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Another successful Aloha Open has come and gone, and from the comments we received, it was a fun and competitive event for all involved. The Winston Salem Athletic Club is beautiful and the courts were super. Bobby Thore and staff always do their best to put out the welcome mat for all the players. I just wish there was a club like this in my area, because I know I would be a member of such a great racquetball/fitness facility. As has been the case for the last 4 years now, we reached our 130 player limit about a week before our deadline.

All activity for this tournament centers on our Hawaiian theme decorated hospitality room. Players were all given a choice of many designs and colors of our signature Hawaiian print shirts from Banana Jack in Hawaii, when they checked in. They were able to participate in our large silent auction, and raffle, and pick up many great items for a fraction of their cost. Our raffle grand prize was a men's Croton watch with a retail value of $800. Wendy Ford of Sylva, NC was the winner of the watch, and made it an early Father's Day present to her husband Thomas, who also played in the tournament. Many other items were also in the raffle including a $100 gift card from Best Buy, and items donated by and Wilson Racquetball. Players were treated to Le Bleu premium bottled water, Cheerwine soda, and 180 brand energy drinks courtesy of our sponsors. They were also fed well all weekend with Chic-Fil-A providing chicken strips and nuggets, chicken salad sandwiches, chicken wraps, salad, fruit plates, and cheesecake and brownies for desert on Friday night. Krispy Kreme donuts and bagels from Bagel Station were served for breakfast Saturday and Sunday morning. Olive Garden Italian restaurant provided us spaghetti with meat sauce, bread sticks, and salad for lunch Saturday. Outback Steakhouse set up and grilled ribs and chicken breasts with salad, green beans, and grilled pineapple, and served it to the players by the pool at the Aloha party Saturday night. Sunday lunch was provided by Mayflower Seafood Restaurants, and consisted of Greek chicken, boiled shrimp, rice, slaw, and hush puppies. Budweiser provided 2 kegs for the Aloha party, with Mr. Bush Hog at the tap, and the 180 brand energy drinks. Of course, what would an Aloha party be without Hula Girls. Taking care of making sure every guest received a lei were our Hula Girls Carrie Bottomley, and Peggy Markert. Peggy's daughter also helped out. Our Limbo contest was won by Meagan Chertoff, and she took home a cool $50 cash for being so limber. DJ Panama was with us again for the evening and he kept everyone going with great music and entertainment throughout.

On the competition side top ranked women's Pro Kerri Wachtel from Ohio won the women's Open, and with partner Shannon Feaster, who is the WPRO Commissioner, won the women's Open doubles. Dan Fowler of Maryland won men's Open singles in what many called the best men's Open draw they had seen this year. He defeated last year's winner Brian Bottomley by coming back from way down in the first game to win 15-14. But it was all Fowler in the second game as he defeated Brian 15-2. This was Dan's first trip to the Aloha, and he plans to make it a regular tournament for him now. Dan's wife Doreen also made the trip and finished second in the women's Open.t was 16 strong and featured many of the top players from NC, VA, and MD.
The men's and women's Open singles winners, in addition to cash prizes, each won a quality Croton watch valued at over $600 each. Men's Open doubles were won by Chris Buckner (VA) and Mauricio Zelada (MD) as they defeated Brian Bottomley and David Day. All the men's skill level divisions also had strong draws, with 17 players in A, 14 players in B, 15 players in C, and 13 players in D. 20 women participated this year in singles and doubles divisions.

An event of this size and scope takes a ton of work to set up, run, and take down. I have to especially thank Mike Bourgeios (Bush Hog) for being there to help me do everything it takes to set this event up starting Thursday and ending late Sunday night tearing it down. Lynn Moffitt, who travels up here from Mississippi to help us run the event, does a great job keeping us on time with match play, and also helps us with set up and breaking down. JoAnn Chertoff always pitches in to help wherever we need her, taking care of the silent auction and raffle for us, and working in hospitality. Donna Matthews and Joy Rudisill are always willing to help us out in hospitality and they do a great job with it. All these people are volunteers and without their help it would be impossible to run an event like this. I sincerely thank each and everyone one of them for their help in making this tournament happen. We also have to thank the Hawthorne Inn for providing our players with great rooms at a reasonable price. And I have to thank Bobby Thore, owner of the Winston Salem Athletic Club. First, for letting us invade his club for the weekend. A tournament like this puts a huge added load on a club. And secondly, he is the one that secures all our food sponsors and the majority of our product sponsors including the prize and raffle watches, and many of the great auction items. It is because of him that we were able to raise $2000 for our charities this year. I would also like to thank Wilson Racquetball and for their generous donations to the event. And a special thanks to D.W. for helping us out this year. You made a big difference for us, and we do appreciate it. Click on the link below for the full results of the event.


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