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The Franklin Pickleball Masters

Posted on October 18, 2019 by under Events, Hobbies.    

It’s been too long since I posted an update. Sorry about that. So much has happened. I can’t believe I haven’t even posted about the Franklin Pickleball Masters Tournament last month at Chicken N Pickle. It’s only the biggest thing to happen in the Wichita pickleball community.

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As if seeing all the best pickleball pros and watching them play in the flesh wasn’t exciting enough, I actually got to host one of them. I saw a post in the one of my pickleball groups on Facebook from pickleball pro Regina Franco. She and her friend Belinda’s housing arrangements fell through and they needed a place to stay. I offered our place. After exchanging a few messages on Tuesday night, they arrived at our house the following day.

She and Belinda were super nice and they were excellent house guests. Brian and I were both busy with work so, regrettably, we couldn’t spend more time with them or show them around. Regina was focused on the tournament so she spent most of her time at CNP practicing. They didn’t really need much from us. We pretty much left them alone to do their thing.

The first night they arrived was my league night. They arrived about the same time Brian and I got home from work. I had to change clothes and skedaddle to pickleball so I didn’t get to spend that much time with them at the house. We pretty much just showed them to their rooms and let them get settled.

She and Belinda showed up at CNP after they were refreshed. I stayed and played some games after league. Regina was so nice. She event played with us “scrubs.” It was great. She even gave me some pointers. I couldn’t stay too late because I had to go to work the next day but she and Michael and the others stayed and played all night, pretty much until CNP closed.

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It was pretty much the same thing on Thursday night, except I had my Aqua Zumba class at Genesis West Central. I went to CNP to check on them after class. We got to play together a bit. It was fun!

Matt had a pre-tournament cookout at Seneca Park on Friday night. I invited Regina and Belinda and they actually came! That was amazing! Everyone was thrilled to meet her. Debbie even got her autograph and took a selfie with her.

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We had an awesome turnout at the cookout. We had to take a group pic. I can’t believe I got everyone to stop playing for the photo. LOL.

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Here are a few more pics from the cookout.

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I ended up leaving the park to attend a work event at CNP that same night but after having introduced Regina to Matt and the others (she had already played with Karen and Michael and a few other people at CNP) I felt pretty comfortable leaving our guests there. I found out later that they actually got her to play.

There were some funny videos floating around in our Pickleball Connection group on Facebook. 😉

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Here are a couple of pics of me and Brian with my coworkers at our Wichita Corporate Challenge wrap up party at CNP, which just happened to be the night before the big tournament.

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It was quite fortuitous!

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At CNP I met up with my friend Jeanie. She knew the Franklin people and was there for the official pre-tournament party. I was there for a work thing but after my work thing we got together and walked around a bit to check out the tournament setup.

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I met Colin and Ben Johns (they were the big winners of the dramatic men’s division final on Saturday night, which we ended up missing because of Haus of Brews). It was really embarrassing because I mistook Colin for Kyle. Anyway they were both very sweet and had a good laugh about it.

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Some people actually came from out of town to watch the tournament so Jeanie and I made some new friends.

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Here we are with the Franklin guys.

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These are the teams for the men’s and women’s doubles events that happened on Saturday. The mixed event was on Sunday.

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The Franklin Pickleball Masters is the biggest thing to happen to the Wichita pickleball scene – EVER – so I was super excited. I actually subbed out all of my classes on Saturday and Sunday just so I could hang out at Chicken N Pickle and watch as many matches as I could. Of course, we had to leave early to attend Haus of Brews but we stayed as long as we could. Brian even went home to grab my Rotary polo so I could just change at CNP and go straight to Haus of Brews from there. I was that committed. LOL.

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Here are some pictures from Saturday. This is my friend Debbie. She was totally fan-girling with me all weekend long, getting pics with the pros, asking them to sign our paddles, everything. I was really grateful to have someone there to completely “geek out” with.

Debbie is the reason we got court-side VIP tickets. I originally purchased the $40 tickets but then they opened up some additional $60 tickets and Debbie tipped me off so I could return my $40 ones and buy the better tickets.

