Monday, April 2, 2018

Southwest Florida scores again with U.S. Open Pickleball Championships

Published April 1, 2018 - www.bonitaspotlight.com


It’s fairly easy to assess the dollar impact of a large event – like the Minto U.S. Open Pickleball Championships – on the community. This is the third year in Naples for the championship, scheduled for April 21-28.

Jack Wert, executive director and CEO of the Naples, Marco Island, Everglades Convention and Visitors Bureau, cites an industry standard formula used for sporting events to project that the competition will bring in $3 million. And it gets extra points with the county because it takes place well after Easter, the traditional end of snowbird season. That means more money to the area in what could have been a meager time.

The expected total for 2018 builds on about $2 million from 2016, when 800 players entered; then about $2.5 million in 2017, with 1,200 players. The 2,000 players expected this year, plus spectators, spend money on hotel rooms, dinners, souvenirs and in some cases, homes in Southwest Florida.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Pickleball Clubs partner with Gift of Life Marrow Registry to Save Lives

Published March 27, 2018 - www.bizwireexpress.com

A dedicated group of volunteers from the Delray Beach Pickleball Club and the Valencia Palms Gift of Life Club held the 2nd Annual Round Robin Pickleball Tournament benefiting Gift of Life Marrow Registry on Wednesday, March 21, 2018 at the Delray Beach Tennis Center.

More than 100 players and spectators, including marrow donors, transplant recipients and volunteers joined together to help those battling blood diseases and in need of a transplant find their lifesaving marrow matches.

For many patients suffering from leukemia, lymphoma and other cancers there is hope of a cure through a bone marrow or blood stem cell transplant. Every three minutes someone is diagnosed with blood cancer, but 70 percent of patients do not have a related match and must search the worldwide registry for a volunteer donor.

Those attending the event included two-time marrow donor Matthew Hocherman of Boca Raton and Barbara Goodman of Boynton Beach, whose life was saved through a bone marrow transplant. Gift of Life Founder and CEO Jay Feinberg presented medals to the tournament winners. The medalists were Michael Krooks and Arnie Weinberg – gold, David Amrani and Mark Vogel – silver and Tobias Kaye and Arthur Stein - bronze.


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Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Pickleball tourney draws players from around the South

Published March 4, 2018 - www.northwestgeorgianews.com


More than 100 players from as far away as Macon and Birmingham, Alabama, took over Thornton Recreation Center for the inaugural Rome (GA) Pickleball Classic.

The four-day event wrapped up Sunday.

“It’s one of the fastest-growing sports in the country right now,” said organizer JP Selle, the tennis director at Coosa Country Club.

Over the past few years, it has become a staple at both the country club and at Rome-Floyd Parks and Recreation facilities.

Played with a paddle and a plastic ball, pickleball combines elements of tennis, ping-pong and badminton. According to Lisa English and Logan Yerbey — who trounced their finals opponents in mixed doubles — it’s the sport Baby Boomers have been looking for.

What makes it such a great fit?

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Friday, February 23, 2018

Cape Coral resident claims three gold medals in pickleball at the Lee County 2017 Senior Games

Published February 23, 2018 - www.cape-coral-daily-breeze.com

Cape Coral resident Mike Welter recently successfully defended his three Lee County 2017 Senior Games Pickleball titles at the WaKeHatchee indoor pickleball courts.

Welter took the gold medal in singles in the men's 65-69 age category. He then teamed up with Randy Hall of Indian Creek to take the gold medal in the men's doubles age 65-69 division. Finally, he teamed up with Bobbi Little of North Fort Myers to win the gold medal in the mixed doubles age 60-64 division. He did not lose a match during this tournament.

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Wednesday, February 7, 2018

AAU Pickleball Serves First-Ever Event in Florida

Published February 6, 2018 - www.publicnow.com

The AAU Englewood Chill Blast Pickleball Tournament made history this weekend as the first-ever pickleball event hosted for AAU members. (What the heck is pickleball?!) More than 180 athletes from 31 states - ranging from age 19 to 75 - competed on Florida's west coast as part of the Florida Pickleball League.

'We were so excited to host the Inaugural AAU Pickleball Tournament,' said Sindee Snow, AAU Pickleball National Chair. 'Our best success comes from the individuals who participated in the event. We are looking forward to growing the sport in all ages through the country using the AAU platform.'

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Saturday, February 3, 2018

Pickleball Booms in Southwest Florida

Published February 2, 2018 - www.coastalbreezenews.com


The Southern Tropics Tournament Series kicked off in December with the Florida State Pickleball Championships. The Winter Classic represents the second leg of the series.

Five hundred ninety-two pickleball players competed in the East Naples Winter Classic held January 26th-28th at East Naples Community Park. Players of all ages and skill levels ranging from 3.0-5.0 participated. The organized event, well-staffed with volunteers, ran smoothly and on time as all 44 pickleball courts were busy with action. Although the blustery days proved to be a bit of a challenge, the players persevered…and those who persevered the most came away with a medal.

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Thursday, January 25, 2018

70-year-old St. Pete pickleballer overcomes adversity

Published January 24, 2018 - www.tbnweekly.com


ST. PETERSBURG – Speaking to Dean Refakes for the first time is like talking to an old friend.

The 70-year-old part-time St. Pete resident and Chicago native has the relaxed and upbeat demeanor of a favorite golfing buddy or dinner companion, as he happily recalls tales of his athletic exploits and his medical setbacks, both of which there are many. Refakes, known as “Clean Dean,” also intersperses his conversations with comments about his love of life and especially for his three daughters, whom he raised following a divorce and calls “the apples of his eye.”

That positive attitude has helped Dean overcome a litany of physical setbacks, from broken bones to balky knees and hips, to become a high-level baseball, basketball, tennis and now pickleball player, as well as a symbol for perseverance and determination for people of all ages.

“I’ve had a very nice life, and I try to enjoy it,” Refakes said shortly after winning a gold medal in pickleball at the 2017 Florida Senior Games in Clearwater in December. “My daughters are healthy, they graduated from college, and I’ve never had a problem with them. I’ve been blessed.”

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Thursday, December 28, 2017

Cape Coral elite pickleball player keeps winning, promotes sport

Published December 28, 2017 - www.news-press.com

Mike Welter would be well qualified to give an annual report on the state of pickleball in Lee County and even expand on his personal accomplishments in 2017.

The 65-year-old Cape Coral elite pickleball tournament player is relentless in promoting the popular sport while collecting his own championship trophies.

It was a good year for me, maybe my best ever, and I hate to see it end, Welter said. I like to play so I keep busy.

As long as my body holds up, I'll be fine. I retired from the Marines 17 years ago and I still feel the same today physically. My uniform still fits.

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