USAPA Ambassador Tom Widden Introduces Pickleball on the Moody Blues Cruise

A bunch of pickleball players traveled together with USAPA Ambassador Tom Widden, Lake Oswego, Oregon, aboard Norwegian Cruise Line’s “Pearl to the Caribbean”, which featured the Moody Blues Rock ‘n’ Roll Adventure to Key West and Beyond.

Daily play over excellent Deluxe PickleNet Portable Rolling Nets had no problems with the wind. The rolling nets stored easily when not in use. We played exclusively with the fabulous new Onix Pure Ball while cruising at a speed of 20 knots.

The game was not really affected by the wind.

moody blues cruise 1

Tom brought along variety of pickleball paddles from PickleballCentral to share with fellow “Moodies”, including John Lodge, founder of Moody Blues, seen here with yours truly, District Ambassador Tom Widden plus the concert promoter.  All new players caught on to the game of pickleball in just a few minutes..

Moody blues cruise 2

Everyone raved about the Onix Pure balls being more durable and easy to play with.  Not one broke during the cruise.

Moody blues cruise 3

After a morning of pickleball we settled into great concerts til late at night. We are taking in electric light orchestra here..

Moody blues cruise 4

Moody Blues perform on the cruise ship concert stage in the evenings.

Moody blues cruise 6

This historic voyage demonstrated that cruise ship sport courts are ideal for the pickleball player demographic and should be promoted as a natural combination to attract seniors who love cruises and love playing pickleball! More cruises featuring pickleball are being planned soon.

Moody blues cruise 5

USAPA District Ambassador Tom Widden on the Moody Blues Cruise

Best Reasons to Hold a Tournament: Featuring Northwoods Pickleball Tournament -Three Lakes, Wisconsin

Best Reasons to Hold a Tournament: Featuring Northwoods Pickleball Tournament -Three Lakes, Wisconsin

I was curious!  What are the main reasons for offering to hold a pickleball tournament?   So I started asking folks who have held tournaments recently.  Chuck Radtke and Steve Dennis have graciously taken the time to share some of the story behind the Northwoods Pickleball Tournament in Three Lakes, Wisconsin.  Enjoy!


If you are ever in the neighborhood of Three Lakes, Wisconsin, you absolutely have to stop in and play pickleball! Three Lakes is the only community in Wisconsin that offers a chance to play pickleball 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. Their lighted courts and the screens around the courts allow anyone in town the opportunity to play pickleball, any time of the day or night.

Wisconsin Map#1 Best Reason to Hold a Tournament: A Great Location

Three Lakes has 8 outdoor courts that are screened and lit for 24-hour play, and have an additional 8 courts available for indoor play when the weather gets bad. They have a good working relationship with the local schools and the rec center. In the summer they will have people playing pickleball from age 7 to the low 80’s.
The town of Three Lakes entered a contest 5-6 years ago and won the distinction of being the Single Best Town in America. Three Lakes is a part of the largest chain of lakes in North America. There are 27 lakes altogether, including the Eagle River system. The population of the township where Three Lakes is located is about 2000. Throughout the year, sports enthusiasts often double the population, except for the “Mud Season,” with fishing, hunting, snowmobiling and summer lake activities rounding out some of the offerings.

#2 Reason to Hold a Tournament: Great Organizers

Chuck and friends

Chuck Radtke checking out the schedule with tournament participants

There are two cool people in Three Lakes who are the energy behind the Northwoods Pickleball Tournament in Three Lakes: Chuck Radtke, who has been playing about 3 years and Steve Dennis, USAPA Ambassador. Steve played tennis before Chuck introduced him to pickleball. After the first couple of times playing, he bought a couple of paddles and since then has been hooked for life. He became an ambassador after about a year to keep connected with the greater pickleball community.
In the summer of 2013, Chuck and Steve introduced Pickleball to the schools. They scheduled 1 day a week, and the school arranged their Physical Education schedule to allow community pickleball during the day.  These guys are very creative.  They are always coming up with ideas to promote the game of pickleball in Three Lakes.
A year ago, during a high school basketball game during half time, they did a pickleball demonstration with a portable net and the vinyl EZ Court Lines. Chuck did the announcing while others community members demonstrated the game. It was fun. A lot of folks had never heard of pickleball and the demonstration actually got a few new folks out to try it.

Another fun thing they did to bring attention to the game: at the 4th of July parade, which draws folks from towns all around the area, they marched in the parade and did pickleball drills. One time they even had someone (Chuck) dress up as a pickle.  So they marched in formation, bouncing pickleballs,  and they did a marching drill chants, like:

Pickleball is here for you –
Come to Burnside ‘n’ play today.

