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Featured Picklers - Merissa Rock and Damon Henkel

Pickleball tourney to benefit Seminole Chamber

Merissa Rock smiles for the camera on the pickleball courts.
Merissa Rock is a tennis and pickleball director at Bardmoor.

The pickleball craze marches on with the Greater Seminole Area Chamber of Commerce being the latest to get in on the action with an upcoming three-day event.

Billed as the chamber’s largest fundraiser of the year, the Inaugural Pickleball Tournament is scheduled Nov. 3-5 at the Bardmoor Golf & Tennis Club. That marks the first sanctioned pickleball tourney at that facility, which features 12 courts, all of which have been added since 2017.

Prior to the upcoming pickleball tourney, the chamber’s most lucrative fundraisers were local golf tournaments.

“We need to shake it up a little bit,” said Randi Nash-Ortiz, the chamber’s executive director. “It’s time to reinvent and do something different.”

Damon Henkel smiles for the camera on the pickleball courts.
Damon Henkel is a tennis and pickleball director at Bardmoor.

That is welcome news to Damon Henkel and his fianceé Merissa Rock, Bardmoor’s tennis and pickleball directors.

“We basically combined forces,” Henkel said of the partnership. “We’re working together and we’re excited.”

The event benefits programs for Seminole businesses, community organizations and residents alike. Nash Ortiz labeled it as “networking while having fun.”

Like so many others, Henkel and Rock marvel at how much pickleball has expanded in the Tampa Bay area, as well as throughout the nation.

“Hopefully, there will be more (pickleball tournaments) to come,” Henkel said.

For more information about the chamber or the tourney, call (727) 392-3245.

Photos courtesy of Bardmoor Golf & Country Club

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