Pickleball started in OKC...



Don Stanek and Ron Barnes are the two original players that got Pickleball started in OKC in 2009 with 3-4 other players. They played at the Sante Fe Club in 2009 until January 2010. Don and Vicky Noakes joined them in October & played there until January. In January we were told we couldn’t play there anymore because the tennis players thought we were too loud. Don Noakes made arrangements with Van Greenwood at Quail Springs Baptist Church for us to play at that gym in January 2010 with 6 players. We played on one court Tues & Thurs. Vicky then was able arrange to play in the gym at the Quail Springs Methodist Church in January of 2010 playing on Monday and Friday. Membership continued to grow slowly from 6 players to 15-20 in 2010. We were able to add Wed. & Friday to the schedule at QSB. In the spring of 2011, Quail Springs Baptist Church let us add three courts on Tues & Thurs as our membership grew. By the end of 2011 we had about 30 members.

Don & Vicky Noakes established a website for the OKC Pickleball Club.  Ron Barnes had a logo designed for OKC Pickleball t-shirts. By the end of spring 2012 the club had 35 members. Vicky Noakes applied and was approved to be the USAPA(USA Pickleball Association) Greater OKC Ambassador. She also applied for a USAPA grant for $150 that bought a portable net.

We were able to get an articles in the June Edmond Outlook and Baptist Messenger in October.

Also during the summer, additional facilities were added. Lynn Whipple and Peggy Cobb approached the Holy Trinity Lutheran Church & got 3 courts on Friday night and Saturday afternoon with the help of Jimmy Mock. Denny Oldham approached the Exchange Avenue Baptist Church in the summer of 2012 & with the help of Rusty Stowe arranged for 3 courts on Monday evenings. With the help of the magazine articles and securing nighttime and weekend play by the end of the summer 2012 we had 65 members.

Peggy Cobb applied and was approved to be the USAPA OKC West Ambassador. She applied for a USAPA grant and received $250 that bought another portable net, paddles & balls.

After the club lost its supplier for paddles, Peggy became a supplier for several pickleball companies to order paddles and supplies for our members at cost. She took over the record keeping of the club which included having waivers signed, membership applications, and safe keeping of the clubs money.

Peggy then arranged with the Jackie Cooper Gym in Yukon for 3 courts on Wednesday mornings. After working on the Woodson Park for a year, Denny and Peggy got 3 courts of play on Monday & Wednesday afternoons.

November 2012, Vicky Noakes arranged for a TV spot on KFOR "Is This a Great State or What" segment.

By the end of 2012 the OKC Pickleball Club had 85 members from 14 to 79 yrs of age.

In January 2013, The Magazine of Central Oklahoma SLICE had a small article on our pickleball club.

In January, Vicky started Pickleball 101(beginner’s lessons) at QS Methodist Church on two courts each Monday and then adding Friday beginner lessons in February. She had at least 25 go through these classes.

Vicky and Peggy both applied and were approved for 2 more USAPA grants for $250 each that bought 3 more portable nets, balls, & tape for courts. We added play on Thursday nights at Seward Road Baptist Church with the help of Denise & Bill Austin in the spring of 2013 and Christ's Church of Yukon for play on Wednesday mornings and Saturday nights with the help of Janet Zybach. Denny Oldham arranged for play at Southern Oaks Parks & Rec on Wednesday nights.

Sherry Prince applied for and was approved to be an Edmond USAPA Ambassador in July 2013.  

We lost 2 locations in the summer of 2013, Quail Springs Methodist and Exchanged Avenue Baptist & added the First Baptist Church of Moore on Friday mornings.

Membership by November 2013 was 152 & growing. We started giving beginner lessons from Oct to Dec at a different location each week.

Sherry Prince opened her pickleball store, Boulevard Paddles on November 9, 2013. She had a big Grand Opening Event at the Oakdale Schools Gym with six pickleball courts to promote the club, sport & her new store.

Starting in 2014 another location will come available with the help of Dr. Gerrie Pinkston(a new member).  We were able to start playing on the UCO campus at the Wantland Hall Gym on Thursday nights, Friday afternoons and Sunday afternoons. We closed the Southern Oaks location for lack of participants and they wanted to start charging. Play at Seward Rd closed down in Oct and play will start back up on Monday night’s instead of Thursday this next week.

