top of page

Special Pops Tournament Sets Records

The weekend was ideal for a record smashing Special Pops tournament: seasonal temperatures, clear skies and little wind. The weather provided the perfect backdrop for a very exciting weekend.

According to tournament director, Elison McAllaster, a record 186 women and 199 men played in Women’s, Men’s and Mixed Doubles, including approximately one hundred Landings Club picklers. There was a seventy-two-year difference between the youngest player who was twelve and the oldest at eighty-four. The largest age group ranged from sixty to sixty-four.

Phil Espy & Stephen Ford (Photo: George Schminke)

Players came from fourteen states, including Georgia (229), South Carolina (115) and Florida (7). The rest came from Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Utah, Wisconsin and Alaska! Women’s Doubles and Men’s Doubles were played on Friday and Saturday respectively. Mix Doubles were played on Sunday. Finally, and for the first time at The Landings, on Saturday afternoon, ten teams from Georgia, Florida and South Carolina competed in a Men’s Open Challenge. The top three teams split a $6,000 purse.

The Landings Club garnered the most medals. Out of one hundred twenty medals awarded, the home team won a total of sixty-seven. The women won nineteen medals including eight gold, seven silver and four bronze. Landings men won eleven gold, six silver and seven bronze. Mixed Doubles teams won twenty-four, including seven gold, five silver and twelve bronze. Ten players won two medals including: Lyndsey Thomas, Ben Lockshin, Nancy Early, Wayne Pero, Claudia Gaughf, Karen Inglese and her sister Barbara Duff, Steve Holst, Chas Ferrille and Courtney Waite.

Courtney Waite & Peter Dorward (Photo: George Schminke)

There were so many outstanding matches, it is impossible to highlight each individually. That said, the Men’s Open Challenge, with a $6,000 purse can’t be ignored. Chris Kader and Christopher Eastwood, Peter Dorward and Patrick May, Alex Fox and Bradley Morse, and Scott McKessy playing with Lance Burgstiner represented The Landings. It was an impressive mixture of power and finesse: a tutorial in how the truly great play pickleball. In the end, John Davison and Luis Nani from Jacksonville won gold and split $3,000. Frank Solana of St. Simons Island, and Troy Kilner of Woodbine, took silver for $2,000. Chris Kader playing with Christopher Eastwood won bronze and split $1,000.

Special thanks are in order for the sponsors of the tournament including, St. Joseph/Candler Hospital, Gaughf Dermatology, Ricky McAllaster Foundation, Selkirk, Sound View Wealth Advisers, The Landings Club and Diadem Sports. Thank you for your support. Thanks also to Elison McAllaster for all she’s done to make Special Pops a huge success.

Finally, this article can’t end without a shout-out to Charlie Fox. Charlie is the eldest child of Alex and Faith Fox and, at twelve years old, the youngest player to compete in a pickleball tournament at The Landings Club. While Charlie didn’t take home any medals, he was perhaps the most impressive pickler on the courts last weekend. Way to go Charlie!

Charlie Fox (Photo: George Schminke)



bottom of page