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Tulsa Pickleball Classic

Posted on September 30, 2022 by under Pickleball, Travel.    

The weekend of the Tulsa Pickleball Classic was a weekend of first for me. Not only was it the very first Tulsa Pickleball Classic tournament but it was also my first time in Tulsa and my first time playing with my chosen partners for the weekend.


I opted to play 50/50 instead of playing singles on Friday. Both events were on the same day so you had to choose one or the other. I had seen Robert Mansfield at some of the tournaments I’ve played in and he usually only plays singles so I was very surprised when he accepted my invitation to play together in the 50/50 event. He wasn’t playing in any other events at the tournament so, frankly, I felt pretty special. He carved out time just to play in the 50/50 with me.

Tulsa 50-50

I really wish we could have won it but Karen Fox and Cory Sager were on fire that day. They had my number and kept getting everything back. Anyway, I had a great time playing with Robert who was patient and fun, and I couldn’t have asked for a better 50/50 partner for the tournament.


Here’s a picture of our group from 50/50 day. From left: Molly Sager (Cory’s wife), Cory Sager, Karen Fox, and Cindy and Ed Egan. Cindy and Ed were also in the same division as Karen, Cory, Robert, and me. Cindy is under 50 and Ed is over 50 so it worked out for them. We really wanted to see an “all Wichita Pickleball” podium but it was not to be. Cindy and Ed ended up taking 4th behind Caroline Luelf and Stuart Ryan, a couple of Tulsa locals.


On Saturday I teamed up with my new friend Tanner Rice. I love his name because it made for a fun team name and t-shirt design.


I met Tanner on Facebook much like I meet a lot of people, via a random message but our team-up was completely accidental.

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That message was during the weekend of the 2021 ICT Fall-out tournament. I saw him at the tournament, we waved at each other, and that was that. Fast forward to May of this year when CRBN-gate happened.

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I meant to send a message to Tanner Blaske regarding the CRBN paddle replacement options and sent the message to Tanner Rice instead. That started a Facebook messenger exchange that resulted in the most random team up ever.

I’m always down to play with new people because I don’t have any set pickleball partners (for either mixed or women’s doubles) and I remembered seeing Tanner play 4.5 mixed at the Oak Tree tournament in February. I thought he was pretty good so I was like, “Why the hell not?”


Holy bait and switch, though! When I agreed to partner with him, we talked about playing at the 4.0 level because that was the highest level I had played to date. However, I did change my perspective a little bit because the ICT Classic tournament was around that time and Matt Nola had talked me into playing 5.0 level with him. We went 0-2 at that tournament but I didn’t feel completely out of place and I didn’t hate it so, having broken the ice and surviving 5.0 without totally humiliating myself, I figured 4.5 can’t be that any worse.

We had a little bit of bad luck and had to face our friends Ramon Lozano and Katie Merrill in the first round and then we lost a close one against Josh McAllister and Kaylyn Baker so we also went 0-2 in Tulsa but, once again, I didn’t hate it. Tanner was super patient and encouraging and, although I wanted us to have done better, I thought we meshed pretty well and didn’t fight over balls and didn’t really have significant miscommunication. Tanner put it really well when he summarized that, for our first time playing together (we had never played together before that – not even any practice games), we had a really good foundation to build upon. I have to agree with his assessment. I felt super comfortable playing with him and had a ton of fun, results not withstanding.


The next day I teamed up with Huyen Nguyen (my “pretend” daughter) in 4.0 women’s doubles. I had played this level before but I’m definitely not as strong at women’s doubles as I am at mixed. In fact, I’m still eligible to play in 3.0 level for women’s. While this wasn’t my first time playing with Huyen because we had played together in rec games before and we played in the Mother’s Day pickleball tournament at Chicken N Pickle earlier this year, I do consider this a first because it was our first real tournament team up. We didn’t get the results we hoped for but as it’s always a good time when you get to play with talented, top-notch players. I am very grateful to Huyen for her agreeing to team up with me.


In 3.5 women’s doubles, our friends swept the entire division. Cindy and Jenny (Corley) took first place, Kendra (Wicks) and Molly took second, and Janelle (Lindeman) and Amanda (Ades) took third. So we did get the “all Wichita Pickleball” podium that I was hoping to see in women’s doubles 3.5 level. I’m so proud of all these ladies!

Speaking of Cindy and Jenny, they are teaming back up this weekend for the Shangri-la Pickleball Open. I’m playing with Molly this time.

Anyway, that is all for now. More next time. Until then, GNG.

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  • Replies to "Tulsa Pickleball Classic"


    ICT Fall-out Recap  on October 13, 2022

    […] didn’t want to push it, and I wore our matching DUPR shirts. The shirts arrived too late for Tulsa Pickleball Classic so Tanner had to bring them on this […]


    Back to Back Pickleball  on October 19, 2022

    […] 2-4: Tulsa Pickleball Classic with Robert Mansfield (Intermediate 50/50), Tanner Rice (Mixed 4.5 19+), and Huyen Nguyen […]

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