#3 Reason to Hold a Tournament: Community Support

Three Lakes Photo

A Group from the Villages, Florida who came to the Northwoods Tournament

The town of Three Lakes is very supportive of pickleball, especially the Three Lakes school district and the Parks and Recreation department. Play is coordinated every day at all locations. Not as many folks play in the morning as in the afternoon and evening. They have 150 on their email list.

People in Three Lakes like to support their Green Bay Packers, so, when there is a game, they adjust their pickleball schedule. If the Packers game is in the morning, they shift pickleball into the afternoon. If the Packers play in the afternoon, then they play pickleball in the morning. Three Lakes folks are more sociable than other places that Steve has played. If folks are gone for a while, the local players always make a big deal of welcoming them back to the game. He’s had experience in places like Florida, where folks tend to be more competitive. Chuck and Steve are also Russell Wilson fans  (Seahawks quarterback) because Russell went to college in Wisconsin.

Pickleball community members provide wood paddles made by a local carpenter and provide demo paddles for people to try. They charge a little more than what is needed to cover expenses in the tournament registration fee, and the extra funds go directly to support pickleball in the community. It helps with the purchase of nets, balls, and other equipment so that pickleball can remain free to the community.

#4 Reason to Hold a Tournament: Participants Looking for a Friendly, Sociable Competition


In the summer of 2014 they held their first non-sanctioned tournament. Because it is not sanctioned by the USAPA, they are able to keep it open for everyone to participate. There were a few folks who turned out for the competition, but most were there because of the social aspect of the game. So far they haven’t had to use the indoor courts much for their outdoor tournament. In July 2015, Coach Mo and his assistant came and conducted 3 days of clinics in Three Lakes after their tournament. The 3rd day of the clinics, they had to use the indoor courts because of inclement weather. This year will be their 3rd tournament.

Coach Mo at Northwoods

Coach Mo conducting Clinics

Responses for their tournament draw from 8 different states, involving 120 players. Their 3rd Tournament is this July. Their press release for the tournament is going out this Friday. They expect at least 120 pickleball players this year as well. The tournament is open to all and both men and women of all ages and skill levels have the opportunity to compete. It is not an elimination tournament, rather round robin, so everyone has a chance to play up to 7 times. In the last tournament, 2 men entered with their grandsons. Steve competed in his first tournament and lost all 9 times, but he still had a lot of fun, because all the folks he played with were so friendly and sociable.

#5 Reason to Hold a Tournament:
A Community With a Heart for Pickleball

The Northwoods Pickleball Tournament is offered under the umbrella of the Three Lakes Parks and Recreation Department so they don’t have to set up their own 5013c. All the money from the tournament, after expenses, goes to support pickleball and make it free to all who want to play.  Chuck and Steve also actively solicit sponsors for the Northwoods Tournament each year, and anyone who pays the $25 fee gets their company listed on the back of their tournament t-shirts.

Great Tournament Shot

Great Tournament Shot

The Three Lakes community certainly does have a huge heart for pickleball! Make sure you stop in if you are in the neighborhood!

For more info, go to the Three Lakes Group site (pickleball info at the bottom).

Local Pickleball Guides – Anchorage, Alaska and Beyond…

Local Pickleball Guides – Anchorage, Alaska and Beyond…

Pickleball Folks Alaska

Alaska Pickleball Club

The Alaska Pickleball Club is devoted to sharing the fastest growing sport in the nation to the great State of Alaska, according to their Facebook page.

USAPA Ambassadors – Alaska

Alaskan Pickleball Ambassadors have a BIG area to cover when promoting the game of pickleball.
If you need help getting a pickleball group started in your neighborhood, just get in touch with one of the following folks:

Anchorage — Donald Sutherland 907-240-6215 Anchorage AK
Fairbanks — Dalonna Cooper 907-388-6852 Fairbanks AK
Metlakatla — Dan Leask 907-886-3786 Metlakatla AK
Metlakatla — HB Tyler 907-617-4249 Metlakatla AK

Pickleball Court Construction Contractors: Alaska

If you need help getting a pickleball group started in your neighborhood, just get in touch with one of the following folks:Dynamic Sports Construction for information in building indoor sport courts in Alaska.

Alaska Pickleball Clubs

Alaska Pickleball Club
If you are looking for people who play pickleball in Alaska, you will find them by googling “pickleball Alaska” or searching the website, Places to Play, Alaska.  We found 3 pickleball clubs in Alaska:

University of Alaska-Fairbanks
Dome Pickleball Club
Fairbanks Pickleball Club

Pickleball Tournaments in Alaska

Check out the Alaska International Senior Games for friendly pickleball competition in Alaska.

