RIPPEY, Iowa – The small town of Rippey, Iowa is getting in on one of the fastest growing sports in America – pickleball. On Sunday, October 1, 2023 at 4pm, the brand new Rippey pickleball court will be officially opened at Rippey City Park, located at 100 Main Street.
The popularity of pickleball has absolutely exploded in recent years. According to the USA Pickleball Association (USAPA), there were approximately 5.2 million pickleball players in the U.S. in 2021, up almost 39% from 3.75 million players just two years earlier in 2019. The sport has grown by leaps and bounds, especially among seniors, but people of all ages are picking up paddles and joining the pickleball craze.
So what exactly is pickleball? It’s a fun, social paddle sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton, and table tennis. It’s played on a badminton-sized court with a slightly modified tennis net, and players use solid paddles to volley a plastic, perforated ball over the net. The game can be played in singles or doubles.
The great thing about pickleball is that it’s easy to learn but can be challenging to master. The rules are simple, and the court is small enough that beginners can quickly pick up the basics. But finesse shots like dinks take practice to perfect. The game requires quick reflexes and good hand-eye coordination. This combination of simplicity and complexity is part of what makes pickleball so addicting for lifelong players.
The new Rippey pickleball court would not have been possible without generous donations from the Greene County Community Foundation and individuals in the Rippey community. Major donors include Roger and Coleen Thompson Norgren, who donated two benches next to the court to honor their parents. Local contractors like Jontz Painting of Woodward, Juavier Construction, and Stokley Lumber of Perry also pitched in. The city of Rippey approved refurbishing the old concrete skating rink for conversion to a pickleball court, and funds from the Greene County Community Foundation grant and Friends of Rippey covered project costs.
At the opening ceremony on October 1st, Rippey pickleball advocate Jan Bojikes will give an overview of the sport and lead a demonstration game to show newcomers the ropes. The president of the Greene County Community Foundation, Karen Shannon, will also be in attendance and acknowledged for the many Rippey projects funded by the foundation.
Rippey residents hope the new pickleball court will provide fun and exercise for locals of all ages. The low-impact sport is easy on joints, making it accessible for seniors and others who can’t handle higher impact sports. And the social nature of pickleball draws players together, stimulating both physical activity and community connection.
As the pickleball trend continues gaining momentum, more and more Iowa towns may follow Rippey’s lead. Pickleball provides an inexpensive way to stay active that nearly anyone can enjoy. The sport’s popularity is likely to keep spreading as more people discover the appeal of this addictive paddle game.
So if you find yourself near Rippey, Iowa on October 1st, stop by the grand opening of the town’s new pickleball court. It’s sure to be a day of fun and festivities for this small Iowa town. And who knows – you may just get hooked on pickleball yourself!