Siemens, Kali Wilson
- Team Equilibrium – Austin Corley, Ian Carr, Jen Reifschneider, Jenny Corley
- Mid-Court Crisis – Noi Sourinthone, Scott Wolford, Ling Wei Kong, Natalie Lubbers
Elite 8 Bracket Results
- First place – Chicken N Pickle
- Second place – TEMA
- Third place – Go Time
Red was the color of the day, with several teams choosing red for their theme color.
The Weekend Warriors chose to go with pink.
While Rinky Dink chose purple because they are a bunch of K-State fans.
The Newton Pickleball Club (NPC) players represented Sunflower Travel and Royal Caribbean.
Generation Dink with the Weekend Warriors.
Kyle Starkel assisted Brian Brubaker at the tournament desk in the afternoon.
Ryan De Santis (pictured below) manned the check-in desk instead of playing this year. Chris McGill and Tony Durano were also at the check-in but they’re not pictured.
We may all represent different teams but we were all friends competing with one another. Below is a pic of me (DUPR Troopers) with Scott Wolford (Mid-Court Crisis), Noi Sourinthone (Mid-Court Crisis), Katie Merrill (DUPR Troopers), Kali Wilson (Cover Your Aces), and Tanner Rice (DUPR Troopers).
Here’s a picture of just our team – DUPR Troopers.
Admittedly, the day was quite stressful and I was reminded (yet again) of why I should not play in my own events. I struggled to keep things on track with absolutely no help from my team. Last year, Chris Heck was my problem child with staying on task (literally, we would call a match and then we would look at the court 20 minutes later and they still weren’t playing because Chris was either getting a beer or chatting with someone with no awareness of what is going on) and this year it was Katie. She treated the end of each match like a bye-round, didn’t hear any of the announcements, and was utterly clueless as to the schedule. Every time we were called to a match she was nowhere to be found and never ready to play. I think the only one she was actually ready for was our first match and then after that she was in la-la-land. I was super stressed that we were running way behind and my team was actually part of the problem. It was super frustrating.
I told Brian later that the only person on the team that didn’t give me any problems was Tanner (Ramon was missing one time, so he wasn’t perfect but not as bad as Katie). Tanner was ready every time we were called to a match and he even helped track down the other two when all the players were present for the match and they were still missing.
At least a few times that day I really and truly felt like I never ever want to host this event ever again (although, I don’t know who would do it if I didn’t — I pretty much solicit for sponsorships, keep track of the team sign ups, figure out the format, communicate with the teams, print all the things, and run the event — except this year I “voluntold” Brian to do it because I was playing — possibly the worst decision ever — the playing part, not the recruiting Brian to help part because Brian did an absolutely fantastic job for not having done anything like this by himself before). But that feeling quickly dissipated as soon as I saw that we were back on track. We made up really good time in the afternoon by using the DUPR rankings to seed the brackets, rather than counting all the games won for each and every single team.
The part that took the longest was figuring out the three-way tie in Pool D and also waiting for the results of FORVIS vs Equilibrium match in Pool C because at that point those two teams had a tied record and the winner of that match determined who was advancing to Elite 8 vs going to the Advanced bracket.
As soon as we had the eight teams that comprised of each bracket, we were able to quickly seed them and get the first round matches started. Not playing the second mixed doubles game in the match also save a ton of time.
So, yes, I am feeling much better now so you can count on a Picklemania MMXXIV next year. I will not be playing in it, and you probably won’t see me playing any of my own events again for while until I forget how horrible this experience was for me. Everyone had a great time though (or so I’ve been told) and that is all that matters. Until next year!