New Mexicans drawn to unique sport | KOB 4

New Mexicans drawn to unique sport

Morgan Aguilar
January 23, 2018 08:10 AM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - There is a large, diverse group of athletes in Albuquerque that many don’t even know exists. They are avid, dedicated Pickleball players.


Pickleball is a combination of tennis, badminton and ping pong. It’s gaining popularity across the country, and Albuquerque’s Pickleball Club has tripled just in the past three years.

“When I started about eight years ago there were about 18 people playing pickleball,” said Gary Rutherford, USA Pickleball Association ambassador and President of the ABQ Pickleball Club.

Now, the Albuquerque club has more than 600 members.

“It's just sky rocketed,” said Rutherford. “It's done that nationally too, but in Albuquerque we've gone up dramatically.”

The Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) reports pickleball currently has 2.815 million players in the U.S.

The sport was invented in 1965 by some family members who wanted something the kids and seniors could enjoy playing together.

"It's an easy game to learn, but you can keep learning for a long time,” said Dale Reynolds, Communications Advisor for the ABQ Pickleball Club. “You get better and better."

In 2010, pickleball became a National Senior Games event, and the ABQ Pickleball Club is especially excited that the 2019 games are being held in the Duke City.

“It's going to be an awesome event,” said Reynolds.

Anyone interested in learning how to play pickleball for free can find times and locations all across the metro here:


Morgan Aguilar

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