They call it the fastest growing sport in North America and this weekend pickleball was front and center in Regina. The Queen City is this year’s host for the Saskatchewan Pickleball Provincial Championships.
Pickleball players from far and wide descended in Regina to strut their stuff.
The three-day event will have over 260 players taking the court, which makes it the largest ever player pool in Saskatchewan pickleball history.
Hosted by the the Queen City Pickleball Hub, the tournament pits various competitors against each other in different age groups and skill categories.
The age groups are set at 10-49, 50-59 and 60 and above.
Friday saw the singles action go down. Saturday involved men’s and women’s doubles. Sunday is for mixed doubles.
Tournament director Rick Beattie says the sport has had a huge boom over the last 3-4 years with Regina in the thick of it.
“Everyday there is somebody new coming in to try the sport. Everybody just loves the sport and they cant wait to get back out here. These courts that you see are totally full for this tournament, that is a normal day here as well,” said Beattie.
The tournament drew competitors from all across Saskatchewan as well as other provinces because entries aren’t limited to Saskatchewan residents.
One of those was 71 year old Dave Goertzen who made the six-hour drive from Winkler, Manitoba.
“Pickleball is so widespread. Every weekend there is probably 30 for 40 tournaments all over North America. There are huge chances to play,” said the Manitoba native.
Goertzen has also played tournaments in Alberta and Ontario — even one in Thailand.
He says five years ago he got hooked on the sport, which is played on a court similar to badminton.
The rules are similar to tennis. It’s played with a plastic ball and a paddle with games going up to 11.
Ward 4 city councillor, Lori Bresciani was also on hand and playing in the tournament. She got hooked on the sport about four years ago.
“It has just taken off immensely. When you go to a facility to play if it’s outdoor or indoor its packed. There is not enough courts. We’re seeing the demand here in the city and it is something we have to move forward with,” said the councillor.
The Queen City Pickleball Hub has seen 1,400 different people playing the sport since last October. The hub offers introductory lessons for any interested players.
For Goertzen it still all comes down to one thing.
“We’ve won some games this weekend and lost some games but it’s still fun, no matter what it’s fun.”