City’s ‘Fall Brawl’ pickleball tournament attracts 700 players

ST. GEORGE — The city’s largest-ever pickleball tournament has attracted more than 700 players from all over the country, organizers said.

According to tournament director Wayne Bullock, some 1,300 matches were scheduled to be played this week during the Sports and Recreation department’s annual “St. George Pickleball Fall Brawl,” which started Tuesday and concludes Saturday at the Little Valley Pickleball Complex.

The city’s 2017 “St. George Pickleball Fall Brawl” tournament, St. George, Utah, Oct. 13, 2017 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

“We are absolutely maxed out,” Bullock said. “We’re here from 8 o’clock in the morning until 10 at night.”

Bullock, who is the city’s head tennis and pickleball pro, said about 56 percent of the tournament’s registered players came from outside of Utah, with a few even coming from Canada. Slightly more than half of the tournament’s participants are over age 50, he added, noting that the sport is rapidly gaining popularity among younger players.

The game is often described as a cross between table tennis and regular tennis, with players (either singles or doubles) using oversized paddles to hit a ball similar to a wiffle ball back and forth over a net. The first player or team to earn 11 points wins the match, with a two-point margin of victory needed.

Besides bragging rights, bracket winners in the Fall Brawl earn medals and the chance to pose with boxing gloves and belts atop the champions’ podium.

Many of the older players will stay in town until next week’s Huntsman World Senior Games pickleball tournament, which will be staged at the same 24-court complex. Still others are using the tournament as a warm-up event for the upcoming USAPA national championships in Arizona in early November.

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Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.


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