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Archive for "Events"

Open Play with the Pros

Posted on January 5, 2022 by under Events, Pickleball.    

Jack Sock came to Wichita last month. I took a vacation day so I could attend the “Open Play with the Pros” event at Chicken N Pickle featuring Jack Sock (world famous tennis pro), Lauren Stratman (the #1 female pickleball player on the APP Tour), Dylan Frazier (young, up and coming pickleball pro), and Jack Oxler (director of pickleball and resident pro at Kansas City Chicken N Pickle location).

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I originally signed up for the 10 AM session only but my Oklahoma friends Grant Bond and Alvaro Terron Gonzalez (pictured above with me and my friend Karen Fox) said they were coming and were signed up for the 1 PM session so then I signed up to attend the afternoon as well.

They actually ended up driving up on Thursday night and staying with Patrick Smith so they played a lot that weekend. My friend Donnie Lesperance, who works at Chicken N Pickle, texted me on Thursday to let me know that “my guys” were there. I didn’t come out that night but, when Karen texted me the next morning with a pic of her and Alvaro, I skedaddled over.

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I was going to be there for the 10 am open play session anyway so I basically just went an hour or so early. It worked out great because I got to watch Grant (Pat 2.0) play with Pat and Alvaro (Jay 2.0 aka “the Spanish Sensation”) play with Jocelyn “Jay” Devilliers. It was like seeing double. It was pretty much like an exhibition match for an audience of one.

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Here are some pics from that day. The above pic features Jen Reifschneider (aka Chef Jen or Lefty Jen), Lesli Toubassi (who gets mistaken for me sometimes so I consider her like a sister), and Lauren Stratman.

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This pic has Tami Racine and Ron Owens with me and Lauren.

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Of course, I look like a midget next to Jack Sock. LOL.

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It was fun watching them play a couple of games in between the two sessions.

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Hanging out with Alvaro.

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Lauren and Karen.

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With my buddy Matt Nola who hopefully will be playing with me at the Minto US Open Pickleball Championships in April.

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With Jack Oxler, plus Jody Vinson and Lonnie Lollar below.

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The guys were smart and stayed together so they had some super fun competitive games. Pictured below are Ev Kim (playing with Jack Sock) and Grant and Alvaro (who are playing together on the far end).

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With Dylan Frazier. He is the nicest guy ever! One night he was waiting for Jay at Chicken N Pickle and agreed to hit with me and we got two others to play with us and we actually got a few points in before Jay arrived.

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Here’s a pic of me and Dylan with Zach Nguyen and Matt Nola.

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I will leave you with a fun video montage that I made of some of the pics and video clips I took that day. Enjoy!

Until next time, GNG.

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Happy Hollitini Social

Posted on December 26, 2021 by under Events, Food and Drink.    

Debbie Fanning organized a fun holiday social at Todd Brian’s Brick Street Cafe & Tavern for the lady picklers a couple of weeks ago. It was so much fun!

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Here’s a picture of me with Kimberly Howe and Tami Racine.

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Karen Fox and Janelle Lindeman.

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Tiffany Lesperance, Debbie Fanning, and Brooke Ayala.

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Todd Brian’s is known for its fun and delicious martinis aka funtinis. They have 75 different flavors plus a special new holiday one.

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I didn’t get pictures of all the food but I got a few.

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I didn’t have them but the wings looked pretty good.

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I had the crab cakes and they were fabulous.

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I heard the salmon was cooked to perfection.

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I used the opportunity to give the girls their presents — cute little fuzzy animal tape measure key chains, so they can measure the net whenever the need arises.

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There were 12 of us at dinner. Clockwise from left: MariAnn Hereen, Karen Fox, Janelle Lindeman, Chandi Bongers, Melissa Burgess, Amy Jaramillo, Tiffany Lesperance, Debbie Fanning, Brooke Ayala, Kimberly Howe, and Tami Racine.

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There were a few ladies who couldn’t make it due to schedule conflicts but it was a great turnout overall.

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A few of us stuck around for some fun pictures with the big Christmas tree in the middle of Old Town Square after dinner.

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Everyone had a lovely time. Here’s a fun video montage that I made of the various pictures and video clips we took that night.

I am so grateful that pickleball has brought all of us together. I just love these ladies. They are fun both on and off the pickleball court. Until next post, GNG.

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Chicks that Click

Posted on December 13, 2021 by under Community, Events, Things to Do.    

