Southern Utah is wearing a new fad, and it’s wearing it well. Seniors and sport enthusiasts alike are falling in love with a new activity that is now the fastest growing participant-played sport in America, pickleball.
“It’s so fun to play and it really does keep you in good shape,” Bob Gallihugh told SUN News. “My favorite part is how competitive it can really be.”
Pickleball started as a recognized sport in 2003’s Huntsman Senior Games and has grown into a community involving hundreds of participants, so many, in fact, officials had to turn players down from entering the games.
“We just don’t have enough courts to host all of these players,” Pickleball Director Bob Klarich said. “We could have had nearly 200 more participants in this year’s games.”
The sport is catching on so fast that organizers and venues can’t keep up with the quota, but for long time player Mary Lynn Larson, the growth is welcome. “I have made so many great friends from this sport. I just hope we can get more courts so our community can grow.”
The Senior Games end on the 15th, but the tournament spirit will never die according to players.
“It’s easy to pick up, fun to play and gives you great exercise,” Larson said.