Tyler Wagner, Golden Tate, Casey Patterson, and Jenna Bandy at the Pickle Bowl in Las Vegas.
Sports figures Tyler Wagner, Golden Tate, Casey Patterson, and Jenna Bandy at the Pickle Bowl in Las Vegas ahead of Super Bowl LVIII. The Dink

Pickle Bowl brings pickleball to Las Vegas ahead of SB LVIII

DALLAS, TX - NFL stars Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, and Christian McCaffrey brought their best to Super Bowl LVIII this past weekend, but other NFL notables did the same on the pickleball court.

Larry Fitzgerald, Marcellus Wiley, Golden Tate, and Cliff Avril competed in the Pickle Bowl, a three-day event put on by The Dink and the Inspiring Children Foundation at the Plaza Hotel’s rooftop courts.

The festivities began last Thursday with ‘pickleball coach to the stars’ Matt Manasse running two 60-minute clinics ahead of two-hour open play periods and ended Saturday with an amateur tournament.

The aforementioned NFL icons made their mark on Friday, though, when they competed in the Invitation-Only Celebrity, Athlete, & Influencer Tournament along with some of the biggest names in sports and social media.

Jenna Bandy, Logan Lisle, John Brenkus, Joey and Steven from AreYouKiddingTV, and beach volleyball Olympian Casey Patterson were just a few of the other notable participants in addition to pickleball pros Connor Garnett and Patrick Kawka.

When all was said and done, it was the late-entry team of Kawka and former superstar wide receiver Fitzgerald who took home the title. 

Patrick Kawka and Larry Fitzgerald standing next to each other.
Patrick Kawka and Larry Fitzgerald won the Invitation-Only Celebrity, Athlete, & Influencer Tournament during the Pickle Bowl. The Dink

The Dink founder Thomas Shields was excited to see the event’s turnout ahead of Sunday’s game.

“It’s just cool to have so much talent in one place and to be able to get them all to an event to play pickleball in the middle of one of the coolest weekends of the year,” he shared. “I think it’s a testament to the sport and how addicting and fun it is.”

In addition to introducing more people to pickleball and getting greater exposure for the sport during the media craze that is Super Bowl week, the Pickle Bowl had the added benefit of helping out a local nonprofit.

Through partnering with the Inspiring Children Foundation, The Dink will be donating a portion of the proceeds from the event to the organization that helps at-risk youth and families in the Las Vegas area.

With the Super Bowl taking place each year, there’s reason to believe that the Pickle Bowl could become an annual occurrence, too.

And Shields isn’t opposed to the idea.

“It’s definitely on our mind now,” he said. “In an ideal world, we’d definitely like to do it again."