Pickleball to soon be the official state sport of Washington

March 5, 2022 GMT

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Pickleball is one signature away from becoming Washington’s official state sport.

With just a few minutes to spare before a legislative deadline Friday, the state House approved the measure on a bipartisan 83-15 vote. The Spokesman-Review reported that the bill — which passed the state Senate last month — now heads to Gov. Jay Inslee for his signature.

If signed into law, pickleball would join a long list of official state symbols, including: Palouse Falls as the state waterfall, the Columbian mammoth as the state fossil and the marmota olympus, also known as the Olympic marmot, as the state endemic mammal.

According to the USA Pickleball Association, the sport was created on Bainbridge Island in the summer of 1965 by Washington State Rep. Joel Pritchard, who would later go on to represent the state in Congress and serve as Washington’s lieutenant governor.


One day, Pritchard and businessman Bill Bell wanted their families to make use of Pritchard’s badminton court but could not find any badminton equipment. They improvised using some ping-pong paddles, a wiffleball and a modified court. Later, they introduced friend Barney McCallum to their activity, and the three men created rules for the new sport.