Peggy Cobb moved to Ariz & left a huge hole in our club because she put so much effort into it.    

In January 2014, the club was officially organized. The name of the club(OKC Pickleball Club) was changed to incorporated all of the areas that we cover(Greater OKC Pickleball Club). A new logo was designed.

Officers were elected(volunteered) Vicky Noakes, president Jimmy Mock, vice president/treasurer Michelle Simpson, secretary/membership.

A ratings committee was organized and members were self-rated or committee rated. We applied for and received a Certificate of Incorporation(not for profit) status in February.

In April 2014, the GOPB organized and ran the Yukon Senior Games. This was the first USAPA sanctioned tournament in Oklahoma with seventy one entries. This was our second year to run this tournament.

 In March 2014, we teamed up with Edmond Parks and Rec for "Pickleball in the Park" We had 80 people sign in. Thirty-seven adults and thirteen kids signed waivers and learned how to play pickleball.

April 2014, GOPB along with OKC Parks & Rec offered their first skill level leagues at Woodson Rec Center on Thursday nights. In May 2014,

The Greens CC hosted a Pickleball, Table Tennis, Tennis tournament for Edmond Mobile meals. Our pickleball group raised over $2,000. Since January 2014 we have had about 20 new members a month with a total of 240 by the end of May.

We closed the courts at UCO in May because of the heat and will start back up in September. We have added courts with the help of the OKC Parks and Recreation dept. at Foster Gym(now closed because lack of participation). We are playing there on Tuesday afternoons and Wednesday mornings.

Another ambassador was named, Paige Peterson from Guthrie. She will be working to get the Stillwater area started and will help also in OKC. Working with Edmond and OKC on outdoor courts.  

In June 2014, Paige Peterson, Sherry Prince & Jane Neidenfeuhr organized the "The Longest Day" Pickleball Play-a-thon. Over 100 players including 25 new players helped raise over $2660 in donations for Alzheimer's.

July 2014, KSBI TV station filmed a segment called Drew vs. Pickleball with Sherry Prince.

Vicky Noakes filmed a segment of I Love Pickleball in Ruidoso, NM by the pickleballchannel.com crew.  

September 2014 membership ended with 271 members.

We closed some facilities (Mustang & daytime Yukon) and increased the days at Woodson, then opened UCO back up for the fall semester, charging 50 cents for parking passes.

In October 2014, GOPB subscribed to an online management company (Wild Apricot) with Jimmy Mock & Vicky Noakes being the main website administrators.

We also opened play at Norman 12th St Rec Center on Monday & Wed mornings and Friday nights with 4 courts. Jolly & Greg Pugh will be the Norman facility monitors.  

Vicky, Sherry & Matt Shawdee presented "Pickleball: America's Fastest Growing Sport, Taking Oklahoma By Storm" at UCO in a breakout session of OAHPERD.

SLICE magazine came to Woodson to take pictures & write a story for the November issue.  

In November the board voted to raise the 2015 dues to $20. This included a club nametag.

Vicky & Sherry met with the OKC All Sports Association to include Pickleball in the Winter Sooner State Games in January.

In January 2015, GOPB started playing at a new facility, KeyHealth. An agreement was made with KeyHealth management for a corporate membership for GOPB members. Courts were available MWF mornings, Tues/Thurs/Fri nights. Leagues are played Friday nights run by Keith Lee. The club collected the dues and paid one payment to KeyHealth. It was a success and by Jan. 2016 we had 110 members playing at KeyHealth.  

GOPB hosted the Sooner State Games at The Greens Tennis Facility in January for two days using pickleballtournaments.com for the management system. Vicky Noakes was tournament director with Sherry Prince as her assisant. Registration had to close 2 wks early because it was full at 150 players. We were one of 17 states that was a qualifier for the 2015 State Games of America in Nebraska. The pickleballchannel.com crew came and filmed a segment on "A Story from the Sooner State Games". The tournament was sanctioned as a Tier 3.

