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This October, the 31st annual Huntsman World Senior Games will happen once again in St. George, Utah. Last years games brought together competitors from 34 countries around the world who competed in 29 different events (including pickleball). The unofficial count was that a total of 11,000 people competed in the 2016 event.

The dates for the 2017 Huntsman Games are October 9th through October 21st. Competition in the pickleball events takes place starting October 16th and runs through October 21st with no makeup dates scheduled.

The history of the Huntsman World Senior Games dates back to 1987 when it was known as the World Senior Games, an international sports competition for seniors. Since it started, the games have been open to all men or women meeting the age requirement. The initial age was 55 years but was lowered to 50 years in the second year to encourage more athletes to become involved in a personal fitness program or team sport.

The games are also known to promote health by providing screenings for cancer - breast and prostate, as well as other health threats such as glaucoma, diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol and bone density.

The games are really known as the Senior Olympics due to the large number of countries participating. Top three finishers receive Gold, Silver and Bronze medals and the events range from Archery and Horseshoes, to Badminton and Shuffleboard and of course, pickleball.

For the 2017 games, Pickleball competition gets going on October 16th. Events included are Singles, Doubles, Mixed Doubles and Skill Level Doubles. Contestants are slotted into 5-year age brackets starting with 50+ all the way up to 100+. Tournament rules say that registration is limited to the first 500+ Pickleball players so participants are asked to register early. Registration for the 2017 Huntsman World Senior Games begins as early as February 28th and will extend until the September 1st deadline.

For players entering skill level events, they are required to enter their appropriate skill level on their registration form. For those needing to determine their skill level they can check the USA Pickleball Association website or review the rating chart provided on the Huntsman World Senior Games site.

This event is one of the biggest for competitive pickleball players since it brings in players from all around the world. Players will have a chance to test their skills in singles, doubles or mixed events with a chance to show their skills, ability and teamwork and hopefully take home a medal in this highly prestigious event.

February 17, 2017 — Chase Leavitt