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Hello, Governor

Signed photo of the Governor that the Southern Women's team is giving out to their opponents
Southern Women's team meets Governor of Arkansas

By Sue Levine, USTA.com

Indian Wells, Calif. - It’s an honor even the pros don’t always receive.

Before heading to the USTA League National Championships, the Southern Section 3.5 Senior team got to meet Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe.

As is often the case, it came about through “a friend of a friend”. Team co-captains Shirley Hunter and Terri Holmes say a daughter’s friend works for the Governor, and she was telling him how well the Little Rock team was doing, Section champions and undefeated at 20-0. When the Governor heard that, he said to bring the players on by so he could meet them.

The team had their close encounter with the Governor this past Monday. Not only did he congratulate them on a successful season. They arrived in their Section Championship shirts and Governor Beebe took the time to pose individually with each woman. He expressed pride to have a team from his state win the entire Southern Section and advance to a national championship.

The Governor’s Arkansas pride was also evident in the gifts the team is exchanging at the National Championship. Governor Beebe personally autographed 24 official photos with a congratulatory message to give to their opponents. These were included in a bag from the library of a former Governor of Arkansas who became President of the United States, Bill Clinton. They filled the bag with other items manufactured of the state, including Maybelline make-up, Cavenders spices and more.

So what is the key to the success of a team that’s caught the attention of the Governor of Arkansas? One player says it’s due to the fact the women all genuinely like each other and get along well with no team drama. Other team members are Melanie Riley, Trisha Buckman, Betty Brinkley-Harrison, Kathy Campbell, Priscilla Backus, and Debbie Bennett.

Team member, Maureen Dickson had a different theory: “It might be the margaritas, chips and salsa they always shared at Senor Tequilas, after each team victory.” Or “Senior” Tequilas, as they call it.

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