In February, Sherry & Vicky went to St. Paul’s Lutheran church to do a demo for about 15 members.  

In March, GOPB hosted another local tournament at the Greens. It was a fundraiser for Alzheimer's Awareness. This one was a skill based tournament.  

Sherry led a demo at the Green's Tennis Facility introducing pickleball to about twenty Green's tennis players.  

In March, GOPB participated in the OPEN STREETS OKC 2014 held in Uptown 23rd Street. We set up a portable net and showed OKC how to play pickleball in the street.

In April, the Yukon Senior Games was held with Michelle Simpson as the Tournament director with Doug Simpson as Referee Coordinator. GOPB had a booth at the Woodson Health Fair.  

In May, Sandy Crawford invited GOPB to hold a demo at the Memorial Road Mennonite Brethren Church for about 12 players.

A committee was formed to write the By-Laws for GOPB chaired by Bobby Cannon.

Vicky Noakes was appointed as the Mid South Oklahoma District USAPA Ambassador.

Membership has grown to 309 in May 2014.

Boulevard Paddles will be open on appointment only basis.  

In June, Sherry Prince continued her work with Craig Dishman of the Edmond Parks and Rec to get the pickleball lines painted on the tennis court at Stephenson Park. They were painted in June.

The Oklahoma City Parks and Rec Dept decided that they were going to start charging $2 per person for Pickleball at Woodson gym. The schedule was changed to only playing two days a week instead of four at Woodson. Monday & Wednesday was added at Moore to make up for Woodson.

In July, Sherry Prince set up demos for OakTree and Santa Fe Family Life Center. 

In January 2016, GOPB started playing at the Santa Fe Family Life Center. An agreement was made with Santa Fe Center for a special pickleball membership for the GOPB.  They offered us play on 6 courts, M-F 6am-1pm. GOPB had over 70 players that joined by the end of January.

Membership grew to 404 in 2016.

GOPB hosted the State Games of Oklahoma at the OKC Tennis Facility in January and had 177 players and the club received a check for $1,467.22 from the OKC All Sports Assoc. which was 40% of the profit from the tournament. 

Michelle Simpson ran the Yukon Senior Games tournament in April at the Jackie Cooper Gym. 

Demos were done by the club in Enid, UCO and Quail Creek Tennis Club.

Carolyn Behrens had t-shirts designed for the Pickle Chicks and took orders for them.

GOPB had their annual meeting in April and elected new officers and voted on the by-laws for the club. By-laws went into effect with the election of the new officers for the term of 2016 & 2017.  President – Bobby Cannon, Vice President – Will Williams, Vice President – Robert Sherrill, Vice President – Jill Bowler, Secretary – Barbara Mock, Treasurer – Jimmy Mock,  & Membership Director – Michelle Simpson.  The club also applied for and received a 501(c)-7 non profit status.

There are 5 USAPA ambassadors in the GOPB club now. Vicky Noakes, Peggy Cobb, Sherry Prince, Paige Patterson & Suzanne LaBelle.  GOPB has eleven venues and some private venues that they play in at this time.

Facility monitors were implemented in 2016 for each location to welcome members, visitors, beginners, keep track of equipment and communicate needs back to the court operations committee.

A co-founders of GOPB, Ron Barnes had a heart attack and passed away.

Developed a welcome letter to new members and mailing nametags.

Don Stanek chaired the ratings committee and started forming a committee and developing criteria for testing.

Teri and Don Stanek held a summer social for the club at their house in June.

Tom Hamilton started drills at Stevenson Park in Edmond during the summer them moved to Santa Fe on Wednesdays along with the beginner lessons during the morning.  Beginner lessons will include three sessions.

USAPA Code of Conduct was adopted by GOPB and announced to club that all members were expected to abide by at all locations.  An incident report was developed for court monitors to report any problems.

Additional play slots were added at Key Health in the afternoons.

Vicky Noakes serves as a board member to the Oklahoma Senior Games and the games started back up in 2016 and pickleball was held at the Jackie Cooper Gym & was run by GOPB.