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Above are two fun ladies in our local pickleball group. We are in the same league at CNP on Wednesday nights.

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Next is a pic of me and my friend Debbie with Sarah Ansboury (left) and Regina. Regina’s partner Sarah actually stayed with Brian’s old coworker Will, who knows Sarah from her tennis days.

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I got a selfie with Joey Farias and Adam Stone who were partners in the men’s doubles tournament. Joey arrived in town early so I actually met him for the first time on Thursday night when I stopped by CNP to check on Regina and Belinda.

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These are the two best women pickleball players and they dominated their field. That’s Lucy Kovalova on the left and Simone Jardim on the right. Lucy in a tennis instructor at the Wichita Country Club so all of Wichita was definitely rooting for her in the women’s doubles and her boyfriend Matt Wright in men’s doubles. They’re our local pickleball celebrities who we are very proud to claim because they are two of the best in the nation (and quite possibly the world).

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That’s Matt Wright in the red shirt below.

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I took a pic as they gathered everyone for a group photo before the tournament officially started. It was exciting to see all these amazing pickleball pros in Wichita. I was completely awestruck.

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Here’s a pic of me with two pickleball friends, Patrick and Michael.

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This cute 12-year-old is pickleball pro Anna Leigh Waters.

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Another friend from pickleball, Sheryl.

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These were some big checks for the winners. Literally.

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Pickleball is not as established as tennis so this is probably the most prestigious tournament to date. It was invite only and had the biggest prize money of any pickleball tournament.

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Another pic with Anna Leigh. This time with Becky and Debbie. Becky Middleton is known in our community as the “godmother of pickleball” because she was instrumental to getting our six courts at Edgemoor Park.

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I wish I could have stayed for the dramatic men’s doubles championship match between Matt Wright and Kyle Yates vs. Ben Johns and Colin Johns. They went three games and, in the third game, the Johns brothers came back from being down 2 to 10 to win the gold. Brian and I were at Haus of Brews at the time.

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Since we missed that much, the highlight of the men’s tournament for me was Adam Stone’s Christmas outfit. LOL.

Jokes aside, I missed the women’s doubles final also but later that evening I got to hold Regina’s second place trophy.

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We went to CNP bright and early on Sunday morning because I didn’t want to miss a moment more. My friend Jeanie was already there.

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This is another friend from pickleball, Laurie. She is in the same Wednesday night league as me, which baffles me because she is really good.

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Michael, Mary, and me with ref Ron Ponder.

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I had to take a pic of these ladies and their awesome “I Love Lucy” shirts.

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We had fabulous court-side VIP seats.

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These are Leigh Waters and Anna Leigh Waters. Leigh played with Dave Weinback and Anna Leigh played with Kyle Yates. I really wish I could have watched this mother and daughter duo play together. At least I got to watch them play against each other. It was an exciting match!

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Anna Leigh and Kyle ended up winning and took third.

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Wichita’s golden pickleball couple — Lucy Kovalova and Matt Wright.

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Lucy and Matt took second with the big winners being Simone and Ben who both got golds in the women’s and men’s doubles events as well.

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Here’s me with the Asian pickleball crew (Jimmy, Michael, and Patrick) with our honorary white dude, Bruce. LOL.

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Some more pickleball friends — Becci, Jeanie, and Kim.

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Me and Jeanie with Anna Leigh and Kyle.

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They are so cute!

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These are all the mixed doubles winners.

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It was a great payday for these two especially.

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Franklin really went all out, complete with Franklin-branded yard games. It’s a shame it rained part of the time. We still had a great time, though.

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I hope this is only the first of many more exciting pickleball events to come!

Related Posts

  • Pickleball Events on September 11, 2019
  • Making New Friends on May 24, 2019
  • Pickleball League at Chicken N Pickle on October 5, 2019
  • Bob Jackson Friendship Tournament on November 3, 2019
  • League Recap on November 6, 2019

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