I love the Snowbound pop-up bar concept at Chicken N Pickle so much that I welcome any excuse to go. When Kim Blackman and Lisa Orf invited me to the Chicks that Click event at Snowbound and told me I could bring some friends, I was all over it. I was already going to be playing at Chicken N Pickle that day anyway for the CNP ICT Major League Pickleball team tournament so I figured it was perfect because then I could just come out an hour early.

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Sarah is the best bartender/mixologist/bar manager ever! She made an amazing “mocktail” for my friend Lesli Toubassi (below). I liked it so she made me an “adult” version spiked with rum, which was just as tasty.

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Deana Holman, Karen Taylor, and Jenny Cole listening attentively to Abby and Kim. Deana and Karen are a couple of pickleball players from Oklahoma who were playing in MLP that weekend. They stayed at Jenny’s house.

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We listened to Abby (brains behind the Snowbound pop-up bar concept) talk about how they did Snowbound at the Kansas City location (original/first ever CNP) last year and it was a huge success so they decided to bring it to the other locations this year. I’m not sure how it’s doing at the other locations but it is super popular with my circle of picklers so from that perspective I think it’s doing really well.

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Missina Sharp (another out of towner), Krista Crawford, and Rachel McMahon.

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The same ladies with Karen Fox. At first Karen said she couldn’t make it but she was able to come out after all.

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Deana, Karen (Taylor), Jenny, and Michelle Pease with their fun drinks.

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Group photo with most of the girls who attended. Lesli couldn’t stay.

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I had to get a gondola pic with my friend Krista who I had ran into at Costco earlier that same day. Then we did again with all the other girls because everything is better when you do it with a group, specially a fun one like these ladies.

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Jody Vinson was surprise when she arrived at open play because there weren’t many people there and when she found out we were still all drinking at Snowbound, she came to get us. LOL.

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The pre-pickleball drinks made open play quite interesting but I did get a few good practice games in before heading over to Nahola for our more pickleball with Debbie’s group. Anyway, this was the day that we took my car in for an oil change and I didn’t realize they turned off my headlights which are normally set to auto so I don’t ever mess with them. Anyway, I didn’t realize I was driving around without headlights until I was on my way home. Ooops!

I highly recommend checking out Snowbound. I do not recommend driving around without your headlights on. I knew I should have checked but it was daylight when I went to CNP and, even though I didn’t have that much to drink, I completely spaced the checking my headlights because I never really ever have to mess with them. I will be extra careful in the future. Until then. GNG.

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Leadership Wichita Holiday Get Together

Posted on December 9, 2021 by under Community, Events, Leadership.    

Our #LeadershipWichita class (class of 2014) recently had a holiday get together at Bill’s place. He has a 5,000 square-foot loft above Bite Me BBQ. It was the perfect place to gather because, being downtown, it’s centrally located for both East- and West-siders, and he had plenty of space for everyone.

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Bill and his wife Marilyn were wonderful hosts. Besides providing BBQ for everyone, they also had a nice dessert selection and made a special cake for our group. It was fabulous!

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Here are some pictures of our group. I’m glad several of my classmates made it to this event. It was great to see everyone. until next time. GNG.

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2021 Tallgrass Film Festival

Posted on October 27, 2021 by under Events.    

I was super excited for Tallgrass Film Festival this year because in person events were back. Last year it was all virtual and I couldn’t figure out how to watch the movies online. This year, they had both in person and virtual and I was determined to take advantage of both channels. This is also the first year that I got a second Tallpass. Usually, work only gives me one pass so I have to purchase a separate pass/ticket for Brian (or get one through my sister who was working for Tallgrass Film Association on the side). Jenni didn’t work for them this year so she actually had to buy her own Tallpass as well. Knowing this, I asked my work for a second Tallpass for Brian if there were any extras or if someone at work who was offered a Tallpassed happened to not want theirs. I guess fortune favors the bold because my work gave me two Tallpasses. Winner, winner, chicken dinner!

In the past, I’ve usually gone to one or two movies at most and maybe one of the film gala parties on the weekend. It’s not really making the most of my Tallpass but since I’ve only ever had one, I’ve never been that gung-ho about going. This year, since Brian and I both had Tallpasses, I wanted to make the most of our experience. We tried to hit as many movies and parties as our schedules would allow which, considering our schedules, still wasn’t very much but we actually got great use of our Tallpasses this year.