Level play was started at several locations: Key Health, Santa Fe, Baptist & Woodson.

Sherry Prince arranged and organized a Prem Carnot clinic at the Santa Fe club.

Vicky Noakes was appointed to the board of the new pickleball organization Super Senior International Pickleball Association (SSIPA).

Sherry Prince reported that a new urban park and retail buildings at Stephenson Park are in the plans. The tennis court will be removed. A new tennis center will be built at Kelly and 15th and Kicking Bird will be closed and the corner possibly sold. We have the possibility of having pickleball courts at new tennis facility. The new tennis center to have 24 outdoor and 10 indoor.  This is a partnership with three Edmond high schools. A new bathroom and storage facility will be built at Stephenson Park this summer.

In January 2017, Vicky arranged to have Fred Thompson (certified referee) from Denton lead a referee clinic.  Players from OKC and Tulsa attended.

Jayne Underwood was named the new Edmond USAPA Ambassador.

State Games of Oklahoma was held at the OKC Tennis Center with 16-18 courts. GOPB bought 2 scanners and registration closed early with 196 players.  Vicky will try to find new tournament director and computer operations people to run tournament next year.

Chad Roberts took over leagues from Keith Lee.

Jill Bowler organized the annual membership party at Santa Fe in January.

Sherry Prince organized an Open House at Solid Rock in hopes to set up regular play in the future.

Kim Barnes received a USAPA Community Grant for Western Oaks Middle School.

GOPB demo team went to Muskogee to get pickleball started.

Jayne Underwood will monitor Oaktree play at $5 an hour, one evening a week.

Jack Thomas, a long time resident and member of GOPB that has moved to Scottsdale, AZ was named the new President of the USAPA.

GOPB(Bobby Cannon) signed contract with the State Fair to demonstrate pickleball for 10 days at the state fair. Must have members man the court ten hrs each day. Volunteers are given parking passes and entry tickets for the day they volunteer.  Club received $1000 for their participation.

Rocky Arrington built a storage cabinet in Santa Fe store room for pickleball equipment.

Oklahoma Senior Games were held in October at the Norman YMCA with nine courts. We had 127 players from 10 states.  Thirty four from GOPB played.

In November of 2017 we had 440 members in GOPB.

Don Stanek is holding ratings clinics several times a year at different locations that GOPB plays.

Wind screens were added to Stephenson Park with the help of Tom Hamilton.

Play at Solid Rock started and plays one night a week. Cost is $5.

January 2018, the new GOPB president , Brad Merritt took over. Vice President – Brian Richardson, Vice President – Jan Cooley, Vice President – Jill Bowler, Secretary – Barbara Mock, Treasurer – Jimmy Mock,  & Membership Director – Michelle Simpson.

Doug Simpson is in charge of running referee clinics for the club.

Vicky Noakes, the tournament director for the State Games of Oklahoma held the tournament at the OKC Tennis Center with 18 courts and 310 players registered & 18 court sponsors. We had players from 13 states, 136 were in state and 174 were out of state, 230 players were 50+ and 80 players below 50.

Jill Bowler will start Pickleball in the Park once a month on Sunday nights at Stephenson Park during the summer months.

Brian Richardson started 4.0+  play at Hidden Trails on Saturday mornings cost is $5.

Drills was organized for 2.5, 3.0 players and 3.5+ players at Santa Fe on Wednesday mornings before and during the beginner lessons.  Mike Rangel, Tom Hamilton, Vicky Noakes, Rocky Arrington, Barbara Mock and Mary Williams help out with this asking for other volunteers to help.

GOPB had 3 players that achieved the Certified Referee status, Tom Whitson, Ron Ponder and Don Stanek.

GOPB members Jayne, Christie, Brad and Rocky attended the Edmond Neighborhood Summit promoting pickleball.

Moira Roush was certified as a teaching pro for the PPR.

Tom Hamilton was certified as a teaching coach for the PPR.

A GOPB demo team went to McAlester, OK to show about 25-30 new players how to play pickleball.

Michelle Simpson was the tournament director for the Yukon Senior Games in April.

