If you’ve been out to Kissing Tree, you’ve no doubt heard about our passion for pickleball. And it’s not just our residents who are excited. According to The Economist, pickleball is the fastest growing sport in America, with participation growing even while Americans’ overall activity level stays flat.
Last month, Kissing Tree held our third (and largest) pickleball tournament ever, the Kissing Tree Invitational, and the event was a huge success. The tournament had originally been planned for 2020, until COVID put things on hold. But the delay gave the organizers in the KTPA (Kiss Tree Pickleball Association) more time to make the event a truly remarkable experience.
Welcome to Kissing Tree, Y’all!
The 50+ tournament welcomed 219 players for three days of regulation competition play as well as a rousing opening night welcome party. There were singles and doubles brackets for a full roster of age and skill levels, and more than 200 medals were awarded across all categories. “My mentality is we’re here to serve players, and we want to make event as nice as we can,” said Deb Pryor, KTPA Vice President. “We wanted people to leave saying WOW. We had referees for every match, not just the finals. Every player got a t-shirt. And athletes need to be replenished, so we set up hospitality tents with complementary drinks, fresh fruit, nuts, and energy bars for all the players. And we were able to provide Jason’s Deli lunches to our players each day thanks to sponsorship monies from The San Marcos Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.”
Teamwork Makes the Dream Work
While the event was largely planned and organized by KTPA President Jo Honeycutt and VP Deb Pryor, it wouldn’t have happened without the hard work from so many Kissing Tree volunteers, who did everything from manning registration tables to updating brackets and everything in between. An inclement weather crew stood by to towel off courts in case of rain, and our water crew kept jugs filled with icy cold water. Kissing Tree’s resident doctors and nurses manned the First Aid tent in case anyone needed medical attention. And the Kissing Tree facilities team made sure there were fresh supplies of toilet paper and that trash cans were emptied. “The logistics were phenomenal; they knocked it out of park,” Deb said. “They didn’t miss a beat; it was beyond my expectations what they did. We couldn’t have done it without their support. Everyone worked together like spokes on a wheel.”
Our sponsors for the event went above and beyond, including Teamwork Financial, Westway Services Group Chicken and Pickle, Mutual of Omaha, and the City of San Marcos. There was also a wonderful mix of pickleball vendors in tents onsite with merchandise, including HEAD sports company, Pickleball Marketplace, Pickleball Rocks, IPTPA Director and Master Teaching Professional Matt Laz, and Bev & Liv’s Sports Boutique.
Did Somebody Say Party?
One of the highlights of the event was definitely the Opening Night Welcome Party, held in Independence Hall. There was music from Cactus Flats, great food, prizes, and giveaways, including a cooling towel for each guest. “I’ve only been to one other tournament that had this kind of a party,” says Deb. “It was a great way to start things off and get people relaxed and knowing each other; it creates an energy that you wouldn’t otherwise have.”
Close to 130 folks attended the party, which was great considering many players normally don’t come to a tournament until the second day of play for mixed doubles events. “We’re getting raves on this tournament,” Deb said. “With the word of mouth from this year, next year is going to be off the charts. This is going to be something that gets better and better.”
Want to come play at the tournament next year? We’ll have the listing up on https://www.pickleballtournaments.com/ when it gets closer. In the meantime, Kissing Tree residents are welcome to check out our classes and get togethers—check the HOA events calendar for more details. If you aren’t a resident yet, find your dream home and come join us!