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Wow…If you don’t think PB is exploding, we have four new ambassadors for you to meet this month.  We now have 144 ambassadors in the Mid-South, They include Miles Broughton (Granbury, TX), Julie Holmer (Plano, TX). Taylor Taylor (Memphis, TN),  and Cathy Head (Vicksburg, MS).


Miles has been playing about 3 years.  He has assisted as well as scheduled, coordinated, and promoted several clinics.  Those include a Vets clinic, spring break clinic for kids, and Fun Friday clinics…all which were open to those in his area.  Additionally, Miles writes a monthly PB article for a local magazine which goes to over 3,000 families.  He has assisted with a ladder league and was instrumental in obtaining a 3rd local location as a PB venue.  Lastly, Miles has held demos at several Holiday Street Dance celebrations to help spread interest and awareness of the sport we love.  You can see Miles is a busy man, not to mention several plans on expanding PB to neighboring towns, the local school district, and hosting the first ever PB tournament in his area.

Julie has been playing about 8 months, but has really embraced the role of being an ambassador.  She has helped to organize increased attendance of PB enthusiasts at the City’s Park & Rec Planning meetings.  And, she is working on demos for the Plano City Council as well as for the Plano Chamber of Commerce.  Julie wants to partner with the local Boys & Girls Club to provide mentors to teach PB in exchange for space to play.  She has created a Plano PB Club Facebook page, a Meetup group and website.  Currently, that website directs to a survey to gather more info about PB players.  This data will be helpful in persuading public and private entities to invest in more PB facilities.

Taylor (Taylor Taylor is NOT a misprint) has been playing for about 2 years.  She is in the process of establishing the Midsouth PB Club.  ( I attended the initial announcement party and open play with well over 100 other players) at the Racquet Club of Memphis.   Taylor conducts weekly Ladies Open clinics as well as oversees open play at the the Racquet Club.  She has also started PB at several local schools.  Taylor loves to reach out to people and connect them with PB.  She also loves to share her passion with others.


Cathy has been playing over 2 ½ years.  She and her husband have actually gotten PB started in the Vicksburg area.  Their group has grown from 6 to over 35 in just the past three months.  The main focus is to continue to build those numbers and expanding to several churches, private school gyms, the local country club, rec dept, and YMCA.  She and her ‘growth committee’ are making contacts with local leaders for new playing venues and getting the word out about PB.

Ernie Ortiz (Conroe, TX) reports that they hosted a 2-day clinic at the Walden Racquet Club with Sarah Ansboury earlier this month, with over 32 eager PBers.  Play has begun at the Conroe YMCA, and he will be giving lessons there soon.  And, of particular interest to those of you who play outside using a tennis net, Ernie has created with a patent pending Tennis to PB net converter that brings the tennis net down to PB height without affecting existing structures.  At this point, he has not decided on an official name for his creation, but it should help communities with tight budgets maximize their tennis courts and make them dual purpose.  Congratulations, Ernie.

Mitus Junatas (Houston, TX) provides the following:

Giving you an update on the request to provide a mini-training for teachers at the Alief school district (Alief ISD) here in Houston.  Please see pictures attached and a link (https://www.dropbox.com/s/x7ms6qqxh36yppx/IMG_0679.mov?dl=0) to a short video of the training that we conducted yesterday.

Yesterday June 29, we met with Kelley Sullivan (Alief ISD Wellness Coordinator) and eight of her high school PE teachers representing the different high schools in the Alief school district.  They had earlier requested for help from the USAPA for some minimal training for their high school PE teachers on how to incorporate Pickleball in their PE classes.  With approval and supplies from the Monty Ballard YMCA (net, paddles and balls) and the help of 3 wonderful pickleball friends (including my son, Ian), we set up camp at the Elsik High School – North Gym.  We conducted a two-hour mini-training covering a quick overview of the sport and a demo of an actual game as we went through the basic rules and entertained questions.  Teachers were also able to experience and learn a few common drills/exercises (taken from the USAPA website and some that we have used at the Monty Ballard YMCA for our pickleball program/lessons with adults and kids).

FYI: Another training session date is already scheduled with their elementary and middle school teachers later in August.  I would have wanted to help with that as well but I have a schedule conflict that same day (I will be at the State Games of America in Michigan).  Kelley was not sure who was conducting the next session but believed that they had someone (through their pickleball contact, Craig Pendrys, Director of Tennis at the Royal Oaks Country Club).  Either way, she said she felt confident to help with that next session, if needed, after the information and training that she got from yesterday.

Glad we were able to help them out and play a small part in getting pickleball in the PE curriculum for the youth in the Alief School District.  How cool is that?!!  So excited to see how it grows and goes from here.  Now if we can only have the same connections within the Katy School Board and follow suit in our Katy school district…😊 (photo below)

Alice Tym (Chattanogga, TN) sends news about another PB event…for those of you who like to travel….in Mexico.  See next pages.

¡Olé! Mexico is joining the pickleball craze.

The sport of pickleball is growing in leaps and bounds, and south of the border is no exception. In San Carlos, Mexico, Mirador Courts, a new 6 court complex with views of the marina and Sea of Cortez has just been built. With over 200 participating members in the San Carlos Pickleball Association, these courts are a very welcome addition to this active, friendly, and harmonious community.

