OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The sport of pickleball is a kind of cross between tennis, ping pong, and racquetball.

So why were there so many doubles partners playing with plastic bear steins in their hands?

That’s the idea of the ‘Stein in Hand Tournament’ played on a September Sunday at Chicken ‘N Pickle.

Organizer Noah Basinger explained the basic rules with a twist.

“16 team tournament,” he starts off. “Normal pickleball rules, but you have to start with a full stein in your hand. First beer is on us. After that you can re-fill it yourself or you can fill it with water.”

Spillage was unavoidable no matter what strategy anyone employed.

Basinger continued, “Some people were opting to just chug it at the beginning.”

Another doubles team explained, “Our center of gravity is messed up using just one hand.”

The prize?

Two Igloo backpacks capable of holding at least 30 cans of any beverage.

The best ‘stein in hand’ players had played a lot of regular pickleball, but competition wasn’t exactly fierce.

Another team told us, “How can you be competitive with a beer in your hand?”

The finals involved two different styles.

One team had power.

The other used more finesse.

John Warren and playing partner Skyler Smith are two engineers who live in Ardmore.

They started playing a lot during the pandemic and got on a roll Sunday.

“We got in a groove and just kept going,” said Skyler. “Our strategy was finishing our beer early so we didn’t have to worry about spilling it. I think that helped out.”

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Playing pickleball while holding a stein of any kind of liquid changes balance, and strategy, and proves you can double to fun occasionally by doing two fun things at once.

“Good job, Good job,” one team shouted as they clicked their steins together. “Having fun is all that matters.”

For more information on future tournaments or Chicken ‘N Pickle, go to their website.

Great State is sponsored by WEOKIE Credit Union