Pickleball grows in popularity in the Four-States

Carl Junction Community Center sees interest in Pickleball rise
Pickleball at Carl Junction Community Center.

CARL JUNCTION, Mo. – According to the USA Pickleball association there are 3.3 Million Pickleball players in United States.

The Carl Junction Community Center started offering Pickleball a year ago a few days a week, but since then it has gained popularity.

“We kept a little bit of it opened during the close down and everything, where we were 4-5 people only were able to come out and play. Since that’s been taken off there’s been a huge up-take,” says Carl Junction City Administrator, Steve Lawver.

The community center has Pickleball seven days a week, with three courts going at a time.

Dean Rusk of Neosho has been playing the sport for two years. Rusk enjoys competition surrounding Pickleball.

“We play tournaments sometimes. They have tournaments all over the United States. There’s some good ranked players in this area,” says Rusk.

There are nearly 8,000 known places to play the sport across the nation, which can come in handy for Pickleball enthusiast like Rusk.

“I like to hike and travel around the county. And no matter where I go I can find a pickleball game. And it’s a good way to meet people and find out what’s in the area,” adds Rusk.

Jami Stickland picked up the sport in November through a friend and was instantly hooked.

“I play pretty much everyday — twice a day. I love it. You get a great exercise. All the people that play here are awesome and fabulous,” says Strickland.

So if you are looking for a new recreational sport to try, people of all ages and all skill levels can pick up a paddle and play.

“You can just show up and anyone is willing to teach you how to play and let you play on their team,” adds Strickland.

Carl Junction Community Center is getting ready to finish eight outdoor courts and helping Briarbrook complete six outdoor courts. Landreth Park in Joplin also has outdoor Pickleball courts.