Pickapalooza in the park

Fifth annual pickleball tournament hits McDonough park

More stories from Hayley Jacobson


Photo by Taylor Wilkinson

Pickleball teammates prepare to play for Pickapolooza.

The 5th annual pickleball tournament in McDonough Park started Saturday with what officials said was a good turnout. 

Mike Peterson, facilities chairman and court master for the tournament, said this was the biggest tournament yet.

Peterson went on to say that when the tournament first started five years ago, all the Chippewa Valley Pickleball Club had was a few tennis courts and a handful of players. Now, 12 pickleball courts are open for daily use when the weather is nice. 

Peterson said this year’s tournament was their first ever two-day tournament. With the threat of rain on Sunday, Peterson said they were worried. However, with the lack of rain Sunday, the tournament went on in full swing. 

According to USAPA the United States of America Pickleball Association 2019 commemorates the 54th anniversary of pickleball’s creation. It is quickly growing a following.

“It’s an up and coming sport,” Peterson said. “It’s one of the fastest growing sports nationally.”

Pickleball may be one of the fastest growing sports in the United States, but others are getting in on it too. According to USAPA, every Canadian province has a pickleball venue to play at. 

With national competitions in Florida and Arizona, the sport is quickly growing among professional athletes. Several of which were at the competition this past weekend. 

In the winter, players can find indoor spaces for the sport, as there are a variety of different gyms and fitness centers that have pickleball courts.  

The pickleball courts at McDonough Park are open for use every day during the year as long as the weather allows. Anyone is allowed on the courts and, in fact, are encouraged to play. 

The pickleball club of Chippewa Valley allows non-members to rent out pickleball rackets and balls to play on any of their twelve courts, Peterson said. And they are always looking to add members. 

When the club started out, it had only twenty players, but now it has just under 1,200 supporters, Peterson said. 

“It’s a fairly inexpensive sport compared to some others” Ron Doering, the tournament director, said in an interview. “We don’t have any rental fees for the courts and we do rent out equipment to anyone who wants to play.”

Their players’ ages range from six to 80 years old, Doering said. 

Doering has been playing pickleball for six years, and was taught by two 75-year-old mentors, he said. 

The team offers beginner lessons, equipment rental and new courts to practice on. 

“Just come and show up.” Doering said. 

For more information about court rentals and who to contact, the Chippewa Valley Pickleball Club can be found at their website, and on Facebook under Eau Claire Pickleball. 

Jacobson can be reached at [email protected]