Lloyd and Karen Webster have been playing pickleball since they moved to SunRiver in 2013. Karen discovered Pickleball by accident while they were living in the Seattle area. She had finished an exercise class and watched some older snowbirds playing Pickleball. She thought, “I used to be a pretty good racquetball player, and these guys look pretty old, I think I can go in there and beat them.”
After a couple of games, she realized these snowbirds were pretty darn good. Karen went home and ordered two PB paddles from Pro Lite. They kept the paddles until they moved to SG. “We wanted an activity that would get us outdoors and keep us active,” Lloyd said. “Pickleball is the perfect sport.”
Two years from retirement, Lloyd and Karen started searching for somewhere with better weather, less traffic, and a lower cost of living. Somewhere with a smaller town feel than Seattle.
Like many SunRiver residents, Lloyd and Karen’s journey to SunRiver and Saint George began through careful analysis; Karen had a U.S. atlas spread out on the kitchen table assessing the Las Vegas, Henderson, and Summerlin areas.
Lloyd flippantly pointed to a spot on the map and said, “This is where we are going, right there.” Under his finger – Saint George, Utah. Until Lloyd pointed at the map, neither of them had ever heard of Saint George.
That started Karen’s research. She asked people if they had ever heard of Saint George. Everybody she asked about it knew somebody who lived there and loved it.
“I told Lloyd,” Karen said, “you are on to something, we need to go check it out.” So, with one year until retirement, they did.
Their first trip down was in February, on their anniversary. “The weather was absolutely wonderful,” Karen said. They checked out Saint George with a realtor, and looked at potential locations outside SunRiver and homes for sale around the city.
The thought of moving to the desert was an adjustment. “I have to admit,” Lloyd said, “I love the Pacific Northwest because of all the greenery up there. I wasn’t sure I could handle the desert. But once we got down here, I realized it’s just a different beauty, and I really came to appreciate the beauty of the desert.”
As they drove around on their first trip to Saint George, they saw billboards for SunRiver. Lloyd was skeptical. “I thought it was for old people, and I certainly wasn’t in that category.” For the sake of research, they decided to include a visit to SunRiver.
They liked all the amenities, and as they drove through SunRiver, “You could see the camaraderie,” Karen said. “You could see people out walking and talking. It seemed like a real community atmosphere.”
On their second trip to Saint George, they took advantage of SunRiver’s 2 day Discovery Villa Stay (learn more)– specifically to conduct further research of the community.
They came for one more visit and decided to move to SunRiver. They found a rental home, and moved in. While living there, it only took two weeks to find their lot, put money down, and start building their new home.
Even though they were renting, Lloyd and Karen considered themselves full-time residents and got involved in everything. They hadn’t been playing Pickleball, but they played racquetball in Seattle and knew they liked that type of sport, and they had those two pickleball paddles.
One important aspect for Lloyd and Karen’s retirement was to have an active outdoor lifestyle. With the state and the national parks so close, and the activities at SunRiver, they are outside playing pickleball year-round four to five days a week for three to four hours a day.
Lloyd wrote a couple of articles on the history of pickleball for the Bucketlist Living magazine. When he came in to look at the magazine layout the SunRiver team asked if he and Karen would be interested in being in the commercial. They said, yes.
“The most frequent comment we hear from friends who have seen the commercial is we’re so glad they finally got some real SunRiver residents instead of actors to do the ad.” Karen said.
Lloyd, along with several other volunteers, coaches pickleball and conducts beginner classes. “It’s fun to see people get hooked on it like we have.” He recommends that you try out pickleball, even if you have no experience with other sports. “It’s a sport all skill levels can enjoy,” Lloyd said. “You are out in the fresh air, having a good time, and you meet a lot of really great people.”
“The one thing we found,” Karen said, “was that nobody didn’t like it here in SunRiver, nobody felt like it wasn’t the right fit for them. Still today, we don’t know of anybody living here who doesn’t just love it and feel really fortunate to have found it.”