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Featured Picklers: Betmar Acres residents

Seven Betmar Acres residents medal in Florida Senior Games

Rita Jones and Jimmie Stokes, who were among the medalists from Betmar Acres, play pickleball on the court.
Rita Jones and Jimmie Stokes were among the medalists from Betmar Acres.

What had long been a tennis club at Betmar Acres, a 55-and-older community in Zephyrhills, is now primarily a pickleball club. Officially, it is listed as a tennis and pickleball club.

Many people from that community play in open and ladder leagues on the pickleball courts at the nearby Sarah Vande Berg Tennis Center. Some even play in various tournaments scheduled there, the most recent being the Florida Senior Games.

Nearly a dozen players from Betmar competed in those games. Among them was Rita Jones, who has played pickleball since 2016 and relished the support of her Betmar counterparts.

“It was so much fun because we had so much support from each other,” she said. “No matter who was playing from Betmar (we) always had a group cheering us on.”

Jimmie Stokes highlighted the top finishers by earning three gold medals — women’s singles, 3.0-3.5, 80-84; women’s doubles with Sandy Bedingfeld, 3.0-3.5, 80-84; and mixed doubles with Lenny Calodny (the only player not from Betmar), 3.0-3.5, 80-84.

Betmar’s bronze medalists included Robin Meek, Karen Quinlan and Rita Jones; Tom Frain and Jim Pfleidner were silver medalists.

Although they did not medal, three others — James and Michelle St. Jean, along with Terri Tracy, Stokes’ daughter — represented Betmar.

Photo by Steve Lee

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