On Friday May 26th, The Landings Club played host to Dean Matt in his attempt to set a World Record by playing pickleball in all forty-eight contiguous states in twenty-six days. Dean flew his Cessna Turbo 206 into Savannah accompanied by his playing partner, Jimmy Santangelo, and headed to Franklin Creek for a one-game match against Alex Fox and his partner, Landings Club member Blaine Twibell.
Dean started playing a year ago, and after six months decided to embark on a personal challenge. That is, he would set a world record for playing one match in every state in less than a month. After six months of meticulous planning, which included deciding on a route, booking venues and lodging, and lining up sponsors, he left his home in Sarasota, Florida on May 1st and flew to Mobile, Alabama for his first match. According to Shannon Yeager, Dean’s technical adviser, the idea was to “Showcase the tapestry of who and where pickleball is played across the United States.”
The venture attracted several industry sponsors. Selkirk was the major sponsor, while OS1st, Jigsaw Health, Chicken N Pickle and TYROL were each Gold Sponsors. Additional sponsors included Proshot Pickleball and Pickleheads.
Shannon was unable to accompany Dean as originally planned, but along the way he was joined by Jimmy Santangelo. Coincidently, Jimmy had embarked on a similar quest without a set time limit. Instead of flying he drove a van. He was following Dean’s trip online when he noticed they were going to be in Las Vegas at the same time. They teamed up for the remainder of the trip.
Along the way Dean and his partners played local “picklers,” pickleball professionals, celebrities and special needs players. They played with former Virginia governor, George Allen, as well as Bobby Dyer, Mayor of Virginia Beach, and, of course, our own Alex Fox.
Alex’s playing partner was determined by a drawing. Those interested in playing submitted their names, and the winner was chosen randomly. The winner was Blaine Twibell who has played for about two years.
Gary Lorfano, The Landings Club Director of Membership, Marketing and Communications did a terrific job of corralling the local media. All three local networks were on scene to interview Dean and film the match. After spirited competition, with Alex pulling his punches, the team of Matt and Santangelo prevailed by the score of 11 - 8. In the end, all agreed the event was a success.The Landings Club was honored to play a part in Dean’s World Record quest.
After the match Dean and Jimmy headed to the airport and flew to Sarasota to play their last match. In the end, while Dean most certainly set a record, he was unable to play in all forty-eight states. Bad weather, including ice in the clouds over Salt Lake City, kept him grounded for several days and he was unable to play in Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota and Nebraska. Despite that, I think we can agree, it was a heck of an accomplishment and one in which The Landings Club was proud to participate.
Following Photos provided by Rachel Wright, The Landings Club