2003 was the first year that pickleball joined in at Huntsman World Senior Games (HWSG) in St. George, UT. The Games are held for two weeks yearly in St. George and this year, 2018, the event welcomed 11,033 total athletes, a number that rivals the number of competitors at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
The Huntsman World Senior Games is the largest annual multi-sport event in the world for athletes age 50 and better.
This was my third year attending, and I love it. Besides the great tournament venues, the people and beautiful scenery, they have the coolest outdoor theatre – Tuacahn Amphitheater – which seats 2,000 with a stage background of the natural red rocks surroundings. You gotta go to at least one show and experience it.
At HWSG there are 30 sports to choose from, surely you (and your spouse) could find one or two to try. For example, 213 volleyball teams were competing around the county, while nearly 800 pickleball players enjoyed the sport that the Huntsman World Senior Games helped put on the map. As always, softball reigned as the biggest sport in the annual event, and this year 349 teams swung it out.
The pickleball tournament was held over six days at two fantastic venues: Little Valley Pickleball Complex and SunRiver Pickleball Courts.
These 2018 Games hosted athletes from 32 different nations, including three for the first time — St. Kitts and Nevis, Belgium, and Turkey. These new countries bring the grand total of nations represented at the Games over the past 32 years to 80, which is incredible!
Putting on an event of this magnitude takes many, many hands. Nearly 3,000 volunteers help with the event, assisting with everything from welcome bag-assembly to refreshment-distribution to score-keeping and many other tasks.
Another interesting thing to note is that the economic impact on the area is excellent. With so many people, many of whom extend their stay, filling up local hotels and restaurants, the Games estimate that the direct economic impact on the community is over $17.2 million.
It is truly a great city and tournament to put on your calendar of FUN pickleball events—mark your calendar for next year: October 7-19, 2019.
Want more inspiration from pickleball in Huntsman World Senior Games? CHECK OUT THIS VIDEO
Here’s the link to the Games recap in the local newspaper.