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Nashville Sports Legend Billy McGehee Takes His Best Shot to Help Turn Music City into Pickleball City

by Rich and Laura Lynch

He is a Nashville and Florida sports legend. Now, he is hoping that lightning will strike twice and that a horde of cool kats will storm into the ranks and join the growing camp of crazed aficionados who love all things pickleball. And - on July 3, 2023 - those hopes and dreams yielded a terrific turnout at the Nashville Fairgrounds as Billy McGehee's Wild WORLD OF PICKLEBALL 2nd Annual GREAT AMERICAN MUSIC CITY PICKLEBALL FEST held a marathon 12-hour event that exceeded the organizer's advance expectations.


Rockin' Rich Lynch meets up with the legend Billy McGehee in Music City.

"I believe Nashville can become the Pickleball City," cited the former NHL and Arena Football executive who sees the sport's and city's potential to grow together by combining the nation's fastest growing game with the established music base that already exists here in the state capitol of Tennessee.

The 2nd Annual Great American Music City Pickleball Fest certainly lived up to its billing. The athletic affair ran from 8 AM to 8 PM and the courts were filled from dawn to dusk proving that the ongoing love affair with the quirky sport is alive and well in middle America.


This new song by Rockin' Rich is taking the pickleball world by storm.

We arrived mid-afternoon to observe all courts packed with players. DJ Randy was spinning records adding to the energy in the indoor facility with A/C. He even played MCN's Rockin' Rich Lynch. His latest hit single "Pickleball at the Mall" was well-received by the room full of athletes. In addition to open play there were opportunities to "Beat the Pros", a coaching court and areas to unwind with food & drinks available for purchase. This Fest was also a place for people to socialize around their common love of this booming racquet sport.

Billy McGehee is the brains behind the Great American Music City Pickleball Fest. This second incarnation was bigger than last year's Fest. His short term plans and long-range goals include expanding the scope of the event at the Fairgrounds with an eye on eventually filling Nashville's largest convention center in the heart of downtown. Billy is also aiming to expand the sport in Mid-Tenn year-round by advocating for access to more courts in the city's core.


It was a wild day in Nashville as Billy McGehee's Wild WORLD OF PICKLEBALL returned to the Fairgrounds.

"We are assembling a team of professionals whose goals will be to: establish our brand as a premiere brand in the sport, build additional pickelball facilities to accommodate the millions of players who will enter the sport over the next 5 years, provide management services and certified professional coaches for these facilities, partner with corporations interested in educating, promoting and marketing the sport, host camps, clinics and special events, create exciting promotions and finally team-up with charities who are dedicated to making the world a better and safer place."

There were a number of organizations on site including the Mid-South Liver Alliance who were giving out a two-sided fact sheet about the liver countered by 12 quick pickleball tips. Optimize U offers lab panels paired with programs and supplements to optimize good health. We also had the pleasure of meeting "Simply Sherri".


More scenes from the 2nd Annual GREAT AMERICAN MUSIC CITY PICKLEBALL FEST.

"Simply, your best, one meal at a time," is one part of Sherri's lifestyle philosphy. "This motto means more than just the power of healthy-eating and nurturing your body. It is rather an all-encompassing practice applying to all facets of living your best life, one-step, one-meal, one-day - at a time".

Sherri Holzer - a cooking instructor and health coach - shared with us that she started playing pickleball over a year ago. The first time she went to a court she did not know anyone but folks were quick to introduce themselves and show her the sport. She found a real community in the pickleball world which connected perfectly with her passion for happiness and health. So much so, that she is working on a cookbook with a nod to pickleball that is due out in August of 2023.


Simply Sherri was taking advance orders for her soon to be released Pickleball Cookbook.

Holzer mentioned that her mother was from Greece, so many of the recipes in the book are from the Mediterranean but she emphasizes it is not just about food but a Mediterranean Lifestyle with a focus on community, fun, positivity and wellness. If you are in the Nashville area you can sign up for Sherri's Masterclasses or check her out on-line.

Billy McGehee's Wild WORLD OF PICKLEBALL and our encounter with Sherri reinforced what we have been hearing about pickleball. The sport continues to grow in popularity. It seems that people who pick up a paddle often become avid competitors. Pickleball appeals to generations as it can be learned at a relatively young age and played well into retirement. Yes, like any sport there are injuries associated with it but pickleball is not as aggressive as tennis yet tougher than ping-pong. It is a fun social sport with wide appeal. Billy McGehee with a wealth of knowledge in sports is one of many hoping to grow it here in Mid-Tenn. If they are successful Nashville will not only be known as Music City but Pickleball City, too!


A crowd gathered around Tommy Karlas to hear him play his timely "The Pickleball Song".

Related Links: For more information on the BILLY MCGEHEE and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links - Billy McGehee's Wild World of Pickleball | Simply Sherri | Nashville Fairgrounds


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