Country Music Festival
A few USATT members offered their talents to the country superstar group Lady Antebellum to help make its charity ping pong tournament a success at the Country Music Festival in Nashville on June 6-9.
Roger Dickson and Jena Newgarden of Newgy's directed the tournament which saw fans pay $5 to attempt to qualify from each day to reach a playoff June 9 with the winning fan team playing Dave Haywood and Charles Kelley of Lady Antebellum in a best-of-three finals.
The Bumpernets team of Homer Brown and Adam Brown of Birmingham made it safely through fan playoff to meet the band in the finals. Kelley and Haywood won 11-9, 21-19 in front of their fans.
In the fans' finals, the Browns and beat USATT member Gus Martinez of El Paso, Texas, and his partner.
Some of the 200-plus fans showed up more than three hours before the finals to meet Kelley and Haywood.
The Browns were awarded two autographed Epiphone AJ100 acoustic guitars. Martinez and his partner each received a Newgy Robo-Pong and autographed paddles.
On Thursday, June 6, Olympian Ariel Hsing helped kick off the CMA Festival when Lady Antebellum played Little Big Town in a match between the country celebrities.
Other USATT members helping with the tournament were international umpire Michael Wetzel and club umpire Logan Wetzel, who officiated matches for two days including the finals with Lady Antebellum.
Also USATT members Sameh Awalladah and Fielder Strain of Nashville officiated matches as well as help Dickson keep the tournament moving smoothly.
More than 30 country music stars including Ricky Skaggs, Pam Tillis, Lorie Morgan, Lee Golden of the Oak Ridge Boys and Ty Herndon autographed one of the tournament tables which was auctioned online.
The proceeds from the ping pong event went to Lady Antebellum's charity, LadyAid, which helps needy children.
Lady Antebellum has won seven Grammys in the past three years and have had string of hits including "Need You Now."