Alaska Pickleball Related News and Youtube Videos

Read here about pickleball in the City of Homer

Read here about Borough opening a pair of pickleball courts at Big Dipper

Watch here for a video featuring pickleball in Ketchikan:

Live in Ketchikan: PickleBall!  What the Heck is it?

Local Pickleball Guide – Ft. Wayne, Indiana

Local Pickleball Guide – Ft. Wayne, Indiana

SportOne Pickleball Court

SportOne Parkview Fieldhouse, Ft. Wayne, Indiana

Ft. Wayne, Indiana….what does the name of the city bring to mind?  Well, unless you are a true Hoosier, you’ll probably be scratching your head, saying Ft. Who?   It is a great town, where three rivers meet and the people who live there have a sense of pride about their city.  

Pickleball has taken hold in Ft. Wayne, mostly because the majority of the folks living in there are age 45 and up.  It is a beautiful place, the home of Johnny Appleseed, and the home of the USAPA Regional Tournament which will be held August 14-16, 2015. 

Pickleball Courts Around Ft. Wayne

On the USAPA website, the listing of places to play pickleball in Ft. Wayne include the following:

Lions Park, 3257 Carew Street
SportOne Parkview Fieldhouse, 3946 Ice Way
Franke Park Pavillion #1, 3411 Sherman Boulevard
YWCA Dupont/Parkview, 10001 Dawson Creek
YWCA Downtown, 347 Berry Street

USAPA Ambassadors – Ft. Wayne

USAPA Pickleball Ambassadors are volunteers who have pledged to promote the sport of pickleball and the USAPA in the local area they have applied to represent. They may be individuals or couples, or a group of ambassadors working together as a team. The main prerequisite is a love of the sport and the desire to share our game with others of all ages. Some full-time RV’ers are Ambassadors ‘at large’ who promote our sport during their travels. In Fort Wayne, the local pickleball ambassador is Kenneth Flora, PHONE NUMBER: 260-416-0574.

Pickleball Court Construction Contractors: Ft. Wayne

Anyone looking for information about how to build a local sport court should contact Lawrence Building Corporation.

Ft. Wayne, Indiana Pickleball Clubs

You can find information about pickleball in Ft. Wayne through the  Ft. Wayne Pickleball Association 

Pickleball Tournaments Near Ft. Wayne

If you are out to compete, there are a couple of local options in Ft. Wayne:

Active Aging Week Pickleball Tournament
USAPA Great Lakes Regional Pickleball Tournament

Pickleball Articles from Ft. Wayne 

The City of Ft. Wayne Parks and Recreation Department has a page that describes places to play and recent pickleball news.


5.0 Ranked Players Around Ft. Wayne

Josh Grubbs
Zachary Grubbs

Ft. Wayne Pickleball Related Youtube Videos

2014 Regional Great Lakes Pickleball Tournament



Local Pickleball Guide – “Pickleburg”, Virginia

Local Pickleball Guide – Pickleburg, Virginia

Pickleburg parade

OK, so, now that I have your attention, there is an official “Pickleburg” in Virginia – online! Go ahead, google it!  It’s the online home of pickleball in Williamsburg, Virginia!

Pickleburg players

Pickleball Courts Around Pickleburg

If you are in the Pickleburg “neighborhood”, these are some of the places you can go to play pickleball:

James City County Recreation Center – Mon-Fri 7am-11am
Mid County Park, James City County – Tu/Thur/Sat 8am-11am
Colonial Heritage – Mon-Fri 8am to Noon, Weds, 7:30 PM and Sun 8am **Private Community, No Public Usage
For a listing of public places to play, check this link

 If you are in the Newport News neighborhood, you can play at the following locations:
  • Brittingham Midtown Community Center, 9-12, Tuesdays and Fridays, 570 McLawhorne Drive
  • Denbigh Community Center, Thursdays 1-5, Fridays 1-4, 15198 Warwick Boulevard
 If you are at Virginia Beach,  outdoor courts available for friendly competition:
  • Bayville Farms Park 4132 First Court Road
  • Lynnhaven Park 1246 Bayne Drive
  • Woodstock Park 5709 Providence Road
 Indoor courts available at the following Recreation Centers in Virginia Beach (Check in advance):
  • Princess Anne Recreation Center
  • Bayside Recreation Center
  • Great Neck Recreation Center
  • Kempsville Recreation Center
  • Williams Farm Recreation Center
  • Bow Creek Recreation Center