We missed the Wednesday night festivities (FREE showing of Shrek at Naftzger Park and VIP reception before the screening) because I always have Aqua Zumba (at VASA Georgetown/Harry location) followed by late night pickleball (at Riverside Tennis Center). I didn’t know about it until that day so it was too late for me to change my plans. Brian and I did manage to coordinate our schedules so that we could attend the gala party at Botanica on Thursday night, though.

He ended his gaming early and picked me up at Riverside (so I wouldn’t have to drive all the way back home to drive all the way back downtown — Botanica is like five minutes from Riverside Tennis Center) and then we both went to Botanica in his car. After the party, we swung back by RTC to pick up my car and then drove home separately. The plan was efficient and worked out great.

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Here are some fun pics from Thursday night.

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DJ Carbon was there. I also ran into my friend Teresa Veazey from #LeadershipWichita and some friends from pickleball. We didn’t stay at the party late because it was a weeknight and, although Brian was off the next day, I was not. We did plan to attend the VIP breakfast at the Ulrich Museum of Art at Wichita State University but decided to change our minds last minute. Instead, we used the time to check out the Tallgrass Film Festival VIP Lounge.

I’d never gone in there before and clearly I’ve been missing out. They have snacks and drinks in there pretty much all day long, there’s a photo booth, and lots of swag. They even feed you lunch (which we didn’t stay for because I had to go back to work) and host a happy hour from 3-5 pm in the afternoon. I’m not sure if the schedule changes daily but that’s what they had posted that morning when we stopped by. I’m thinking in the future, if we do this again, I’m totally taking time off work to get the full experience.

There was an awesome party on 1st Street by the Orpheum on Friday night. Brian didn’t want to go because he was streaming but I stopped by on my way home from pickleball. The food and drinks were plentiful, there was a DJ spinning music (not Carbon), and they even had fire dancers on the street. It was really neat. I really wish Brian would have gone with me because Jenni decided to skip the party, and it’s definitely not as fun going to these things by yourself.

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On Saturday we carved out some time to attend TFF events in the afternoon. We went to Groover Labs for the EPA Reception (free food – LOL). Lunch was pretty good! Then it was off to Orpheum to watch Poser.

Went home to take care of Saki and then went back out to catch another movie. We were going to see Shaft but decided to watch one of the indie films instead so we went to watch Adventures in Success at Mama Films next to the VIP Lounge. The movie was weird and disjointed. I’m pretty open minded but I really didn’t like this one. The silver lining is, since we cut through the VIP Lounge, we got to take some fun photo booth pics.

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The reception on Saturday night was at the WAVE, an outdoor concert venue downtown. We ran into Will, who I know both through Brian (they used to work together at Viega) and also pickleball. We sat and visited a while and mused at the fact that the awards ceremony is much cooler when it is held at the Orpheum. Hopefully they’ll go back to that next year.

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I was not a huge fan of the WAVE party because there was no free event food (besides popcorn and candy) and the drinks were limited. I know some people go to these parties to rub elbows with other pretentious hipsters but I mostly go for the free food and booze. LOL.

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Brian and I weren’t fans of the boxed wine they were serving so Brian and I took off early (Brian wanted to drink his own, better wine at home). Jenni was thrilled that we gave her our extra drink tickets.

We ended up staying up all night watching Dune — because Brian had been anxiously awaiting its release. Of course, he couldn’t get over how they were pronouncing the word “Harkonnen” so I had to listen to him complain about it. Come to find out, this version actually pronounces it right (consistent with the author’s pronunciation) and it’s the 1984 David Lynch movie that got it wrong. Brian still can’t accept it.

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I still have my Aqua Zumba classes that I’m teaching in the morning so we’re just squeezing in activities in between obligations. I actually overbooked on Sunday because we schedule a pickleball cookout so we couldn’t watch any movies. The ironic thing is we had Cargill burgers at the pickleball cookout and Cargill burgers again at the Tallgrass Film Festival closing party at Old Cowtown Museum. I’m pretty sure they’re the same burgers because Cargill is an event sponsor and probably donated the meat.

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Here are some of the pics we took at Cowtown…

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You couldn’t go inside most of the buildings (except for the Empire House Theater, where the party was held, and the outhouses) but it was kind of fun having run of the place. We didn’t have to fight a ton of people for pics.

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I actually had to take a picture of this sign outside the restroom. I was worried it was an actual “exhibit” and we weren’t supposed to use it. Thankfully, it’s an actual restroom with running water and plumbing that works. I think the sign is just to limit the number of people inside for COVID reasons.

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The party had a great turnout and it was the perfect end to another fun film festival.

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Can’t wait until the next one! Until then, GNG.

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