Pickleball popularity exploding in Tri-Cities - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Pickleball popularity exploding in Tri-Cities

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KENNEWICK, WA - Imagine a game that's a cross between tennis, ping-pong, and badminton but on a smaller court. It's called pickleball and it's considered the fastest growing sport in north America. Of course, our little corner of the world isn't immune.

On any given weekday, the Southridge Sports Complex pickleball courts are packed. 

"Usually we've got 8 to 12, and we're rotating in and out because there's only three courts," said Paul Barcus, a 30+ year veteran of the sport. 

This wasn't always the case. The local pickleball community is just a few years old. 

"The snowbirds actually brought this to us, and it's just grown and grown over the last couple years that I've been involved," said Judy DiPiazza. She's been playing for the last couple years. 

Snowbird-ambassadors, if you will, brought the sport back from Arizona with gusto.

"I mean they have million dollar sports complexes, devoted to pickleball," said DiPiazza.

Here there are a little under 100 active members in the Three Rivers Pickleball club and it's only growing. 

"We could always use more courts. There's getting to be more and more people," said Barcus.

The city of Kennewick is actually working on some new courts. Crews broke ground this week at Lawrence Scott Park. Part of the plans include a few more outdoor pickleball courts. The courts should be ready by mid-June.

Here's a fun fact about pickleball: it was created back in 1965 on Bainbridge Island in Washington. 

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