USAPA Ambassadors – Pickleburg

According to the United States of America Pickleball Association (USAPA), Ambassadors are volunteers who have pledged to promote the sport of pickleball and the USAPA in the local area they have applied to represent.  The USAPA Ambassadors in the Williamsburg-Pickleburg area are:
Jeff Anthony,  Williamsburg-James City – 757-593-7354pickleburg_hat
Mike Roberts, aka “Pickleball Mike”, Henrico-GLoucester Counties – 804-641-6816


Pickleball Court Construction Contractors: Pickleburg

If you are looking for information about installing or re-surfacing a sport court for pickleball, you will find Sport Court of Virginia – 103 Holly Rd., Williamsburg, VA 23185, 888-345-1309, to be a good resource.

Pickleball Tournaments Near Pickleburg 

Pickleball Court

There are a few Tournaments in Virginia.  Check them out:

Williamsburg Fall Classic Pickleball Tournament
USAPA Atlantic Regional Pickleball Tournament
Henrico Spring Pickleball Tournament
Hanover Spring Senior Tournament
Battle of the Paddle
Pickleball Tournament at the Center of the Universe

Latest Headlines from Pickleburg (AKA Williamsburg), VA

Williamsburg Parks and Rec Starting Pickleball Program this Winter

Pickleball Articles and Youtube Videos from Pickleburg 


7/29/15 – The Williamsburg-James City County School Board unanimously approved a contract to replace (not resurface) the 6 tennis courts at Jamestown High School. This project will also include the addition of pickleball lines (black) for all 6 courts as well.  Work on the complete replacement of the tennis courts will begin soon and is projected to be completed by early October. Details on use policy/hours will be posted here as soon as available.







Virginia Pickleball Tournament Rene vs Simon

Local Pickleball Guide – Lower East “Mitten”, Michigan

Local Pickleball Guide – Detroit “Lower East Mitten”, Michigan

We love to hear about Pickleball Clubs that dig in and have fun, no matter what the weather!  Here’s the latest “Scoop” on the Detroit Suburbs, otherwise known as SE “Mitten”, Michigan. 

Due Donlin playing pickleball with a Z5

Sue Donlin at Whittier Park, Royal Oak, Michigan

USAPA Ambassadors – Michigan 

The Michigan list of USAPA Pickleball Ambassadors includes:
SE Michigan — Gary Bejin 248-770-7589 Waterford MI
SE Michigan — Chuck Dominick 248-224-5188 Rochester Hills MI
SE Michigan — Peggy Murphy Kurza 586-779-7660 Grosse Pointe Woods MI
SE Michigan — Pam Mackowski 248-828-7395 Troy MI
SE Michigan — Ray Snay 586-322-6142 Shelby Township MI
All of these folks are willing to help in the promotion of the sport of pickleball in their community.  They know everything about the game and can lend a hand if you want to get a new group of “picklers” off the ground.

Pickleball Court Constructors in Michigan

You can find information about building new pickleball courts by contacting the company listed below:
Sport Court, Michigan

Michigan Pickleball Clubs

Pickleball Clubs and YMCAs are the best place to go to find pickleball aficionados!  Check out the following in your area:

Royal Oak Pickleball Club
Royal Oaks Pickleball
Carl’s Family YMCA

Pickleball Tournaments in Michigan

Check out the list of tournaments in Michigan.  Take your pick:

Royal Oak Michigan Tournament
State Games of Michigan, Grand Rapids, MI
Annual Pickleball Fun Tournament
Meijer State Games of Michigan
Toledo Pickleball Glass City Tournament
Michigan Senior Olympics, Summer Games

5.0 Ranked Players in Michigan

Where there are 5.0 Pickleball players there are opportunities to learn new skills!

Bremnath (Prem) Carnot, Empire, MI
Bart C Ford, Cedar, MI
James K Hackenberg, Kalamazoo, MI
Paul D Sprainitis, Canton, MI
Carolyn A Ebbinghaus, Traverse City, MI
Wendy W Garrido, Empire, MI
Yvonne M Hackenberg, Kalamazoo, MI

Pickleball Lessons in Michigan

Pickleball Guru Clinic

Rochester, MI – Free 50+ Beginner Pickleball Lessons-Wednesdays 09:30am–10:30am  Rochester Older Persons’ Commission, 650 Letica Drive, Rochester, MI 48307

There is no need for a partner and OPC provides all equipment. FREE for anyone 50 or older. You do not need to be a member of OPC for these lessons. Upon the completion of the beginner lessons you are invited to stay for Beginner/Mentor Games from 10:30am-11:30am. For more information, contact OPC at (248) 608-0295.

