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Billy McGehee's Wild World of Pickleball Takes Center Stage For the Third Year in a Row in Nashville

by Rich and Laura Lynch

Longtime professional sports executive Billy McGehee (President & CEO - Tampa Bay Lightning [NHL]; General Manager - Nashville Kats [AFL]) returned to the Nashville Fairgrounds Expo #3 on July 06, 2024 to serve as the host and driving force behind the third annual Great American Music City Pickleball Fest.

Billy McGehee is on his way to being crowned King Pickleball in Nashville.

Mr. McGehee is a beloved figure in Nashville for helping make the Kats a large draw at the city's downtown arena complete with bikini clad team supporters who watched indoor football from a hot tub located in the stands. So, it's no wonder that Billy would take his love for one quirky hybrid (Arena Football) and apply it to the nation's fastest growing participation sport - pickleball. The one-time ATP ranked tennis pro has also made it his mission to help turn the capitol of Tennessee into both the Music and Pickleball City.

Nashville's Johnny Pickleball told us he is never home and always on the road playing in the pro circuit.

The turnout on Saturday of the holiday weekend indicated that he is making impressive progress on fulfilling that goal. Billy was joined by several Pro pickleball players including the likable local Johnny Pickleball along with several former NFL players who were all battling it out on the center stage that this year was provided by The Sport Court - a portable flooring system that helps generate a more consistent bounce when the competition heats up. The twelve indoor and air-conditioned courts were full of pinging paddles and balls set in motion by players who made the trip to 325 Wedgewood Avenue from near and far with many of them staying at the lead sponsor's Margaritaville Hotel Nashville. That Jimmy Buffett-founded company also provided numerous sweet looking branded pickleball paddles that they were giving away all day long at the fest.

The local owner's of Pickleball Kingdom will soon be making their presence known in the region.

There was non-stop action over the course of ten hours powered by live music provided by Nashville DJ Randy Spencer who for a second year in a row spun MCN's Rockin' Rich Lynch's "Pickleball at the Mall" song to help inspire the many competitors in the house. There were also several vendors on site including "I Am Next" who were promoting their efforts to give young adults in foster care a path forward to a better life.

The Sport Court - with its consistent playing surface - was a welcome new addition this year.

In a sign that McGehee just might be backing a winning horse in pickleball - all of the local owner's of Pickleball Kingdom were on hand to announce the upcoming fall arrival of their locations in Mid-Tenn with facilities scheduled to soon open doors in Hendersonville, Mt. Juliet and Davidson County. The flagship opened in Chandler, Arizona in 2022 created a buzz with its indoor clubhouse that featured 15 fenced in courts, a pro shop, locker rooms, snack bar and viewing areas. After a year of perfecting the set-up Pickleball Kingdom decided to expand through franchising. Pickleball is often referred to as a community sport so having facilities where new to pro players can perfect their game in modern indoor locations will certainly help grow the community in the state of Tennessee and beyond.

Nashville DJ Randy Spencer kept the adrenaline flowing at the pickleball fest.

For three years in a row now Billy McGehee has planted his own pickleball flag in Nashville. But, if the rumors swirling around the hangar style exposition space are true - well, we haven't seen anything yet. McGehee has put a hold on the complete Nashville Fairgrounds for Saturday, July 5, 2025 for an event that promises nearly 50 total pickleball courts, an exponential increase in vendors and a live music stage featuring many of Music City's hardest working recording acts for a day long gathering that will surely serve to crown McGehee as the Pickleball King he aims to be.

"Pickleball at the Mall" was played at the Great American Music City Pickleball Fest for a second year in a row.

Related Links: For more information on the GREAT AMERICAN MUSIC CITY PICKLEBALL FEST and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links - Billy McGehee's Wild World of Pickleball | Nashville Sports Legend Billy McGehee Takes His Best Shot to Help Turn Music City into Pickleball City | Pickleball Kingdom | I AM NEXT | Nashville DJ | Nashville Fairgrounds


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