SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — A group of almost 40 pickleball players is making its way south on a tour from Minnesota down to Florida. The first stop was at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls Monday morning.

Pickleball continues to gain popularity across the country, so much so that a group out of the New London-Spicer, Minnesota area planned an eight-day “Southern Pickleballistic Tour.”

“Rick Swenson, who is the tour director, and myself decided let’s do a trip. Visit some of different cities throughout the country and play pickleball, which we all love,” bus driver Jay Gravley said.

Sioux Falls is their first stop on the tour as they make their way down to Florida, and then next Monday they’ll fly back to Minnesota.

“We have lots of tournaments in New London-Spicer in the summer time, and we have an email list of about 650 people that we emailed out trying to publicize. And we thought at first, well we’re not going to get anybody, and all of a sudden, here we are, 37 people,” tour director Rick Swenson.

Swenson has been playing pickleball for 20 years and teaches new people how to play as part of a community education program in Minnesota. They started planning for this trip in the fall.

“We’re going to go see a show at Branson. We’re going on a boat cruise in New Orleans, and so there’s other things besides pickleball,” Swenson said.

After Sioux Falls, the group is headed to Kansas City.