(COLORADO SPRINGS) – Pickleball has been named the fastest-growing sport in America, and Southern Colorado is keeping up with the trend. In the past year alone, new courts have popped up in Pueblo and Colorado Springs, and the existing courts like ones in Cañon City have been revamped after seeing recent increased interest.
When Life Time Fitness Colorado Springs opened their pickleball courts in April 2022, Anne Benner said she barely had anyone to volley with.
“It was easy to get in, and even sometimes it was hard to have enough people to play a game,” said Benner.
Now, Lifetime Colorado Springs has over 800 active pickleball players and has seen over 1200 participants since they opened the courts one year ago.
“The nice thing about pickleball is it’s got a pretty low barrier of entry… All you really need to get started, is a paddle and a ball,” said Mike McGregor, the Lifetime Colorado Springs Pickleball Pro.
In the past year alone, cities have had to keep up with Southern Colorado’s obsession with the fast-paced easy-to-learn sport.
In this year’s State of the City speech, Mayor Nick Gradisar boasted about Pueblo’s eight new trailblazing pickleball courts.
“The old dilapidated tennis courts at Mineral Palace Park have a new life as Pueblo’s first municipal pickleball complex,” Gradisar said during the speech.
Springs Pickleball also opened this past year, becoming the largest indoor pickleball facility in Colorado Springs. Its beginner classes saw great success in which players built a community around.
“It’s a very social game… You’re playing with four people and you’re constantly playing with different people… I’ve got a ton of friends and relationships even out of the court,” said Benner.
Rouse Park in Cañon City has had pickleball courts since 2017, but their newfound pickleball scene helped the recreation district get funding for the park’s latest lighting system revamps.
“The pickleball court did play a role in that because we use that in the language for our grant funding because we wanted to show that it impacted various age groups throughout the community… This [pickleball] was considered more of a senior activity, and now you’re seeing kids getting involved, people in their twenties and thirties getting actively involved in this. So the sport is without question growing,” said Kyle Horne, Cañon City Recreation & Park District, executive director.
Cities are continuing to match that growth. Design plans for the upcoming 70-acre park in Eastern Colorado Springs include 18-20 pickleball courts. Hopefully, they come to fruition because its all pickleball players want now… “We need more pickleball courts!” exclaimed Benner.