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Featured Picklers - Florida Senior Games players

Florida Senior Games coming to Pasco County

Jimmie Stokes and Sandy Beddingfield, longtime doubles partners, pose for a photo holding their paddles at the pickleball courts.
Jimmie Stokes and Sandy Beddingfield, longtime doubles partners, will compete in the 2023 Florida Senior Games at the Sarah Vande Berg Tennis Center.

Nearly 500 pickleball players will ascend on the courts at the Sarah Vande Berg Tennis Center this week. They will be there for the 2023 Florida Senior Games.

The Dec. 6-10 series marks the second straight year for that Zephyrhills-based facility to host the pickleball games.

“I personally like going there,” said Andy Rubenstein, the state’s pickleball tournament director. “It’s a nice open space for everybody.”

David Lloyd, SVB’s pickleball director, has watched pickleball expand there with increased open play and more tourneys than last year. He said the Florida Senior Games should lead to even more exposure.

“It’s just a real good way to get the word out,” said Lloyd, who serves as an instructor for pickleball and tennis.

Jimmie Stokes, a Zephyrhills resident who last year won gold medals in singles and doubles, plans to enter three divisions this year. That includes mixed doubles. At 80-plus, her partners will be Sandy Beddingfield and Lee Hutchens.

“It’s great because you play people your own age,” said Stokes, who in some previous tourneys played people much younger.

Like Lloyd, she feels that the games coming to SVB will help promote pickleball in the area.

“All the people who come here know what a nice facility it is,” Stokes said.

Photo courtesy of Jimmie Stokes

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