Five hundred ninety-two pickleball players competed in the East Naples Winter Classic held January 26th-28th at East Naples Community Park. Players of all ages and skill levels ranging from 3.0-5.0 participated. The organized event, well-staffed with volunteers, ran smoothly and on time as all 44 pickleball courts were busy with action. Although the blustery days proved to be a bit of a challenge, the players persevered…and those who persevered the most came away with a medal.“We have exceeded last year’s numbers by more than 250 players. It really says something about the expansion of this sport,” explains Southern Tropics Tournament Director Jim Ludwig. “We couldn’t hold an event like this without our players and volunteers. We have between 100-125 volunteers who help put the event together. They are here from 5 AM-9 PM helping with setup, running the tournament, and teardown. They have such a love for the sport. It’s a great tribute to pickleball.” Tournament action resumes with the Southern Tropics Pickleball Tournament held March 9, 10, & 11. The finale is the US Open Pickleball Championships April 21-29, 2018.
For more information about upcoming tournaments or tournament results visit www.pickleballtournaments.com. For more information about official pickleball rules, rating system, and how to play, visit www.usapa.org.