Pickleball Becoming New Pasttime At RV Resorts
At RV parks and resorts across the Sunbelt, empty nesters and retirees are taking up pickleball, an easy-to-learn, senior-friendly sport that involves hitting a ball over a net but on a court that is smaller than a tennis court and doesn’t require nearly as much running.
“Pickleball is amazingly popular,” said Vickie Jepperson, manager of Pueblo El Mirage RV & Golf Resort in El Mirage, Arizona. “In all of my years working in the RV resort business, I’ve never seen a sport, other than golf, that is this popular.”
RV parks and resorts in Arizona and across the Sunbelt are converting some of their tennis courts into pickleball courts and building new courts to accommodate the rapidly increasing numbers of enthusiasts, said Jo Ann Mickelson, executive director of the Arizona Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds.
“We put in our first two pickleball courts in 2011. Then we added two more in 2013. And this summer we’re putting in two more,” said Cherie Suddarth, manager of the 754-site Gold Canyon RV and Golf Resort in Gold Canyon, Arizona.
Demand for pickleball courts has become so intense that RV parks and resorts that don’t have pickleball are losing snowbird business to other parks that do.
Pueblo El Mirage RV & Golf Resort installed its first two courts six years ago. But so many snowbirds took an interest in the game that lines started to develop and the resort ended up losing some of its winter residents to other parks that had more pickleball courts, Ms. Jepperson said. The resort responded by adding 16 pickleball courts, which were completed two years ago. The 1,284-site resort recently hosted the Grand Canyon State Games, the third-largest pickleball tournament in the world.
Palm Creek Golf & RV Resort in Casa Grande, Arizona, recently hosted a pair of tournaments, one of them an open tourney that drew hundreds of pickleball enthusiasts. “We have had several people come in RVs for the tournament and then come back to stay with us during the following winter season,” said Wendell Johnson, general manager. “We also have had many non-RVers come for the tournament and later rent or buy a home. Our 24 pickleball courts have been a great marketing tool for Palm Creek.”
Pickleball isn’t just popular with snowbirds, but with people of all ages. It’s an easy game to learn, so it’s a sport that anyone can pick up quickly.
Following is a sampling of FMCA commercial campgrounds in Arizona that have pickleball courts (for a complete list of FMCA commercial member campgrounds, see the RV Marketplace in the January 2014 issue of FMC or online at FMCA.com):
- Fortuna de Oro RV Resort, C12689; Yuma; (928) 342-5051
- Good Life RV Resort, C10190; Mesa; (480) 832-4990
- La Hacienda RV Resort, C10160; Mesa; (480) 964-5058
- Rincon Country RV Resorts, C2739; Tucson; (520) 294-5608
- Sun Life RV Resort, C11856; Mesa; (481) 981-9500
Thor To Expand Motorhome Production
Thor Industries Inc. announced that it has agreed to purchase a 220,000-square-foot facility located in Elkhart, Indiana, that formerly was used to produce Monaco towable recreation vehicles. The additional production capacity is expected to meet continued strong demand for motorhomes manufactured by the company’s Thor Motor Coach subsidiary.
Thor Motor Coach officials plan to begin production in the new facility during the second half of the company’s fiscal year. On February 4, 2014, Thor announced that the sales of its motorized RVs increased by 43.8 percent to $339.3 million during the first six months ending January 31, 2014.
“We are pleased to once again have the opportunity to expand our motorized operations in Elkhart County,” said Bob Martin, Thor president and CEO. “With the recovery of the motorized RV market gaining strength over the past year, we have pursued opportunistic expansion of our motorized production capacity, first with the acquisition of the Wakarusa [Indiana] complex and now with this plant on the south side of Elkhart. We view this expansion as an important step to meet both our immediate production needs and long-term strategic goals for our motorized business.”
For more information about Thor Motor Coach, call (800) 860-5658 or visit www.thormotorcoach.com.
Progressive Dynamics Celebrates 50 Years
Progressive Dynamics Inc., a privately owned corporation based in Marshall, Michigan, is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2014. The company was the first to develop a modern converter for the RV industry and now manufactures power centers, power conversion, and battery management solutions for the RV, specialty, and marine industries. Some of Progressive Dynamics’ power converters feature the company’s patented Charge Wizard four-stage system with four modes to safely charge and maintain the battery.
Progressive Dynamics’ products are manufactured, assembled, tested, warranted, and serviced in the United States.
For more information, contact Progressive Dynamics at (269) 781-4241 or www.progressivedyn.com.