ST. GEORGE – Look out high school football, there’s another state championship on the sports docket this weekend.
The City of St. George is hosting the Utah State Pickleball Championship Thursday-Saturday at the new facility located at 2149 Horseman Park Drive in Little Valley. And while state championships of other sports may be receiving more attention, the city is expecting more than 200 players from Ogden to St. George at this weekend’s tournament.
“The city wanted to make this big,” said Wayne P. Bullock, city tennis and pickleball programmer. “The last pickleball tournament I did we had probably a total of 78 players. As of now we have 218 players in this tournament. We’ve almost tripled it.”
Players are not expected to have qualified for the championship tournament, but must be at least 12 years old and a Utah resident. Bullock said the idea behind the tournament is to find the best pickleball player in the state.
Participants in each division will compete for certificates to Texas Roadhouse and a chance to have their names inscribed in Utah pickleball lore.
“We’re doing a perpetual trophy,” Bullock said. “The names will go on a plaque and will be posted out at Little Valley for the rest of the state or nation to see.”
The winners will also receive their own personal trophies, shaped in a combination of a pickleball paddle and the state of Utah.
The tournament kicks off today at 5 p.m. with the singles matches, followed by the men’s and women’s doubles matches on Friday starting at 9 a.m. The mixed teams matches wrap up the championship on Saturday morning. The tournament provides players and spectators a chance to see the new pickleball complex in Little Valley and will be the first of its kind after hosting the Huntsman World Senior Games in October.
People who are considering attending the event are encouraged to bring their own chairs because the facility has not yet been equipped with benches.
“Make sure you bring a chair,” Bullock said. “When they built the facility, they didn’t put benches out there because they noticed a lot of pickleball players bring their own. Eventually we will have benches.”
Regardless of whether a spectator is sitting or is standing, those in attendance will be treated to the best pickleball Utah has to offer.
“We’re going to have a lot of good players,” Bullock said. “I’m very excited to do this. The City of St. George is behind this 110 percent. It’s a world-class facility and it’s going to be a world-class event.”
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