New USAPA ambassadors, Brian Richardson and Rocky Arrington were announced for OKC.  Vicky Noakes will be serving on the USAPA Community and High School Grant committee.

Rocky Arrington ordered another ball machine for Santa Fe and Tom Hamilton fixed the old one. The club now has two working ball machines.

Rocky Arrington has started working with a group of young adults that come to Santa Fe from Dale Rogers.

Sherry Prince arranged with the city of Edmond to have a pickleball court set up for Heard on Hurd in May.

Stephenson Park was the focus when Edmond department heads came to the park after a morning meeting, to experience how to play pickleball. Many GOPB members helped with the demo.  Sherry Prince will offer pickleball lessons at the park through the Edmond Parks and Rec department.

Rocky Arrington and Denny Oldham held a demo at the new Pete White Health & Wellness center in south OKC by Captiol Hill.

Jenny Marcos had a great article in the May/June Pickleball Magazine about promoting pickleball in the Phillipines.

GOPB signed up again to run a demonstration pickleball court at the Oklahoma State Fair headed by Robert Sherrill and Tom Hamilton.

A newbie tournament “Luck of the Draw” was held at the Santa Fe club in June for players 2.5 & 3.0 that have never played in a tournament before.  Don Stanek will be tournament director with a $6 entry fee. Run just like a sanctioned tournament with lunch & medals.

Sherry Prince and Les Leach ran a CPR training clinic at Santa Fe for all Santa Fe members.

Vicky Noakes and a committee hosted the first ladies luncheon in May.

GOPB started buying the Swiftnets for the facilities.

Rocky Arrington and Mike Rangel went to the Lawton Y to get pickleball started.

As the USAPA changes their rating system to a legacy and then NTPR our local rating committee with Don Stanek as chair had its hands busy trying to please players and to rank players.

Sherry Prince started leagues in August on Wednesday evenings at Solid Rock.

Moira Roush was named as a new Edmond USAPA Ambassador.

Brian Richardson had a demo court at the Open Streets in Moore.

Outdoor play at Oakdale schools started in the summer with taped lines on the tennis courts.

Hal Clifford was named as new Edmond USAPA Ambassador & Nick Whitson new Norman USAPA Ambassador.

Rocky Arrington and Gene Click went to Ardmore and helped with their first Ardmore Pickleball Senior Games.

Robert Sherrill and Tom Hamilton organized and scheduled volunteers for the Oklahoma State Fair again in Sept. 2018 for GOPB’s second year at the fair.  They demonstrated pickleball to 1400 fair goers.

Donna McLean was names as the Yukon USAPA Ambassador, Jeri Doane was named as a new Edmond Ambassador and Gene Click was named as the Warr Acres Ambassdor.

Brad and Cindy Merritt ran the charity tournament for WINGS at their private court. This was the second year for this tournament.

Vicky Noakes, Tournament Director for the 2018 Senior Games at the OKC Tennis Center.  This was a qualifying year for the 2019 National Senior Games.  Channel 9 did a news report on the games.

Beth and Gene Click are having a charity tournament for the Putnam High School tennis team called the PCSmash in November on the Putnam City tennis courts.

Vicky announced that Beth and Gene Click will be the tournament directors for the State Games of Oklahoma in January.

Santa Fe agreed to paint permanent lines on the courts with GOPB’s financial help.  We contributed $2200 to the project with SF agreeing to let us have a tournament there.

By-laws were amended to be relative to 501C3 status.

Don Stanek announced that ratings will be updated on the club website every 3 months.

Brad Merritt asked the club to update their profiles on the website to target emails to the facilities you play to reduce the number of emails you might receive.

Club made a policy concerning bringing Pros in for clinics.

Jimmy Mock and Jan Cooley started worked on the application for the 501C3.

GOPB has helped Jenny Marcos with her trips to the Phillipines and introducing pickleball to the players.  GOPB has donated paddles and some members helped her with expenses.

Membership at the end of 2018 had grown to 700 members.

2019 State Games of Oklahoma was in January of 2019 with 320 entered and had 22 court sponsors.

Pro player Michelle King gave a 2 day clinic at Hidden Trails before the State Games

Brad Merritt organized an Open House at Kickingbird Tennis Center in February and then started play every Saturday night  6-10 pm for $5. Club will have to tape each night.

