Pickleball Magazine 2-6 - Page 24

U S A PA N AT I O N A LS Double Stu USAPA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS DOUBLES THE SIZE, DOUBLES THE FUN BY MARK BERTON I f you attended the USAPA National Championships last year, you would have been impressed with the 744 registered participants. If you attended this year, you would have been awestruck by the 1,334 registered participants playing for over $25,000 in prize money. It doesn’t take a back-of-the-napkin calculation to know that this was the USAPA’s largest tournament in the history of the Nationals. That growth was reflected in Casa Grande, Arizona, from November 4-12, creating good problems like needing to recruit nearby Robson Ranch’s courts to augment the 32 courts in play at the Palm Creek Golf and RV Resort, which hosted the event. While much of the country was dealing with the first parries of winter weather making its way through the northern states, Casa Grande couldn’t have delivered more perfect weather for pickleball. For the entire nine-day event, participants enjoyed 85-degree, low-humidity days filled with Arizona sunshine. Under those clear skies, and in front of a soon-to-be national audience, spectators saw 22 the best pickleball competition ever brought together in one event. The week kicked off with 130 age/skill division events from November 4-8. Gold, silver and bronze medals were awarded to the top three finishers in Men’s Singles (28 events), Men’s Doubles (29), Mixed Doubles (32), Women’s Singles (20) and Women’s Doubles (21). The age/skill events were the reason that most players came to Casa Grande to compete; however, the week- ending Open events drew the largest crowds, television coverage and thousands of spectators anxious to see the top players going head-to-head. From Friday through Sunday, the Open divisions showcased their skills at Palm Creek. All of the best players in the world assembled to compete for the USAPA Open National title and $25,000 in prize money. Thousands of spectators enjoyed true stadium-style seating this year to watch competitors from around the globe as they converged in the American Southwest. And the rest of the country will be able to watch two hours of highlights from this year's Open and Senior Open matches TO SUBSCRIBE CALL 888.308.3720 OR GO TO THEPICKLEBALLMAG.COM