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First Minor League Pickleball Team Tournament in Wichita

Posted on October 23, 2023 by under Events, Pickleball.    

I was fortunate to be part of bringing the first ever Minor League Pickleball team tournament to Wichita earlier this month. The iPickle Nation team has been hosting these in the Kansas City area but this was our first one in Wichita.

We had quite a few hurdles to overcome but, overall, I think we had a pretty successful first event. The first hurdle was finding a suitable venue. Riverside Tennis Center had various events going on and was limited on dates that they would be willing to allow us to have. Besides that, we had to dodge a bunch of other tournaments in the region that were happening at the same time and we were running out of warm weather days. In the end, we ended up going with Crestview Country Club because Riverside was going to be too expensive (there was no way we were going to be able to have the event at Riverside and not lose money) and the rate we were able to negotiate with Crestview was much more reasonable.

We ended up with 8 teams each in DUPR 16 and 18 and 4 teams each in DUPR 14 and 20, which was perfect for the number of courts we had. Crestview has six painted pickleball courts and we taped up six additional courts for a total of 12 on event day. We taped up courts and set up nets on Saturday night and were all set to go first thing on Sunday morning.

Visit Wichita, our local visitors’ bureau, was a huge help as well. They set up group rates at a couple of nearby hotels for our out of town players. It worked out great.

I did host three players from a DUPR 18 team that I helped put together (Genevieve Eskridge from Tulsa, Craig Morford from Kansas City, and Gloria Knoles from Nebraska teamed up with Chris Wilson and formed “Strangers with Candy” team) and helped find housing for some others but for those players who we couldn’t find free housing for, Spring Hill Suites and Tru next to Chicken N Pickle offered really good rates for our group. It was perfect too because those who stayed there could easily walk over to Chicken N Pickle.

I always get super cranky and stressed out but thankfully I have Brian who is always such a huge help. He helped us set up on Saturday and Sunday and, although he left for part of the event to take care of some chores and honey-dos, he came back to help tear down after. He is the best!

Anyway, I dream of having many of these types of events here in the future. I feel like Wichita is the perfect location to bring players from all over — Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri, and so forth — to compete with one another. I can’t wait to see what the future holds!

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