GOPB dues were increased to $40 per year per person.

Facility monitor at Cherokee Hills Baptist (Robin Jones) announced that the location will be closing.

Tom Hicks introduced Glow in the Dark Pickleball at Southern Oaks facility.

Sherry Prince and Les Leach ran a CPR training clinic at Santa Fe for all Santa Fe members.

Premiere Sportsplex in Norman started pickleball one night a week. Not a part of the GOPB facilities.

Nick Whitson hosted the first Norman Senior Games at the 12th St Gym.

About thirty GOPB players participated in the 2019 National Senior Games in Albuquerque.

Brian Richardson ran the beginner’s tournament at Santa Fe in June with a $5 entry fee.

About 8 GOPB members went to the Weatherford YMCA to get that group started.

It was announced that the franchise “Chicken & Pickle” will be coming to OKC. Fall of 2020.

Kerry Guinn & Kim Shoemake lead the club in a fundraising effort by selling t-shirts(It’s Okay) and a surprise party for Jon Harpman, a pickleball player that has advanced Alzheimer’s.

Jimmy applied for 501C3 status, it was declined because we already had 501C7 status and we need to reapply with the longer form.  It was decided not to reapply at this time.

Michelle Simpson was tournament director for the Yukon Senior Games.

Ron Ponder was appointed IFP Director of the World Pickleball Ambassador program.

Moira Roush held the first free Kids Pickleball Clinic at Stephenson Park in Edmond.

In the July Pickleball Magazine, an article about Dave Skidmore(GOPB member) and his daughter, Mary Sasala were featured. In addition, there was another article about the National Senior Games with a picture of Tien Nguyen (GOPB member).

The Edmond Sun ran an article about Moira Roush and Tien Nguyen playing pickleball and winning the Mixed Doubles in the National Senior Games.

The Rotary Club in Elk City asked Jill Bowler, Jan Cooley, Mary Burns, Connie Riepl and Betsy Nielsen to come out and do a demo for Elk City. David Atkinson was the contact person in Elk City.

Pickleball courts were included in the 16 projects for the MAPS 4 plan proposal.  $500,000 was allocated for pickleball and basketball courts. This MAPS 4 project will be voted on in December 2019.

Nick Whitson led the charge to get pickleball played in the new Norman facility, Westwood Tennis. They have two indoor tennis courts. They are playing there each weekend for $5.

Dennis and Susan Blackwood with the help of GOPB held a charity pickleball tournament to benefit Alzheimer’s in August at Santa Fe.

Tien Nguyen and Moira Roush, GOPB local Pros, were asked to help with clinics and exhibitions in San Angelo, TX.

Gene Click, Barbara & Jimmy MockEthan Ramm, Missy Bobo & Michael Ottman taught his coworkers at Cytovance Biologics how to play pickleball at Stephenson Park in September.

Moira Roush has held clinics for our local club and clubs all around OK plus other states. 

Moira Roush and Joey Farias hosted a clinic at Lifetime Fitness.

Brad Merritt, Sherry Prince and Jan Cooley have been to planning meetings with the City of Edmond about turning Kicking Bird into a pickleball facility.

Club decided to pay Tournament director and Computer Operations for tournaments that the club received compensation for a percentage of the profits.

Robert Sherrill and Tom Hamilton organized and scheduled volunteers for the Oklahoma State Fair again in Sept. 2019.  It took 132 volunteer slots to demonstrate our love of pickleball to 1900 fair goers. This was an increase of 500 people.

Two of our GOPB members (John and Nicki Whitson) started a pickleball business called Nineth Wave Pickleball.

Membership as of October 2019 is 721 players.




Contact us

President - Brad Merritt - (405)802-8048 - brad.p.merritt@gmail.com
Membership and Dues - Michelle Simpson (405)738-7050
Tournaments - Brian Richardson (405)237-9366
Leagues/ Shootouts, Ratings and Social Events
Venues, Drills, Classes - Jan Cooley (405)620-5624
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