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Another Weekend, Another Tournament

Posted on November 19, 2021 by under Community, Hobbies, Travel.    

I traveled to Great Bend last weekend for the Turkey Classic. I hadn’t been playing indoors on wood gym floors much over the last year or so but my friend Ramon Lozano is one of my favorite mixed doubles partners so, when he asked, I couldn’t say no. We had dinner plans with Madison and Lindsay that Saturday night but mixed was scheduled for Sunday so I accepted the invitation thinking I could do the dinner and then just drive over and back on Sunday.

My friend Sandi Dobbs (mother in law of Mason McCanless, another pickleball friend) invited me to play in women’s doubles. I was already going to be there for mixed anyway and there weren’t many teams so we were trying to help them out. Plus, Sandi said I could spend the night at her house so I wouldn’t have to drive back and forth on both days. Then, come to find out, there weren’t that many women’s teams signed up so they were going to consolidate all of the play to Saturday. Anyway, it was a bit of a mess but it all worked out.

If I were only playing mixed I probably could have left Wichita around 10 o’clock because mixed wasn’t until the afternoon and it was only a two hour drive. With gender doubles starting at 8:30 AM, Karen and I left her house at 5 in the morning to get there with plenty of time to find the school and settle in.

I told Karen I’d been waking up in the middle of the night at 2 and 3 AM because I hadn’t been sleeping well lately. Little did I know it was all training for the day of our early morning drive to Great Bend.

Karen Fox, Jen Reifschneider, Sandi Dobbs and me

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The day before the tournament, Karen’s women’s doubles partner Janelle Lindeman backed out and so Karen ended up getting Jen to fill in. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise because she got a partner upgrade.

There were some last minute women’s sign ups so instead of having to play with the men, the women ended up with their own division. There were eight teams that were divided into two separate brackets after pool play.

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Jen Tiano and Jenny Cole (holding the frozen turkeys in the above photo) won the top women’s bracket with Karen and Jen taking second (pumpkin pie filling prize) and me and Sandi in third (stuffing prize). They didn’t actually send you home with the food. Those were just props for the photo. But you did get a gift card so you could buy your own food. I’m actually grateful for the gift card because I don’t really like stuffing that much. LOL.

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There were twice as many men’s doubles teams as there were women’s so they ended up with multiple brackets. These were the top guys: Chris Heck and Klee Watchous (first place), Ramon Lozano and Jeret Johnson (second place), and Justin McClung and Shawn Clark (third place).

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There were 20 or so mixed doubles teams that played in the afternoon so there was a gold bracket, silver bracket, and bronze bracket. I’m not sure what happened in the other brackets but Wichita swept the gold bracket with Jen and Chris taking first, Jenny and Klee taking second, and Karen and Bo (not pictured because had to leave to deal with his car troubles) taking third. Ramon and I finished in fourth, losing to Karen and Bo in the back draw.

We joked that Chris, Jenny, Jen, and Klee flew in (yes, Klee flew the four of them in) just to do some exhibition matches. LOL. Chris joked that the drive from his house in West Wichita to the hangar in Benton was half of the drive time to Great Bend, which a little exaggerated but somewhat accurate. The drive would have been 2.5 hours from my house but it was only a little less than 2 hours from Karen’s house. I’m glad she decided to ride with me because it made the drive go by super quick. It also gave the two of us an opportunity to catch up.

Tomorrow Karen, Ramon, Bo, and I are playing in the team tournament at Nahola. I’ve only ever done it once and it was a complete fluke. I wasn’t part of a team but rather a last minute fill in. The teams this time are stacked with great players. It should be a super fun, competitive time.

Until next time. GNG.

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