Pickledilly News

The fifth annual Palmetto Indoor Pickleball Doubles Invitational was held from August 17 through August 20.  Tournament co-directors Mo Garcia and Keith Shaver did an outstanding job putting together a fantastic event.  Over 200 participants enjoyed a day of clinics, lessons and pro-am events, a Friday evening social, and last but not least three days of pickleball made up of 24 separate events in men’s, women’s and mixed doubles.  Participants also received lunch each day they played and a swag bag stuffed full of goodies that was an actual paddle cover. Where else do you see that?

The tournament owes a debt of gratitude to the many generous sponsors, most especially the Platinum level sponsor Scott Singer, financial adviser w/ Janney Montgomery LLC.  Thanks also go out to our Gold level sponsors,  the USAPA (c/o Mike & Loretta Beckner, Ambassadors), Mo Power Sport (supplier of paddles, nets, balls, t-shirts, medals and paddle covers).  Silver level sponsors included Security Federal Bank, South Aiken Physical Therapy, and G4 Power Products.  Bronze level sponsors included CMI-Carolina Muscular Institute, Baker Family Dentistry and Suzy Haslup Realty.  Pickleball Central, Paddletek, LongHorn Steakhouse, Golden Corral and Chick-fil-a also contributed.  Without their assistance and support, the event would not have been the tremendous success it was.  If you get the chance, please show your appreciation by patronizing those who supported us.

Mike Beckner and Jim Kabel marshalled a force of over 90 volunteers who donated time and talent to supporting this year's pickleball tournament.  Special thanks go to Nelson Spitnale (in charge of the tournament desk volunteers), Bill Reynolds (court monitors), Loretta Beckner (referees), Connie Dennis (swag bags), Pat Smith (t-shirts) and Sharon McMichael (registration desk). The lunch room was managed by Donna Vetsch, Kathy Reiter, Kathy Clemmens, John and Sherry Myers, Nancy Hughes, Rita Supan, and Jane Deese.  Maria James, Denis Bonnet, and Michele Bullington did the facility management. Thanks to all these efforts, this year's tournament was an unqualified success!

The weekend kicked off with world class professional pickleball players and national champions Simone Jardim and Laura Fenton Kovanda running clinics and lessons for 45 players.  After the lessons, we were treated to a pro-am event.  Eighteen Aiken Pickledillys got to play a game with the pros.  The last two games saw our best teams, Tony Quick/Vicki McNair and Josh Booth/Jordan Goetzman, line up on the same side and take on the pros head to head.

The social for this year’s pickleball tournament was held in The Alley on Friday night. The city arranged for a barbecue dinner catered by Buckwheat’s Barbecue, and a total of 113 hungry picklers converged on the venue looking to have a good time and enjoy a delicious meal.  There was also live music provided by Third Time Charmers (3TC) featuring Brooke Lundy and Ken Gabriel.

Mo Garcia took his role as master of ceremonies very seriously by dressing in a specially designed jacket reminiscent of a circus ring leader.  All that was lacking was the top hat!  Mo introduced Loretta Beckner, USAPA District Ambassador for the Midlands of South Carolina, as the first speaker of the evening.  Loretta acknowledged the outstanding job done by Mo and Keith Shaver in organizing and conducting the tournament this year.  She also thanked the staff of the Aiken Recreation, Parks and Tourism Departments and all the volunteers.  

Ms. Jessica Campbell, Director of Recreation, Parks and Tourism, and representing the city of Aiken, graciously welcomed the visitors to the city and echoed many of the previous laudatory comments made about the organization of the tournament.  She also commented on the history of the evolution of pickleball in Aiken and, looking to the future, noted the recent installation of pickleball courts at two new locations in Aiken (Eustis Park and Kalmia Hills Park).    

Laura Fenton Kovanda was the featured speaker.  Her comments about how she became involved in pickleball were informative and entertaining.  Laura was a five-time US Olympics gold medalist in racquetball when she heard of pickleball.  The first time she ever played the sport was at the Senior Games in Illinois.  The night before their first match, she and her partner had to watch how the sport was played on YouTube.  They won a silver medal in the Mixed Doubles event and Laura won a gold medal in the Women’s event!  Laura spoke about her vision to form World Team Pickleball (WTP) and her efforts to organize team leagues throughout the country.  Interested players can email info@worldteampickleball.com for more information.

The tournament sponsors were recognized and presented with gifts of appreciation prior to awarding the highly popular door prizes.  Laura, who is a Paddletek rep, provided three paddles, covers and pickleballs to three lucky winners.  Names were also drawn for twelve white “low noise” South Boundary paddles/covers donated by the City of Aiken, and several players won gift certificates donated by local businesses. 

