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Backyard Pickleball Invitational 2023

Posted on October 12, 2023 by under Community, Pickleball.    

I have so many ideas and not all of them actually come to fruition so I was really happy when we pulled off Backyard Pickleball Invitational 2023 last month. I think the first time I thought of this was on a rainy day a few months ago. I was at Chicken N Pickle playing with Jenny Corley, MariAnn Heeren, and Fong Witte when it dawned on me that all three of these ladies have their own private pickleball courts at home. Each of them typically have a “go to” group of players that they play with and they just play at their own courts. However, with a single court, you can’t really have too many players. Usually, you just grab three other friends for a scrimmage. So then I thought to myself, “How do we bring all these private groups together?”

Zach Nguyen is another friend I have who has a pickleball court in his backyard. He actually doesn’t live too far from me so, after playing at his house one of the times, I pitched the idea. What if we could have a pickleball tournament where we host the pool play at various private courts in the morning and then we all met up somewhere in the afternoon for bracket play? We brought Fong and Jenny into a group text and started talking about it. Then we were like, okay, what weekend would work well for this (because everyone is so busy with tournaments and travel and stuff). We originally thought about playing the bracket at a park like Seneca or Edgemoor but then another friend suggested we play the bracket at Jeff Bally’s because he has two private indoor courts at his property. He just recently completed this project so what a perfect opportunity to break it in.

Anyway, I’m busy with tournaments and stuff because there was the PPA Kansas City Open and Tulsa Pickleball Classic and Shangri-la Open and then maybe some other things in between there so like a couple of weeks before the date that we kind of tossed around they were like, “Hey, are we still doing this thing?” I’m glad they stayed on me because it is very easy for me to get distracted and just let things fall through the cracks if people don’t really seem interested. Anyway, I’m like, “Yeah, yeah. For sure we are still doing it. I’ll the registration form link.” I totally added an entire page of liability waiver in there and made people agree to it as a CYA move so none of our court hosts and organizers get sued.

During the planning stages, we were thinking we would have 12 mixed doubles teams but actually ended up with 16 because so many players wanted to play. Instead of just having pool play at Zach’s, Fong’s, and the Corleys, we also had pool play at Jeff’s (our afternoon bracket play venue).


This is the group that played at Zach’s house.

Zach's Court

We had another great group of players at Fong’s.



Fong's Court

This was our group at the Corleys’.


Corley's Court

I don’t think they took a group photo in the morning at Jeff’s but we did take a bunch of pics in the afternoon during bracket play.

Jeff's Court




Here’s a highlight video I made of the day.

I’m so happy that we pulled this off and everyone seemed to have a lot of fun. I hope we get to do it all again soon. Until next time, GNG.

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