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My First DUPR Teams Event

Posted on December 19, 2022 by under Pickleball, Travel.    

iPickle Nation started piloting team events using the MLPLay format (the same rules that Major League Pickleball follows). One of the organizers, Michael Cobb, reached out to me last month about putting together a team but it was too short notice so we missed the first event. I did commit to putting together a team with enough notice. He told me about the December event and I recruited my favorite people to be part of our team. Ramon Lozano (Hays, KS), Tanner Rice (Oklahoma City, OK), and Katie Merrill (Tulsa, OK) were all equally eager to participate and together we formed DUPR Troopers.

I found us a fabulous Cozy in KC house within five minutes of both the Kansas City Chicken N Pickle (aka OG CNP) and Northland Racquet Club (the tournament venue). We were all set to go with our awesome team shirts (we actually have several matching ones now) until, two weeks before the tournament, Tanner gets injured at another team event. We scrambled to find a replacement and, as luck would have it, were able to land Kyle Rinck (Independence, KS).

This actually worked out for us because we were originally going to have four people in a three bedroom house so one of us would have had to sleep on the couch. Ramon and I talked at Smash and agreed that the youngest person should have the couch. Except the youngest person is Tanner and the couch is not a pullout. Out of all of us, I’m pretty sure I’m the only one who could have fit in it and I wasn’t going to give up a bedroom. LOL. Brian and I joked that we should make Ramon be the one without a bedroom to force him to bunk with Katie. I have been desperately trying to bring the two of them together because I think they’d make a cute couple. Anyway, in the end, the three of us agreed that the baby of the group gets to be without a room but because we love Tanner we would hook him up with an air mattress to at least make him more comfortable. I didn’t know that Katie already borrowed one from our friend Deana and so I actually ordered an air mattress and a sleeping bag from Amazon.

We ended up not needing any of these because Tanner had to pull out of the event due to his injury but I didn’t bother returning my stuff. Brian and I figured, at some point in the coming months, I’ll probably have to crash at a friend’s house and, instead of sleeping on the floor, I’ll at least have an air mattress and a sleeping bag to make my stay more comfortable.

We didn’t have to house our fourth team member, Kyle, because he lives just 30 minutes away (unlike the rest of us who had to drive 3-5 hours). Not only did we find a great substitute with Kyle, but he also solved our housing situation.

Anyway, since we were all arriving on Friday night, Ramon had the brilliant idea to have us play in the Friday night Super DUPR at NRC. It was perfect because (a) then we got to see the venue (and play there) before the event the next day, and (b) I’ve been wanting to check out DUPR events everywhere to learn how different groups are running their events so I kind of treated it as field research. Additionally, our friends Michelle Dreiling, Sharon Steimel, Tyson Steele, Nicole Mathis, and Megan White were able to play that night too which made it even more fun. It’s really nice to save several familiar faces, specially when playing somewhere for the first time.

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The Friday night event had an awesome turnout. They broke us out into three groups: 2.00 to 3.19, 3.20 to 3.89, and 3.90 and above. We all ended up in the last group but were split up in different pools (except Ramon and I ended up in the same one). The way iPN does their Friday night Super DUPR is similar to their iPN round robin events. After the round robin, you get paired with someone and then you play in a single elimination bracket. It was interesting how after the round robin was tallied, Tyson and I got teamed up; Katie and Nicole got teamed up; and Ramon and Sharon got teamed up.

There were things that I liked about it but there were also things that I didn’t like. For instance, I’m not a fan of the Wilson ball but I do understand that they need something more durable because they run these events all the time. The balls they use pretty much last forever and don’t have to be replaced as frequently as Duras or Franklins. Not even close. Also, I’m not a fan of splitting the top players between the different pools instead of putting them all together. I’m sure there’s a reason behind this because you get paired up for bracket play but I think the games with be far more competitive if they grouped players by DUPR. Personally, I really like how Ryan and Caroline Luelf run theirs in Tulsa. It is similar to how Tanner does his DUPRs but he recently made a change so that his DUPR are now by team instead of individual sign ups. I’ll have to make another field trip to OKC to check out this new method of doing things.

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Anyway, we met up with Tyson and Nicole at the OG CNP before heading to Northland for the DUPR thing but, after that playing for almost 4 hours, Katie and Ramon decided they were hungry again and we ended up getting some Hawaiian Bros to go. It’s one of Ramon’s most favorite places to eat in KC.

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Tyson and I weren’t that hungry so we both just got some Spam musubi.

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We played Poetry by Neanderthals (NSFW version) until amost midnight while Katie and Ramon had their dinner. I have to say, the guys absolutely sucked at this game while Katie was amazing at it. LOL.

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The next day, we played in the DUPR Teams event. There were 4 teams in DUPR 18 (our division) and 6 teams in DUPR 16. I totally think they could have held both on the same day because there was enough room at the venue but they opted to run DUPR 18 on Saturday and DUPR 16 on Sunday. Anyway, here are some pictures of our team in our awesome shirts.

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I originally ordered Medium shirts for myself which were a tad big so, when we got Kyle to replace Tanner, I decided to give Kyle the Medium shirts and order Small shirts for myself. Except my new shirts didn’t arrive in time so I had to use the white shirt so I could be in uniform. Ramon hates white anyway so he has a white shirt but I doubt he’ll ever wear it. LOL. The guys wore the gray shirts and the girls wore white so we still kinda sorta coordinated, even though we weren’t perfectly matching. I guess I’ll just have three of these shirts when my Small shirts finally arrive (hopefully, someday soon).

SIDE NOTE: Here’s a link to order a shirt for yourself if you’d like one of these awesome DUPR Trooper shirts from Zazzle.

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I would have liked to have gotten first place but there were some really good teams/players in our division. Overall I’m happy with how we performed.

You can watch most of our matches in the above video. I couldn’t film the championship though, because my phone ran out of battery.

The MLP format is so fun. Our team had to go to a Dreambreaker with All 4 One (Devon Fuller’s team) twice. He had Josh Hardy, Suzanne Gehrke, and Nikhila Suraneni on his team. However, we had Kyle who really helped us in the singles round. I’m not sure we could have won those Dreambreakers without him.

I’m really glad that I was able to participate in this team event. Not only was it a ton of fun, but I also got some ideas for the “One Last Dink” team tournament we are hosting at the Pickle Club at the end of the month. I can’t wait to tell you all about it in a couple of weeks. Until then, GNG.

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  • Replies to "My First DUPR Teams Event"

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    Dinner at El Canelo  on December 20, 2022

    […] the DUPR Teams event, which was an all-day affair, a bunch of us went to El Canelo for dinner. By a bunch, I mean Silly […]

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    New Year’s Eve  on January 9, 2023

    […] Club. This is my second team event with Ramon Lozano and Katie Merrill (the first one was the DUPR Teams event at Northland Racquet Club last month) and my first one with Jared Smart. Last month our fourth team member was Kyle […]

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