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Featured Pickler: From newcomers to pickleheads

Courtesy of Kathy McCausey
Several players from a group started by Bry McIntyre and Frank Bagamary recently competed in a tournament at Land O’Lakes.

Just more than a year ago, Bry McIntyre and a friend who no longer plays tried their hands at pickleball at Wesley Chapel District Park. Now, she runs a pickleheads group.

Not long after delving into the fast-growing sport, playing primarily in Wesley Chapel and at the Land O’Lakes Recreation Complex, the 31-year-old met Frank Bagamary, a 68-year-old who helped her learn the ins and outs of the game.

“I didn’t know where to go to play,” recalled Bagamary, who found a pickleheads app.

McIntyre, seeking places and people to play with as well, took that ball and ran with it.

“He had the idea and I went in and set it up,” said McIntyre, a business owner. “It’s really easy for me to transition and organize a group of 30 for pickleball.”

Except, an initial collection of two dozen players exploded into a wide-ranging list of 100-200. Most recently, about a dozen members of that group competed in the Dink to Donate tournament in Land O’Lakes.

“I thought maybe we’d have 20 people,” said Bagamary, who is recovering from a broken hip while playing pickleball. “To grow this big, that’s amazing.”

A former three-sport high school athlete at Lake Gibson, McIntyre, like most people who take up pickleball, primarily focuses on her new sport these days.

 Photo courtesy of Kathy McCausey

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