Thirteen players represented Hot Springs Village Pickleball at the Mid-South Regional Pickleball Tournament in Monroe LA the weekend of May 29-31, bringing home a total of 15 medals. Approximately 230 pickleball enthusiasts from the Mid-South Region, which includes Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Tennessee, and augmented by contestants from all over the United States, such as California and Florida, played continuously throughout the three-day event in all levels of Men’s and Women’s Doubles, Mixed Doubles, and Singles.
The annual Mid-South Regional tournament draws high-level pickleball players from many states, and provides a great measuring stick for local players who aspire to national recognition for their skills in the fastest growing sport in the nation. Justin Maloof, full-time employed Executive Director of the USA Pickleball Association, recently released information about the growth of pickleball, in which he claims that there are now over 400,000 active pickleball players in the United States (see the national pickleball website located at usapa.org). Players can find area tournaments in which to play nearly every weekend to satisfy their competitive desires. Hotbeds of pickleball activities may be found in California, Utah, Arizona, and Florida. The large national tournaments require at least twenty to thirty or more courts. One factor that has hampered the emergence of Arkansas tournament action is weather-related limitations on playing an entire tournament in an outdoors setting. Venues to host major tournaments are extremely rare throughout the state.
Hot Springs Village, with the excellent amenities of HSV, the natural setting in the Ouachita mountains and the emergence of national-caliber players, is on the radar to become a true hotbed of pickleball in the central United States. Long-range plans are in the works to either make major improvements to the eight existing courts at the DeSoto Family Recreation area, expanding to at least ten courts; or, as a possibility, build a new pickleball facility altogether. Stalwarts agree that the perfect scenario to developing the “hotbed of Central US” would require a covering over all or part of the courts to allow play in all kinds of weather.
If you would like more information regarding pickleball and the opportunities for great exercise, great fun, and meeting wonderful people, visit the HSV website, hsvpickleball.org. A schedule of playing times, skill levels, and pickleball classes and instruction are provided in detail, plus a lot more goodies.