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Volleyball Tournament Bucket List

Updated on May 10, 2019

Volleyball is played all across the United States in multiple formats and at a variety of levels. There are certain events that are so big and unique though, that everyone who plays should aim to participate in them at least once. Here is that list!

The Pottstown Rumble

Location: Pottstown, PA

The tournament started out in 1991 with just three people organizing the event. They now have an executive board of 12 volunteers and a workforce of 50 people.

The first Pottstown Rumble Grass Volleyball Tournament was held in 1991. It was a one-day event hosting just under 200 players on 40 nets.

The event has grown over the years into a four-day tournament with 150 nets and nearly 3,200 players. The Pottstown Rumble is the world's largest grass doubles tournament with the reputation of having the toughest competition.

The future of the Rumble holds more prize money, more prizes, more players and more talent at the open levels.

Yearly Date: Last weekend in June

Links: Website

The Pottstown Rumble
The Pottstown Rumble

Manhattan Beach Six Man

Location: Manhattan Beach, CA

Ten years ago this summer, Charlie Saikley passed away. Known as the "Godfather of Beach Volleyball," Saikley was the man who 41 years ago brought the Manhattan Beach 6-Man Volleyball Tournament to the South Bay.

Saikley’s roots in the South Bay began in the 1960’s, where as a school teacher at El Segundo High School, he also worked in the Manhattan Beach Parks and Recreation Department during his off-hours and summers. Through his work with Parks and Recreation, Saikley created the first city-organized volleyball instruction program in Southern California and worked largely with the city’s youth introducing them to the sport.

Saikley was legendary with the creation of tournaments that focused on the core components of beach volleyball: world-class talent combined with the beach lifestyle. In a nod to his original vision for the event that began in 1974, his family has worked alongside the Manhattan Beach Parks and Recreation Department to bring back the all-age inclusive, family-friendly feel to the event.

2015 marks the first year of the Jr. 6-Man, which takes place on August 2nd. This is a nod to Saikley’s belief in fostering youth involvement within the sport. It is expected that the youth tournament will also embrace the culture of costume-oriented team participation.

Yearly Date: End of July

Links: Website, Facebook Page

Charlie Saikley 6-Man Beach Volleyball

The Mother Lode Classic

Location: Aspen, Colorado

In 1972, a couple of Aspen, Colorado restaurateurs decided to spice up what was, at that time, a lackluster Labor Day Weekend by hosting a small, invitation only, volleyball tournament. Little did they know that their one day, 14 team tourney was going to become one of the biggest, and most popular, pro-am beach doubles volleyball Events in North America - the MotherLode Volleyball Classic, held every Labor Day Weekend in Aspen, Colorado.

Transplanted from Newport Beach, California, all Howard Ross and Gordon Whitmer - the co-owners of The MotherLode Restaurant, in Aspen - were trying to do was to have a little fun and provide themselves and their friends with a beach volleyball "fix" on a quiet Labor Day Weekend. They set-up courts in Wagner Park, provided food for a barbecue, brought in a keg of beer, and played volleyball. The winners of that first "informal" tourney were none other than beach legends Chester and Steve Goss, from San Diego living in Aspen. It was fun! So…they decided to do it again the next year. And, a few more teams showed-up. The next thing they knew, they had - without the benefit, or effort, of advertising and promotion - a full-blown tourney on their hands. In those early years, registrations were taken by the restaurant's bar tenders; was produced by one of their waiters (Andy Hanson, originally from San Diego); and, t-shirts were produced and sold by another waiter. The tournament had grown from 14 teams to over 160 teams and had supplanted the Colorado Open, held in Boulder, as the toughest tourney in Colorado. As well, they were starting to draw teams from outside the State - especially from the beaches of California. And…it was getting too big for the restaurant to handle.

In 1981, Ross and Whitmer brought in local volleyball player, coach, and event promoter - Leon Fell - to produce and coordinate the schedule of events surrounding the tournament. Fell, who was, at that time, producing the series of events pertaining to the Subaru/Aspen Winternational World Cup Skiing (America's Downhill) week, in Aspen, asked them if they were interested in doing what it took to make the 'MotherLode' (as it was becoming called) into a National tourney. They laughed and said "sure" - thinking that that was something that could never be. The next year, Fell hired regional tournament organizer Tim Weiand as Tournament Director and set-up a new infrastructure for marketing and promotion - MotherLode Volleyball Productions. He utilized his gregarious nature and his growing contacts within the volleyball world and proceeded with his dream to make the landlocked beach tournament one of the most renowned Events in beach volleyball -- all the while trying to maintain the original flavor of that first tourney.

