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Volleying in the mountains

Annual weekend volleyball tournament starts Friday

— The idea of playing volleyball in the heart of the Rocky Mountains has been the driving force behind the Steamboat Doubles Volleyball tournament for 25 years.

“It’s an awesome location,” said Doug Arritola, tournament director. “It’s a long drive, but a lot of players on the Front Range are looking to get away for a weekend.”

Last year, the Steamboat Springs tournament drew 315 teams playing for titles in 12 divisions ranging from men’s open to women’s B. That number is expected to grow to 350 this year.



“We get a lot of late registrations for this one,” Arritola said. “But the tournament just keeps growing.”

Play will begin Friday in the Dinosaur Division, in which the combined age of both players must exceed 77. The division also handicaps teams based on age, so every team in the field has an opportunity to win.



The pace will pick up Sat-

urday, when play opens in the other divisions at Howelsen Hill and other area parks. The men’s and women’s open divisions will play on the sand courts, and the men’s and women’s A, BB and B divisions will play on the outfield grass on the softball fields at Howelsen Hill.

Play begins at 7:30 a.m. Friday and at 7 a.m. Saturday. Sunday is reserved for the championships matches.

The tournament is run by Volleyball of the Rockies, which took over the event in 1999 at the request of local organizers who wanted to keep it in Steamboat.

Steamboat hosts one of two mountain tournaments the Denver-based group puts on during the summer. It also organizes leagues and other tournaments on the Front Range.

Arritola said the tournament’s reputation across the state has made it one of the most popular summer destinations.

This year, players from Denver, Boulder and Colorado Springs will come to Steamboat to play volleyball. The tournament also attracts players from 11 other states.

— To reach John F. Russell, call 871-4209

or e-mail jrussell@steamboatpilot.com


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