Powderkeg tournament lures national champions to Howelsen | SteamboatToday.com

Powderkeg tournament lures national champions to Howelsen

Luke Graham

Meghan Barkman bumps the volleyball during the 26th annual Steamboat Powderkeg Volleyball Tournament at the sand courts near Howelsen Hill in Steamboat Springs on Saturday afternoon.

— For Front Range residents Ryan Post and Curtis Griffin, the 26th annual Steamboat Powderkeg Volleyball Tournament allows them a chance to break out of routine.

Post, who sells health insurance in Denver, and Griffin, a fifth-grade teacher in Boulder, say mountain volleyball tournaments like the one this weekend at Howelsen Hill give them a reason to escape the city and head for the hills.

“Boy, we love to get to the mountains,” said Griffin, who also tries to attend tournaments in Vail, Breckenridge and Aspen. “And Steamboat Springs is such a beautiful place to come.”

What was routine was the quality of play from the two former national champions.

Post and Griffin were the No. 1 seed in the Men’s Open division of the Powderkeg Tournament, and after a win Saturday, the duo advanced to today’s semifinals.

The two have played against or with one another for more than 20 years. In 1993, they won a national championship for the University of Colorado’s club team.

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After college, both played professionally, with Griffin playing for five years before looking for another career.

“It was fun playing professionally, but I needed a career change,” he said. “You were traveling 18 out of 22 weekends. It was cool at first, but I could foresee some of the financial problems.”

Years later, the two still relish any opportunities they have to play.

“We jump at the first chance to get out of the city,” said Post, who is originally from Vail. “We try making all the mountain tournaments whether it’s here or the other towns.”

The two were among more than 300 players taking part in the three-day event. The tournament featured 12 divisions and representation from 10 states.

Friday featured the Dinosaur Tournament division finals (combined age of at least 78), featuring live music from Ken Lee. Pool play for most grass and sand divisions was played Saturday. The double-elimination, tournament and finals play will round out the events today. A single-elimination co-ed grass tournament also will be held today.

All of today’s championship games should start at about 4 p.m.

– To reach Luke Graham, call 871-4229

or e-mail lgraham@steamboatpilot.com