SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Continuing to carve out a following in the Sioux Falls’ sports scene, the Sioux Falls Area Pickleball organization will host its biggest tournament to date this weekend.
Dedicated members were at the Avera Human Performance Center at 6 a.m. Friday to set up nets and tape lines for a dozen indoor pickleball courts. The Avera Pickleball Classic will be the group’s largest tournament with 161 players from five different states playing on 107 teams in 12 different divisions.
“They keep getting bigger,” Sioux Falls Area Pickleball president Brent Norgaard said.
Pickleball continues to be the fastest growing sport in America, according to Norgaard.
“It is exploding across the country and even right here in Sioux Falls,” Norgaard said, who called the sport a mix between table tennis and tennis. “Any age can play this sport. It’s amazing; we’ll have 8-year-olds all the way up to 88-year-olds playing this sport.”
Following the motto of “fitness, friendship and fun,” pickleball players in Sioux Falls have gone from setting up temporary nets and chalking lines just to play to hosting annual tournaments.
The club became an official organization in 2013 and worked with the Sioux Falls Parks and Rec department to create outdoor pickleball courts at Riverdale Park. Currently, the group has more than 400 members, growing by at least double digits each year.
“This sport is great for fitness,” Norgaard said. “It’s highly addicting. If you come and try it, you’re going to want to keep playing.”
Pickleball player Craig Nelson has been playing for four years and said the sport is “growing like wildfire.” Nelson added it can be a year-round sport played both indoors and outdoors.
“It’s a fun game for all ages,” Nelson said. “It has an easy learning curve.”
In Sioux Falls, outdoor pickleball can be played at Riverdale Park, Laurel Oak Park, Memorial Park and Sherman Park.
Indoor pickleball games have been played at the Sanford Pentagon, Avera Human Performance Center, GreatLIFE Woodlake Athletic Club as well as many other church and school gyms throughout the city.