Fastest Growing Sport in the US is Thriving in Colorado Springs

Episode 8 – Joe Johnson

In this episode of the Wake Up Colorado Podcast, our guest is Joe Johnson President of PPPA (Pikes Peak Pickleball Association). In 2016, Joe discovered pickleball while on a biking activity with his wife where pickleball players invited them to play. Joe is now in his second term as President of the Pikes Peak Pickleball Association and shares all about his organization, pickleball, and how Covid affected the sport.

Standout Quotes:

  • “Everyone knows me, but I don’t know all my members.” – Joe
  • “The game is easy for beginners to learn and much easier than tennis.” – Joe
  • “People think it’s a sport for seniors or older people.” – Joe
  • “With our relationship with the city, they were actually locking them and unlocking them for us. Now, it’s safe enough down here that we basically don’t lock them anymore.” – Joe
  • “The nighttime is a totally different kind of crowd because it’s the people who have to work, and it’s really electric at night under the lights. That’s actually the time I prefer to play” – Joe
  • “People were still so desperate to play. They were hopping 12-foot fences to get on the court.” – Joe
  • “All are welcome to learn and enjoy this great sport. The more people from all walks of life that we include, the better we all become.” – Joe

Key Takeaways:

  • Pickleball combines many elements of tennis, badminton, and ping pong.
  • Pickleball is played both indoors and outdoors on a badminton size court and a slightly modified tennis net. It’s played with a paddle and a plastic ball with holes.
  • Joe started playing when he and his wife were riding mountain bikes at Monument Valley Park in 2016. They were invited to play by some players, and he has been playing ever since.
  • As President of PPPA, Joe directs the overall activities of the organization in accordance with their bylaws and implemented policies.
  • Pickleball is deemed as the fastest-growing sport in America. It’s also spreading around the world now.
  • Free lessons on the sport will start in early May at Wasson High School.
  • PPPA is the only club that is doing leagues.
  • The partnership PPPA shares with Colorado Springs park and recreation has enabled them to build two great pickleball venues.
  • Pickleball is not yet an Olympic sport, but there is a lot of advocation for it.
  • PPPA is very active on social media. Their reach is nationwide, and they post tournaments for other locations and organizations.
  • People can play Pickleball at Pike Peaks till 10 PM at night.
  • When PPPA uses facilities, they give back to the organizations that help them. The money goes into the fund that helps keep the courts up.
  • Pickleball is very inexpensive to play. All you need is a paddle and a few balls.
  • Consider giving back to the community. It’s very rewarding.

Episode Timeline:

[00:07] Meet today’s guest “Joe Johnson,” President of the Pikes Peak Pickleball Association

[1:45] What is Pickleball?

[4:27] What are your responsibilities as President of PPPA and the challenges you face?

[7:30] Do you have any kids joining in leagues?

[8:00] What is a common misconception about the sport?

[8:51] What kind of education and training programs are offered?

[11:28] How many leagues are there in Colorado?

[11:50] What do you think the impact of pickleball has been on the community?

[13:20] Is Pickleball an Olympic sport?

[13:39] Do you see pickleball expanding within the Pikes Peak region?

[16:45] Are there other tournaments that your group participates in?

[18:23] What is “Issue One,” and why is it important to PPPA?

[21:58] How has COVID impacted your organization?

[23:08] Are there other fundraising activities that you guys are working on?

[24:13] What does the quote “Inclusion elevates all” mean to you?

[26:03] Are the free lessons still open?

[27:41] What is your favorite hidden gem in Colorado?

[29:08] What’s advice would you give to someone who’s relocating to Colorado?

[29:46] Is there anything else that you want to share that we didn’t talk about?

[30:24] Where can people find you and connect with you?

Learn more about Joe Johnson and the Pikes Peak Pickleball Association at:

Website: https://www.pikespeakpickleball.com/

Email: joejohnson757@yahoo.com

Phone: 757-739-6065

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