Your Town Stevens Point: A sport that continues to grow in popularity

The sport of pickleball is the fastest growing sport in the U.S. and it’s also gaining more popularity in Your Town Stevens Point.
Published: Jun. 15, 2022 at 12:09 AM CDT
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STEVENS POINT, Wis. (WSAW) - The sport of pickleball is the fastest growing sport in the U.S. and it’s also gaining more popularity in Your Town Stevens Point. An area group, the Heart of Wisconsin Pickleball Association, continues to thrive more and more each year.

For pickleball players in Stevens Point, the sport isn’t just a game to them, it’s a way of life.

“I’m here almost like every day,” player Ruth Bouwer said.

Bouwer started playing just two years ago and she’s has been hooked ever since.

“Even during the winter, we’ll be playing indoors, and I’ll definitely be going to that,” Bouwer said.

Your Town Stevens Point

Stevens Point pickleballers play at the new Mead Park courts everyday starting at 9 a.m. Pickleball is the fastest growing sport nationwide, with nearly five million players, almost double the amount two years ago. It’s catching on like wildfire in Stevens Point, no matter the age.

“It may seem like an older person sport, but yeah it definitely gets you moving, most of these guys can move a lot faster than I can so it definitely gets your exercise in,” Bouwer said.

The fastest growing age group in the U.S. is now 7 to 17-year-olds. The Heart of Wisconsin Pickleball Association began just two years back. They started with a handful of members and now there’s nearly 300 players in the immediate area.

“If you watch people playing pickleball, they have a smile on their face whether they’re winning or losing. They enjoy the sport, they enjoy being outside, getting fresh air, sunshine,” Heart of Wisconsin Pickleball Association Executive Officer Jay Johnson said.

While the sport is exploding, the number of courts is lagging.

“Now, nationally there are 126 players per court, so a severe shortage of courts,” Johnson said.

Now the association is advocating to build more courts. They hope to build a complex of 12 in Plover and eventually bring in tournaments. That’ll certainly turn up the heat to the area’s pickleball fever.

“It’s a good central location in Wisconsin, Stevens Point, Plover, right in the middle of the state, couldn’t be a better location,” Johnson said.

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