Some of the players you may know from Colorado or Arizona own a home and live part-time in San Carlos, including Pat Murphy, USAPA Training Chair, who spent 7 years in San Carlos and the surrounding area on his boat. Nestled between the Sea of Cortez and the mountains and an easy 6.5-hour drive from Tucson, San Carlos is a popular place for people to visit. American and Canadian ex-pats come PB Discover San Carlos 1and enjoy numerous activities both on shore and in the water in this safe, picturesque and welcoming community.

You too can experience this beautiful area and our Mexican hospitality this upcoming February, as we introduce the Sombrero Showdown & Amigos Cup tournament. This unique event offers two international competitions combined into a single four-day event.

Sombrero Showdown and Amigos Cup February 2018

SSIPA - smallThe first event is the Sombrero Showdown, for Super Senior International Pickleball Association (SSIPA) members, aged 60 and above.

Concurrently, there will also be a tournament for players under 60 years of age. This three-day event will run from Friday, February 9 to Sunday, February 11, 2018.

The second event is the Amigos Cup. This is pickleball's first Mexican Challenge, as the San Carlos Pickleball Association takes on The World! This fun and friendly round robin tournament will feature "Team San Carlos" versus "Team The World." Teams will be formed by all players who register for the Sombrero Showdown. It is a one-day event which will run on Monday, February 12, 2018.

The tournament is listed on pickleballtournaments.com, where you will find all the details.

This is a destination tournament and half the fun will be exploring San Carlos and making new friends. When you’re not playing pickleball, you can boat, fish, kayak, ATV, horse ride, snorkle, dive, swim, kiteboard, flyboard, paddleboard, golf, jet ski, walk on the beaches, watch spectacular sunsets, dine at the many fabulous restaurants (from traditional taco stands to fine dining) and enjoy a cold cerveza or margarita at a beach-front bar.

PB Discover San Carlos 2

Mirador Courts, in addition to the 6 dedicated pickleball courts with fences in and around all courts, has a popular restaurant on site, restrooms with showers and changing areas, a pool, shaded seating and patios with beautiful views. RV sites are also available by the courts. Here is a sunset view from Mirador Courts.view from el mirador

There is going to be a tournament in New Orleans at the Hilton Riverside (The Big Easy Pickleball Tournament) on September 9th (M & W Doubles) and 10th (Mixed).  Players must be 18 and older.  16 indoor courts (on tennis courts).  Registration begins this weekend on Active.com.  The hotel is on Canal St, right next to the French Quarter.

Well, as those of you in MS and TN already know, changes in the Mid-South Region are in the future.  On January 1st, to be exact, we will be losing those two states.  A while back, the USAPA Board voted to add three new regions and at the same time, restructured some of the original regions to make each region somewhat similar in size.  Mid-South was not the only region that lost or added states.  I am certainly sorry we lost those two states, but understand the reasons.  We are all in the business of helping to grow the game/sport of pickleball.  And the above changes will help benefit that goal.  I do want to thank the ambassadors of MS and TN for all they have done, and are continuing to do.  We still have a few months yet to work together and I know you will continue to provide input as to your positive results with PB.

I am conducting a tournament this weekend…thus the reason you are receiving this a little earlier than usual.  Boy, I just can’t wait for August to get here….not.  The best thing to do is to just ‘think cool’.

I also hope to have an announcement soon of when and where the USAPA Mid-South Regional will be held next year.



2017 Pionner Award Winner Michael Morgan

Mike Morgan being presented award from Tom Burkhart


Michael Morgan

Mike has been an ambassador for approximately ten years principally serving the Memphis/Shelby County Metropolitan Area. During this time he has made significant contributions to the advancement of Pickleball not only in Memphis but also in Tennessee and elsewhere.

When he became an ambassador, there was only one place to play in the Memphis area. Today, there are currently twenty listed on the USAPA web site and two additional locations have requested not to be listed. This has been accomplished through demos and on site meetings with venue staff, all of which Mike has coordinated.

Mike led a small group of approximately 20 players to Nashville eight years ago and gave a pickleball demo for the State Sr. Olympics staff and participants in other sports. This demo resulted in pickleball being added to the Sports played in the TN Sr. Olympics. Almost every year since, the number of participants at the State level has increased about fifty percent each year and over 160 played in 2016 using three venues. He has been the sports chair/rule advisor for pickleball in the Memphis District and at the State level since the introduction of pickleball in the TN Sr. Olympics. He runs the District tournament preparing the brackets and coordinating the daily schedule.

He has also supported and assisted with the league play and tournaments held at the Bartlett Rec Center and Racquet Club.

Mike is the USAPA District Ambassador for TN and recently became a TN Sr. Olympics Board Member representing all athletes in all sports from the Memphis Sr. Olympics District which encompasses three counties.

Mike has worked with USAPA officials developing the relationship with St Jude Research Hospital. He along with five other players recently performed a demo on the St Jude campus introducing pickleball to the St Jude/ALSAC team. He has helped introduce pickleball in the Olive Branch Mississippi, Dyersberg and Covington Tennessee areas through clinics.

Mike contributions have been extraordinary. He brings to the table not only playing ability but strong administrative, organizational and communication skills. His interactions with others have definitely led to the development of pickleball in TN as well as other locales.