Over the years, the Event has grown to become the most comprehensive beach doubles volleyball tournament in North America; including upwards of 700 teams coming from all over the United States to participate in, and celebrate, what Volleyball Magazine has termed "the social event of the outdoor volleyball season". It has expanded from a one-day tourney to a five-day Event. And, from one division to 17 divisions of play ranging from Men's and Women's Open to Women's B - with Men's and Women's Senior's and Master's divisions in between. It has drawn players such as the 2000 Sydney, Australia Olympic Beach Volleyball Champion Dain Blanton to the likes of other current AVP players like Vince Robbins, Mike Whitmarsh, Canyon Ceman, Adam Jewell, Dax Holdren, Albert Hanneman, Linda Hanley, Leanne Schuster, Nancy Mason, Danalee Bragado, Liz Pagano, and Rachel Wacholder. Ex-AVP and USA National team players such as Pat Powers, Jon Stanley, Dane Hansen, Byron Shewman, Danny Patterson, Shawn Fallowfield, Jon Stevenson, Steve Timmons, Roger Clark, Craig Moothart, Tom Duke, Mark Tanner, Rudy Dvorak, Leif Hansen, Rob Heidger, Curtis Griffin, Erik, Moore, Ryan Post, Andrew Cavanaugh, Larry Benecke, Larry Mear, Eric Wurts, Pono Ma'a, Janice Opalinsky, Elaine Rogue, Hillary Johnson, Kim Harsch-Bird, Christine Schaefer, Gayle Stammer, Laurel Brassey, Valinda Hilleary, Pat Keller, and Canadian star Garth Pischke have graced the 'Lode's main championship courts. As well, beach legends Jon Lee, George Zebot, Dan Salyer, Chester and Steve Goss, David King, Scott Steele, Bob Pape, and Monty McBride have continued their storied careers here. The MotherLode has been the proving ground for many rookie AVP players and the feeling of satisfaction for many other amateur players from around the Country. More than quite a few volleyball relationships have been made at "the 'Lode" as well as many marriages and anniversaries.

Since 1972, The MotherLode is, still, that fun little tournament held every Labor Day Weekend in the mountain hamlet of Aspen, Colorado.

Yearly Date: Labor Day Weekend

Links: Website

The Mother Lode

USA Volleyball Adult Nationals

Location: Rotating Cities

USA Volleyball has showcased its USA Volleyball Open National Championships for 80 years since the organization's founding in 1928. Except for 1943 and 1944 during the height of World War II. The Open has been a mainstay celebrating adult volleyball nationally.

The event is one of the largest national championships in any sport in the United States, and the Open has featured the sport of volleyball from coast-to-coast.

Yearly Date: Memorial Day Week/Weekend

Links: Website

King of the Mountain

Location: Vail, Colorado


Mother Nature smiled, greatly, upon this year's 43rd Annual Vail King of the Mountain Open -- three gorgeous, warm and sunny days of competition. 666 teams competed in Vail this year along with over 100 juniors teams and over 100 teams in the Father/Son & Father/Daughter divisions. Over 100 participants in Misty May's "Dream in Gold" juniors volleyball clinic held on Friday. And, exciting competition in, not only the Men's and Women's Open divisions; but, also, in all divisions as the beautiful Rocky Mountain weather helped all to do their best, party hardy and enjoy a grand Father's Day Weekend in Vail, Colorado.

The most exciting things, though, was the many teams, and families, who traveled from outside the Rocky Mountain Region to take part in one of the Country's top-five iconic grassroots volleyball Events.

Yearly Date: Mid-June

Links: Website, Facebook Page


Blue Water VolleyGrass

Location: Marysville, Michigan

There are several events in the Blue Water Area that people just seem to rally around.

One of those events — the Blue Water Volleygrass Tournament — will return for the 24th edition of the event. 198 teams signed up to play in 14 divisions in 2015.

