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Social Hour: The Big Pickle Fundraiser Tournament Raised Over $50K for Friends of the Children Austin

The lively pickleball tournament raised funds to help break the cycle of generational poverty for local youth

The Big Pickle 2024
photo by Collin Ross Findlay

The second annual Big Pickle, a pickleball tournament fundraiser benefiting Friends of the Children Austin (Friends Austin), took place on Friday, March 22 at River Place Country Club. More than 120 teams, and dozens of spectators and supporters, gathered on a beautiful spring day for a lively tournament.

Many players sported coordinated outfits and participated in competitive and fun play, all to support the mission of Friends Austin. Lauren Smith Ford and Staley Moore served as co-chairs of the tournament, along with an engaged host committee of local community leaders.

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Graeme Waitzkin, Lauren Smith Ford & Cameron Campbell (photo by Collin Ross Findlay)

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Natalie Kopp & Elizabeth Shands (photo by Collin Ross Findlay)

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(photo by Collin Ross Findlay)

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(photo by Collin Ross Findlay)

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Mollie Brown & Meegan Fuqua (photo by Collin Ross Findlay)

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Whitney Knight & Kendall Bryant Fisk (photo by Collin Ross Findlay)

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Michael Fojtasek (photo by Collin Ross Findlay)

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(photo by Collin Ross Findlay)

Guests enjoyed drinks from Ranch Rider, Twisted X beer, and Rambler Sparkling Water, plus breakfast and lunch from River Place Country Club. Tunes were provided by Infinity Sound Lab, Panacea generously donated furniture for guests to rest and lounge, and many amazing local brands and companies donated items for giveaways to players and fabulous raffle prizes.

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Meredith Spears, Caroline Koehring, Staley Moore & Sara Trantham (photo by Collin Ross Findlay)

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(photo by Collin Ross Findlay)

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Chrissy & Jay Kleberg (photo by Collin Ross Findlay)

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Mary Catherine Davis & Sydney Goode (photo by Collin Ross Findlay)

Friends Austin’s mission is to break the cycle of generational poverty through professional, salaried, full-time mentors, who work with children who are facing the greatest challenges from kindergarten through high school graduation. Friends Austin serves more than 185 children and has been operating in Austin since 2017. The more than $50,000 raised through The Big Pickle goes directly to support Friends Austin’s work.