PEMBROKE — For almost a decade, Kyle and Skye Wilkins have been making a trip of around five hours from Atlanta, Ga., to Pembroke to participate in the annual Lumbee Homecoming festivities.
Many aspects of the week-long event have remained constant over the years for the brothers. They enjoy being able to eat traditional food, buy locally made clothing and reconnect with old friends.
On Thursday, the pair had an opportunity to participate in an event they hadn’t done before in their previous visits. Taking to the tennis courts as part of the Lumbee games at the Pembroke Recreation Complex, they finished in first place in a round-robin doubles tournament.
It was the first time the brothers had played together competitively as a doubles team, and Skye said they had their sights set on winning the tournament from the moment it started.
“I honestly didn’t know what to expect, but this is good,” Skye said.
At 25 years old, Skye is two years older than Kyle. Both were willing to admit that the younger brother had the best tennis skills.
“I was actually trained,” Kyle said. “I had some coaching. I feel like if we both had the same coach for a little bit we’d be neck and neck.”
Both players were able to show off their skills throughout the tournament on the way to posting an undefeated 4-0 record. Their parents, Craig and Felicia, both of whom grew up in Pembroke, were on hand to watch.
“It’s always good to come home for Lumbee Homecoming, especially on the 50th anniversary,” Craig said. “We definitely wanted to get in to see that.”
Other teams participating in the tournament included second-place finishers Ronald and Cynthia Hunt, third-place finishers Greg and Trevor Harris, fourth-place finishers Giovanni Selles and Wyvis Oxendine and fifth-place finishers Kelsey Hunt and Kori Brooks.
Each participant was awarded a first-place medal at the end of the event. On top of that, the Wilkins brothers also walked away knowing what they need to work on for when they team up in future tournaments.
“I think we need to work on some communication,” Kyle said with a smile.
“We don’t talk at all,” Skye said. “We try to read each other’s mind. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.”
The Lumbee Games come to an end with a 3-on-3 basketball tournament on Friday at the Jones Center on the campus of The University of North Carolina at Pembroke. Registration starts at 9 a.m. and games begin at 10 a.m.
Reach Brandon Tester at 910-816-1989 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @BrandonTester.