In the midst of all the festivities, we managed to fit in three full days of pickleball.  One hundred and fifty medals were presented during the weekend.  Thirty-two of those medals, including twelve gold medals, stayed right here in Aiken.  For a complete list of Aiken medalists, click here

The fifth installment of the Aiken tournament was a complete success, one we can all be proud of.  In the days following the event, the hallways at Odell Weeks seem oddly empty. After so much preparation, so much activity, so much pickleball.  But then you get closer to the gym and hear the sounds of pickleballs hitting paddles, and you remember it’s zero-zero-two.  Time to start another game!   



It is with great sadness that we inform you that Byron passed away peacefully on Friday, June 23, at 9:30 PM.  He was with his family and is at peace now.  

Byron enjoyed playing pickleball almost every morning until he became ill.  He will be sorely missed.  His daughter would like to come to the social on Friday, June 30 to meet his pickleball friends.  In her words,"Pickleball and the people there changed his life.  After his wife's passing he was very depressed until he found pickleball."  

There will be no service for Byron in Aiken.



​The Atlantic South Region is promoting referee training this year. 
The first step is to develop a state-wide directory of both interested and known referees.  Bob Nibarger has agreed to post this new referee directory on his web page until such time the USAPA develops their own page.  This link is:
Please contact Bob​ Nibarger at ncpickleball@gmail.com if you are interested in either referee training or being in the new referee directory.


​Karen Parrish, Atlantic South Regional Ambassador


Nancy Racki shared the following link to a good video on the proper way to pack a net into the bag provided.  

Let's all give it a try.  It will probably save some wear and tear on our equipment!  

Click here to see the video.

Thanks, Nancy!


From Warren, Paul, and Tony:

Hi, Everyone,

We are running a trial month (June) with Weeks in regard to putting up and taking down the nets.  If all goes well, it should make it easier for all involved. 

Nets may be put up when play commences on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.  They do not need to be taken down until play on a particular court is finished for the day on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays.  (The exception for the month of June is Wednesday, the 14th, when nets will have to be taken down at the end of play since there is no PB on Thursday, the 15th.)

Players who attend drop-in play in the mornings should be sure that the court they last play on is reserved for CRP that day before leaving it up.  (This information is available at http://www.signupgenius.com/go/20f0a4aada929a7fa7-court.) Those who have signed up for CRP on Tuesdays and Thursdays should take their nets down unless they are certain that someone will be using them for evening drop-in play.

Please consult the calendar online or Brie at the front desk if you are still unclear on this.  If we are prudent in following this protocol, we will be able to carry this forward.  Thanks for your cooperation and happy PB.

The Leadership Team



Ron Nelson enjoyed some lively pickleball today with his son (Ron) and his grandson (Ron).  Since there is not yet an R4 on the court, Dick Keeler filled in as the fourth.



On Saturday evening, May 20, USAPA Ambassador Mike Beckner, ably assisted by Marie Tewkesbury, Jim Kabel, Walter Suescum and Tom Wolfe, conducted a pickleball demonstration at the Cedar Creek tennis center. 

Organized and coordinated by Cedar Creek residents Sandy and Ross Staiger, one of the tennis courts was taped off to accommodate a pickleball court.​ Approximately 40 residents ​from​the Cedar Creek community attended the event.

After a short overview of the history and basic rules of the sport, the demonstrators played a game to show the technique of the serving motion, different shots and strokes involved in the game and some basic strategy.  Once that was completed, interested residents took to the court to try out the sport.

Very positive feedback was received for the demonstration and there is no doubt that pickleball has great potential at Cedar Creek! 

Submitted by Mike Beckner
USAPA Ambassador, Aiken


The Aiken Standard published a great article on Josh and Jordan's pickleball goals and experiences.  To read the article, click here.


Employees from 9 Aiken businesses entered the Corporate City Cup competitions this year, which were held at Odell Weeks on May 17th.
A total of 13 teams competed in the pickleball doubles matches.  The finalists were employees from Security Federal Bank.  Josh Booth and Roy Lindburg defeated their colleagues, Jordan Goetzman and Helen Sons.  The evening's competition was lively and competitive and included employees who were playing pickleball for the first time!
A big thanks to the Aiken Pickledilly player volunteers who refereed the games:  Diane Voss, David Hoel, Theresa Feiner, Ron Nelson and Mo Garcia.


Check out this highlight reel from the Gold Medal Match at the Dink for Pink Tournament in Leland, NC, earlier this year. 

Our very own Josh Booth and Jordan Goetzman played in the match.  Enjoy watching this highly competitive match with every pickleball shot possible on display!

Click here for the video.