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OPA Pickleball tournament to draw hundreds of players 

Pickleball is a thriving sport in Ocean Pines. The OPA Racquet Center will host its third annual Octoberfest Pickleball Tournament Sep. 29 to Oct. 1.

By Cindy Hoffman, Staff Writer

(Aug.17, 2023) Pickleball players are practicing for the third annual Oktoberfest Pickleball Tournament Sept. 29 to Oct. 1 in Ocean Pines, with registration open until Sept.15 at

It is the only pickleball tournament with cash prizes held on the Delmarva Peninsula and draws several hundred players and spectators each year, in part because players do not have to live in Ocean Pines to enter.

“Our Pickleball Club started an in-house tournament last year, and I think that has caused some confusion. We love all the new players that visit us in peak season, and we hope they will come back and play in our Oktoberfest,” Cathy Noble, the organizer of this year’s event, said.

“A skill level of 3.0 is typically the beginning level for players who want to compete. This is where you have a good knowledge of the rules and are ready to enjoy the competition of meeting and playing against new pickleball enthusiasts,” she said.

“Once we close registration, I will break out the ages for the best competitive play.’

Noble added that the general practice is to combine the under-50 age groups, and then she works up in 10-year increments.

“If I have a situation where there is a 70-year-old in a bracket with the closest age of 50, I will reach out to that team and give them the option to play down a skill level,” she said.

Youth players are also welcome to compete she said.

“We would love to have a bracket for kids! All it would take is for a minimum of three teams to create a bracket. Unfortunately, teams hesitate to register until they see other teams of similar age/skill in the player list.”

There is an increase in younger Pickleball players, with grandparents taking their grandkids out to play and the publicity radiating from the Pickleball phenomenon, said Anna Leigh Waters, who has made the sport her career at age 16.

Noble said if she cannot give a team good competitive matches, she will refund their registration fee.

Having a playing partner is not required.

“On the registration page, there is a report that will list all the players needing a partner. If you see a player you want to reach out to, just click on their name and you’ll see an option to message them. I have met many new friends when needing a partner,” Noble said.

Tournament sponsors are Home Instead and Columbia Roofing, although organizers continue to seek more.

There are three sponsorship levels, $250, $500 and $1000, each with different promotional benefits. To become a sponsor, contact Debbie Donahue at or call 443-783-8623.