Pickleball Rising license plate, designed by Laramie Studio in Seattle (Seattle Metro Pickleball Association)

Pickleball Rising license plate, designed by Laramie Studio in Seattle (Seattle Metro Pickleball Association)

Washington pickleball fans may may soon have special license plate

Enthusiasts are teaming up on a bill for a special plate. Proceeds would build and maintain courts.

  • By Jerry Cornfield jcornfield@soundpublishing.com
  • Thursday, January 19, 2023 3:36pm
  • NorthwestSports

OLYMPIA — Pickleball may soon be celebrated on motor vehicles across the state.

Sen. John Lovick, D-Mill Creek, has introduced a bill to create a special license plate recognizing Washington’s official state sport, a title bestowed upon pickleball under a 2022 law. Lovick authored that one too.

“It’s a great idea. It’s such a red-hot sport,” he said. “Everybody is playing pickleball.”

Those behind the effort that produced last year’s law are the driving force behind this year’s pursuit.

“We are people on a mission,” said Kate Van Gent of Mill Creek, a director of the Seattle Metro Pickleball Association.

The display of pickleball on license plates throughout Washington will be a great way to help grow the sport and attract the attention needed to build more pickleball facilities, she said.

Washington now offers 44 special license plates recognizing the military, sports teams, colleges, parks, firefighters, farmers, elk, orcas, lighthouses, the state flower, square dancers and wine.

Senate Bill 5333 would authorize a plate recognizing the state sport. Proceeds from sales would go into a trust account managed by the Seattle Metro Pickleball Association and used to build and maintain courts dedicated to pickleball.

Small sums could go to cities and counties to use for repairing existing public courts, Van Gent said. There’s also a larger goal of constructing a regional facility in Puget Sound with a couple dozen courts where major tournaments can be held, she said.

The association “wants to show the community that pickleball is here to stay,” she said.

There is a process to get a special plate.

You need a sponsoring organization. It can be a nonprofit, a professional sports team or a government agency. You need to collect enough signatures to show that at least 3,500 plates will be purchased. You must provide a mock-up for the plate, draw up a marketing plan on how to spend sale proceeds and pay a $6,300 start-up fee to the Department of Licensing.

Association members did it all in a handful of months.

Van Gent recounted first learning of the idea from another director, Amy Greger, when they met for coffee at a cafe in Manson near Lake Chelan, where a pickleball tournament was taking place. That was April 30.

The idea received the board’s backing in May and they started working on it full bore in August. The association launched a signature drive Sept. 10, during Pickleball Night at a Seattle Mariners game. By December, they had garnered 3,855 signatures, she said.

Association leaders enlisted the help of four designers who came up with eight possible plate designs. The group conducted a poll and one entitled Pickleball Rising emerged as the clear favorite.

Jason Laramie, of Seattle, came up with the design. Inspired by the ferry ride from Bainbridge Island, the birthplace of pickleball, the view is towards the east. A pickleball rises like the sun over the waters of the Puget Sound and Mount Rainier. There are two pickleball paddles on the left side.

The group submitted all its materials to the Department of Licensing last week. The focus now is on the bill, which is in the Senate Transportation Committee.

It will receive a hearing, said Sen. Marko Liias, D-Everett, the committee chair and a co-sponsor.

The 105-day session is slated to end April 23.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@kentreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.kentreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in Sports

t
Arizona’s NHL rookie Guenther assigned to Kent-based Thunderbirds

WHL team loads up on talent; 10 players taken in NHL Draft; Guenther 9th overall pick in 2021

t
Ex-Kentwood star Courtney Vandersloot to play for New York Liberty

Point guard leaves Chicago Sky; will join former Storm star Breanna Stewart in New York

t
Kent Parks staff seeks halt to bad behavior at youth basketball games

Email sent from city after coaches, parents verbally abuse officials, players

t
Emerald Downs in Auburn releases 2023 stakes schedule

Purses worth $1.24 million scheduled for 23 featured races; season runs May 6 to Sept. 17

Kentridge freshman Jayla Brown takes the ball down the floor on a fast break. Photos by Ben Ray/Sound Publishing
Basketball: Kentridge girls fall to Decatur in middle of playoff race

Kentridge High School lost just its second North Puget Sound League (NPSL)… Continue reading

t
Gonzaga women’s basketball to honor ex-Kentwood star Vandersloot

WNBA player to have Gonzaga jersey retired and hung at McCarthey Athletic Center in Spokane

Kentridge senior Dominic Randhawa plays tight defense on a Federal Way player. Photo Credit: Dee Torres
Federal Way drops Kentridge boys in heavyweight bout

Eagles pull away in second quarter en route to 76-62 victory

t
King Showcase in Kent to feature state-ranked high school basketball teams

8-game boys and girls tournament Jan. 16 at ShoWare Center includes Kentridge boys against Mount Si

t
Thunderbirds’ Ratzlaff chosen WHL Goaltender of the Month

Ratzlaff compiles 8-0-0-1 record in December for Kent-based team ranked No. 1 in the CHL

Chargers sophomore Jamari Harris drives to the basket. Photos by Ben Ray/Sound Publishing
Basketball: Kentridge Chargers lead NPSL standings so far

In a battle of the ridge lines, Kentridge emerged victorious Dec. 22… Continue reading