Royal Oak, MI – Free Lessons Tuesday evenings 06:30pm beginning Jun2–Jun 30
Whittier Park Pickleball Complex, E. Farnum Ave (North of 11 Mile and east of Main), Royal Oak MI

Don’t overlook any opportunity to learn from the “Pickleball Guru” Prem Carnot!

Pickleball Courts Around Michigan

So if you are looking for places to play in lower east “mitten” Michigan, check out the links below, and have fun:

Birmingham, Michigan
Farmington Hills
Royal Oak

Michigan Pickleball Related News and Youtube Videos

Live Long, Live Well in Michigan has created a great video on how to play pickleball.  Check it out!

Take a look at this article posted by


Great Lakes Pickleball

See the “mitten”?

Local Pickleball Guide – Bend, Oregon

Local Pickleball Guide – Bend, Oregon

Bend, Oregon has a motto: “It’s Where you Go to Play,” and pickleball popularity is growing by leaps and bounds in this recreational mecca!  Enjoy!

Bend Oregon Pickleball Courts


The introduction to pickleball on the Bend Oregon Recreation website states:  “OK, we’ll admit it sounds like a sport someone made up after too many stops on the Bend Ale Trail. But pickleball is one of the fastest growing sports in America.”  Bend boasts “a startling abundance of world-class breweries clustered close together like the gold at the end of a big beer rainbow.”  Bend has more breweries per-capita than any other city in Oregon, and the social aspect of pickleball fits in nicely with the “Bend Ale Trail”.

Pickleball Courts Around Oregon

There are 11 places to play pickleball in Bend and 7 places to play in nearby communities. You can find a complete listing on the Bend Pickleball website.  There are 8 new pickleball courts in Pine Nursery Park, with construction on eight more under way!

USAPA Ambassadors – Oregon

Every community has a group of volunteers who promote the sport of pickleball and carry the title “Pickleball Ambassador”.  They know everything about the game and they can assist your community with promoting the game of pickleball.

A.J. Fraties and Les Scott demonstrate dinking

A.J. Fraties and Les Scott demonstrate the finer points of dinking as Irene Fraties instructs a player development clinic at Pine Nursery Park.

In the vicinity of the Bend, Oregon, the following Ambassadors are available to help you grow pickleball in your community:

— Sandy Brown  541-420-8852— Terry Brown  541-420-0195— A. J. Fraties  916-257-2097
— Irene Fraties  916-759-9256— Christie Gestvang  541-420-1802— Bruce Grout  206-499-3447
— Phil McCage  541-390-6283— Lee Moore  541-905-4408— Verna Moore  541-905-4408
— Rochelle Neal  661-510-0414— Rip Osterhuber  541-318-6253— Lisa Palcic  541-306-7850
— Tom Sifferman  541-390-1119

Pickleball Court Constructors in Oregon

You can find more information about court builds and resurfacing by checking out the Sport Court Oregon website.

Bend, Oregon Pickleball Clubs

The Bend Pickleball Club is a not-for-profit sports club based in Bend, Oregon. They promote pickleball in the Central Oregon area by offering education, playing opportunities, and facility development. They’ve partnered with Bend Parks & Recreation to create community pickleball courts in Bend, Oregon.

Pine Nursery Park Grand Opening

Pine Nursery Park Grand Opening: Photo courtesy of Verna Moore.

Pickleball Tournaments in Bend

Two big tournaments are held each year in Bend, Oregon.  The Big Country RV Tournament will be held August 14-16, 2015, and invites all USAPA Members to participate. The Oregon Senior Games Pickleball Tournament will be held June 19-21, 2015 and games will be played on the Pine Nursery Park courts.

Seniors playing pickleball

Very Fun Senior Games in Bend, Oregon

Bend, Oregon Pickleball Related News and Youtube Videos

If you would like to read local articles about pickleball enthusiasm in Bend, Oregon, just click on one of the links below:
Pickleball players hit Pine Nursery courts
“Donor puts pickleball expansion on the fast track”

5.0 Ranked Players Around Bend

Below is a list of 5.0 Ranked Players in the Bend, Oregon Area:
Randy Bitner
Kurtis Campbell
James Cessna
Wes Gabrielsen
Troy W. Horton
Steve A Paranto
Vukman Soskic
Tony Tollenaar
Patrick C Williams
June Crabb
Joy E Leising
Sheila Schoonover

Anyone “game” for a road trip to Bend, Oregon?