End of July


Waupaca Boatride Tournament

Location: Oshkosh, WI

The Waupaca Boatride Volleyball Tournament began as a doubles tournament in 1984 at Whispering Pines State Park in Waupaca, WI. After several years of increased participation, the limited space at the park forced the tournament to be changed to a triples format to allow for maximum participation. This unique format provides a quality and challenging experience to players of all levels.

After several location changes in the 90's and early 80's, the Chula Vista Resort in Wisconsin Dells, WI recruited the tournament in 2006 and it was held there until 2009. In 2010, the tournament moved to Oshkosh, WI. The tournament - held annually on the 2nd Saturday of July - has become much more than just your average Saturday volleyball tournament; it has become what many players refer to as "a family reunion". In keeping with that theme, the tournament committee has attempted to make it a fun-filled weekend for players, spectators, friends and family by adding Friday and Saturday night entertainment as well as 5 days of camping.

Yearly Date: 2nd Weekend in July

Links: Website

Emerald Coast Volleyball Week

Location: Fort Walton Beach, FL

You already know that Fudpucker's is famous for Great Food, Live Music, and World Famous T-shirts, but what you might not know is that we also hold one of the largest four-person beach volleyball tournaments in the world (well, at least as far as we know)! Of course, if you're amongst one of the thousands of people who have played in this tournament during any of the past sixteen years, you wouldn't be surprised at all about this fact.

Started on the snow white beaches of Destin in 1989, the Fudpucker 4-Player Beach Volleyball Tournament is held every Spring as the anchor for the Emerald Coast Volleyball Week (a week-long series of beach volleyball events that culminates with the Fud 4-Player). Due to beach erosion from Hurricane Ivan, the event was moved this past spring over to Okaloosa Island just a few miles west of Destin where it may very well remain. Drawing teams from all over the country (and beyond), the Fud 4-Player features five Men's divisions and four Women's with Open level competition vying for cash prizes. Of course, the prizes are secondary to the Event's primary theme which is to have fun! And, as everyone knows, Fun is what Fudpucker's is famous for (along with Food and Friends).

So, in keeping with that theme, the Fud 4-Player is known as much for its off-beach "social" activities as it is for its on-beach competition. The most notable of these “activities” is the infamous Fudpucker Players Party. Traditionally held at Fudpucker's in Destin, it is without question the largest party of any kind on the entire Gulf Coast.

Yearly Date: Mid-April

Links: Website, Facebook Page

Emerald Coast Volleyball Week Captains Meeting

Seaside Beach Volleyball Tournament

Location: Seaside, Oregon

Players and spectators enjoy the clear ocean air of one of the World’s most beautiful beaches as described by National Geographic. The beach is home to the Seaside Beach Volleyball Tournament to be played for the 34th consecutive year in August of 2015. It is the largest amateur beach volleyball tournament in the world with over 1363 teams (in 2013) playing on 120 plus courts. Divisions range from parent and child to Masters 55+, along with our Men, Women and Co-ed Open Divisions that feature current and retired AVP ranked players. Seaside Beach Volleyball is consistently the highest ranked and most visited amateur beach volleyball tournament around! Our teams travel from as far as the East Coast and Hawaii as well as Canada. Our tournament is known throughout the beach volleyball world and is mentioned by many AVP players as “the one to go to.” And, Seaside Beach Volleyball is as organic as it comes… no bleachers, no required team shirts, no plastic clapping devices and no entry fee for spectators! Best of all when the tournament is over there is no trace of it left on the clean white sands.

The event dates are always the SECOND FULL WEEKEND in August, Fri. & Sat. Doubles play and Sunday quads and 6′s play. Times vary but you can expect play daily from 8:30 am to around 6:00 pm. For entry, sponsor and general information contact Seaside Chamber of Commerce at:

Yearly Date: 2nd Week of August

Links: Website, Facebook Page

Seaside Tournament

Derby Fest Volleyball Classic

Location: Louisville, KY

Ready, Set…Spike!

With nearly 500 teams participating, the Kentucky Derby Festival Volleyball Classic is the country’s largest outdoor volleyball tournament. It promotes all levels of play and forms of competition – doubles, trips, quads and six-person – on both sand and grass. A great event! Come check out all the action.

Yearly Date: Mid-April

Links: Website, Facebook Page

Which Tournament Just Got on Your Bucket List?

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      3 years ago

      This is absolutely the best grass volleyball tournament in the country.


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