GRASSROOTS VOLLEYBALL ALIVE AND WELL!
MotherLode Volleyball Classic Celebrates 40th Anniversary!
Despite all the hoopla of the “pro beach volleyball” scenario(s), grassroots beach volleyball is growing in “leaps and bounds”. And, there can be no other great example than that of the Annual MotherLode Volleyball Classic, held every Labor Day Weekend for the last 39 years at one of the least likely locations – Aspen,Colorado.
Long considered one of the top “pro-am events” in the sport, The MotherLode Volleyball Classic is the largest, purely, beach doubles volleyball tournaments in North America; drawing upwards of 600 teams (and their entourages) from all over the United States and Canada to compete in 18 different divisions of play – from lower level “B” competitors-to-seasoned-pros; including men’s and women’s Masters and Seniors divisions and Co-Ed competitors as well.
The MotherLode is but one of many top level, HUGE, grassroots events that take place around the Country, with participants competing in both sand or grass events; or, both: The Pottstown Rumble (Pottstown, PA), The Waupaca Boat Ride (Milwaukee, WI), Susquehanna Smash (Lititz, PA), and the Seaside Open (Seaside, OR.) are other major grassroots tournaments that draw an incredible amount of participants, competing in various forms of the outdoor beach volleyball experience and lifestyle. Not to mention the multitude of sand volleyball complexes around the Country such as the Coconut Beach Sand Complex (Kenner, New Orleans, LA), The Island (Aurora, CO), Charley’s Sand Box (Albuquerque, NM), Wasatch Beach Volleyball (Salt Lake City, UT), and the Hot Shots complex (Rochester, NY) which all cater, primarily, to the recreational player through leagues and special functions; and, also help with the development of competitive players as well. All of these tournament and recreational properties have seen unprecedented growth over the last two years; aided in part by the overall popularity of the sport among juniors players and the creation of a collegiate program by the NCAA — all in the face of a recession.
But, The MotherLode Volleyball Classic is the “Grand Daddy” of them all; and, the second longest consecutive running beach doubles volleyball tournament in the northern hemisphere (only the vaunted Manhattan Beach Open has been running longer). Offering up competition in both sand and grass divisions, The MotherLode has been an initial “proving ground” for many past and current professional beach volleyball players as well as having been considered the “de facto national championships” of grass volleyball for many years (organizers are working with USA Volleyball to make The ‘Lode the official ‘US Open of Grass Volleyball’ beginning in 2013). Also, many ex-pros and Olympians have graced the Main Championship courts; playing in The MotherLode Masters, a masters and seniors division’s championships held prior to the “main draw” competitions.
To help celebrate The ‘Lode’s 40th Anniversary, organizers have invited all of the winners of the men’s and women’s open division winners of the last 39 years back to Aspen for an “old-timers” reception; allowing them to compete, for free, in any division that they would like to play in (with the exception of the men’s and women’s open(s), of course).
The MotherLode may take place in one of the most unlikely locations for a beach volleyball tournament (and, one of the most expensive); but, the City of Aspen has embraced the tourney, building a championship volleyball “arena” at Koch Lumber Park and creating, perhaps, one of the most scenic venues in all of outdoor volleyball. And, the lodging community has taken pains to make the Event affordable for The ‘Lode’s participants. It doesn’t hurt that Aspen has the reputation of being one of the best summer/winter resorts in America as well as being rated #1 in entertainment, food, and drink. The MotherLode is an “adult” event and hundreds of players, and their entourages come not only to celebrate the sport of beach volleyball; but, also, to engage in the “social event of the outdoor volleyball season”.
This year’s MotherLode Volleyball Classic takes place over Labor Day Weekend, August 30-September 3, 2012. For more information: www.MotherLodeVolleyball.com