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PPA Championships

Posted on October 21, 2022 by under Pickleball, Travel.    

When you get invited to play in a tournament in Las Vegas and you don’t know where you’re staying, what do you do? You pack as light as you possibly can. This is me, “one-bagging” it…


I actually didn’t even plan to buy this bag. However, a few months ago, I found a deal on the Electrum website for the Pro II (a paddle that I had been patiently waiting for) and the bag. Both the paddle and bag would cost more if purchased separately but much cheaper if bought as part of the “bundle” (and also even 10% less using Matt Nola’s NOLA10 discount code) so I bought a bag I didn’t actually need to “save” money on the paddle.

The bag is enormous so I couldn’t really use it as my regular bag. Anyway, the trip to Vegas the perfect reason to break it in. I needed a backpack that could fit everything I needed for the weekend and my new Electrum pickleball bag was the answer. So my “personal” bag is the size of a carry-on. It’s still just one bag so I got away with paying the cheaper airfare also.


We went straight to the tournament site upon arriving in Vegas. We wanted to check out how our friend Matt was doing. They had 39 courts set up at the Darling Tennis Center. There were also fun vendor areas set up in between.


Part of the whole PPA Tour experience, besides playing in the tournament, is being able to watch the pros play on Championship Court.


Chicken N Pickle had the perfect spot for their vendor tent and it was pretty much home base for all the Chicken N Pickle sponsored athletes competing at the tournament that weekend.


Here are a few pictures from the weekend…


Julie Johnson (the Kansas City one, not JW and Jorja’s mom), Jen Reifschneider, and me. Below, me and Ryan Kellenbarger with a former WSU basketball player. Ryan knew him but I had no idea.


Picture of the Johnson twins – Hunter and Yates. Don’t ask me which is which.


Speaking of twins, Stacy Wessley and I got to do some twinning ourselves. Don’t mind the photo-bombers.


I met a couple of lovely Filipino ladies at the Better Than Tens tent.


We got to watch Anna Bright and Parris Todd punch their ticket to Championship Sunday — on Anna Bright’s birthday.


As far as my own playing goes, it wasn’t an exceptional weekend but I don’t think I played terribly either. On Thursday, Jen and I played in 4.0 19+ women’s doubles. We went 2-2. We fell in the semis — one win away from playing for Gold/Silver. The tournament format was double elimination with “no come around” which means once you lose in the main draw the best you can do is win Bronze.

Part of the motivation to do well in the back draw is the chance to come back and win Gold the hard way. I found the loss in semis demoralizing and was completely unmotivated. Anyway, had we won our match in the back draw, Jen and I would have played for Bronze.

Friday was men’s doubles day so the girls got a break. We did come out to the tournament to watch the pro matches and cheer on the guys. Unfortunately, results weren’t the best that day. I think most of the teams were 0-2.

Saturday was mixed doubles and Zach and I entered the 3.5 35+ division. Once again, we went 2-2. We were one win away from playing for Gold/Silver and one win away from playing for Bronze. Our semi-final match was a real heart-breaker. After losing the first game 12-14, we won the second game 13-11, and then we were up 10-6 in the third game but could not close. We ended up losing that game 10-12 and were sent to the back draw instead of moving on to the Gold/Silver match. What a day! I guess at least I was consistent.

Anyway, the big tournaments are always tough. Sometimes you come home with hardware, sometimes you don’t. For me, as long as I’m learning something and making new friends, I consider the trip worthwhile and successful. This trip was no different. Until next time, GNG.

Related Stories

  • PPA Kansas City Open on September 4, 2023
  • Singles Tournament Results on February 26, 2021
  • Pro Doubles Day on March 1, 2021
  • Women’s Doubles Day on February 27, 2021
  • Late Night Practice on February 28, 2021

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