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Wednesday, August 3, 2016

The RV Picklers' view of The USA Masters Games

I like to write an insider's view of a tournament when I am able to participate. Unfortunately, I was unable to get to the USA Masters Games recently. But, the RV Picklers did get there...and wrote a review of the tournament.

This was the first year for the USA Masters Games, a bi-annual event which included 24 sports including pickleball. Held July 21-31, this event was open to adults ages 21 and above.

USA Masters Games

While single sport Masters competitions have existed for many years, this is the first time various Masters’ competitions are being rolled into a single event. Over 2000 athletes competed in  a variety of sports ranging from tennis to weightlifting during the 10-day event. Athletes from 39 states and 11 countries (Australia, Canada, Egypt, Great Britain, India, Japan, Palestine, Russia, Turkey, Uruguay, and Venezuela) came to Greensboro, North Carolina to compete.

USA Masters Games & Pickleball

132 players registered to compete in pickleball over three days. In fact, pickleball was the third most popular sport in the games. Eight large, indoor courts were available at the Greensboro Sportsplex. The Freso’s were enlisted as Tournament Directors since the USA Masters were not familiar with running a pickleball tournament. Aided by, a cordial and helpful Greensboro Rec. Department staff and a number of volunteers the tournament was a success.

USA Masters Games Festivities

The Games Village was located at the Greensboro Coliseum Complex which also hosted 12 of the 24 events. Everything you needed could be found there including a Beer Garden and Cafe, community information, a health and fitness expo, merchandise and more.

The opening ceremonies on Friday night included ice skaters, several bands, an aerialist and local celebrities. Denise and I attended but were saddened to find that only about 250 people choose to attend this well-orchestrated event. Nightly entertainment was available four other nights and featured the headliners Hot Sauce. So if you are near Greensboro, check out the Closing Ceremonies. The event is free to the public, $5 for parking, at this first rate facility.

Like any first time endeavor of this magnitude, we heard some concerns expressed about organizational challenges and the need to improve community awareness. However, we hope the USA Masters Games will thrive and become a Carolina pickleball destination for years to come.

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