Novices to national champions, Pickleball Shootout draws 256 players; STGnews Photo Gallery

Southern Utah Pickleball Shootout at the Little Valley Pickleball Complex, St. George, Utah, March 27, 2014 | Photo by Dave Amodt, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – This weekend’s Southern Utah Pickleball Shootout at the Little Valley Pickleball Complex in St. George has drawn 256 players, both local and visiting. Attendance is significantly higher than last year, with 140 registered players.

“This is our second-annual shootout, and we’re excited to see players from all over, come here to Southern Utah and play pickleball,” director Wayne Bullock said.

Rick and Nicole Hobson from Nashville, Tenn. travel across the country playing pickleball. They’re staying in St. George for the weekend, and will also hike and visit Las Vegas.

“It’s a beautiful area,” Nicole Hobson. “It’s a good tournament with a nice variety of people coming in.”

The 12-court complex is a popular venue throughout pickleball season, and hosted the Utah State Pickleball Championships in 2012 and 2013, among other tournaments.

“I love it here. It’s kind of the pickleball hub for Utah,” Erik Gertler of Provo said.

“Pickleball in St. George is up at the top compared to other cities,” Rick Hobson said. “They’re some of the best courts I’ve played on.”

Players ranging from 2.5-level beginners to 5.0-level national champions are organized into mens and womens singles and doubles, and mixed doubles divisions. Medals are awarded to the top three finishers in each category.

The tournament is sponsored by the City of St. George. Play continues through Saturday afternoon.

Click on any photo to enlarge it, then use your left-right arrow keys to cycle through the gallery.

St. George News reporter Alexa Verdugo Morgan contributed to this article.

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