The Beach Bash Story
The Beach Bash Doubles Volleyball Tournament started in the mid 1990s and has had a sporadic history. VOTR (Volleyball Of The Rockies) ran it's first league with 12 teams in 1989, and in 1996 organizers Bob Felton and Tom Davenport decided that perhaps a doubles tournament for all their Coed 4x4 players would be a nice addition. The early Beach Bash Tournaments were grass only events held at Francis Jacobs Park behind the Safeway at Parker/Leetsdale and Quebec. The field at Beach Bash included the entire Robbins family from grandparents down to a young Vince Robbins, who went on to become a main draw AVP Professional. BB2x2 usually included a BBQ and perhaps a keg or ten for the players.
VOTR ran a series of successful Beach Bash Tournaments leading up to the Island Grand Opening in 1998. Over 210 teams participated in the grand opening event with grass divisions at Garland Park and Open divisions at The Island. Contractors worked round the clock the week before The Bash and The Island managed to receive it's certificate of occupancy a mere 14 hours before the event. The walls were bare, or unfinished, the restaurant was not enclosed, the deck and tent did not exist, and the bar was barely stocked. Open (Pro/AA) participants were the first feet to play in fresh Island sand, and winners were awarded a trip to Fort Lauderdale, FL to compete in the Cuervo City Beach Challenge National Championships.
The Grand Opening Beach Bash was also a fundraiser sponsored by Denver Active 20/30 and Sauza Tequila. The Bash raised over $5,000 for local charities Denver Kids and The Colorado Christian Home from tournament fees, a cover charge at the door, and donations from players and sponsors. A stage was constructed across the entire south end of The Island and local bands played all night long (Mr. Tree and the Wingnuts, The Reals, Zuet) while players danced in the sand on court 5 and guests enjoyed unlimited hot wings donated by Hooters.
There were three more Beach Bash Tourneys in 1999, 2000 and 2001, and then the event was mothballed until 2007. The Island and VOTR had their plate full with the challenges of a new business. Time and energy were put into leagues and developing a weekend special event business that precluded the use of The Island courts. During this 7 year hiatus, The Island added Steamboat Doubles and Putterhead Doubles Tournaments to it's offerings. The reintroduction of Beach Bash Doubles in 2007 marked a decision by The Island/VOTR staff to re-commit to organizing a major tournament in Denver each June to compliment it's two mountain events in July and August. The 2007 event was held at Garland Park with a limited Sand Open division draw and multiple divisions in the grass.
The 2008 Beach Bash Doubles event returned to The Island & marked the 10 year anniversary of the building as well as the 20 year anniversary of Volleyball of the Rockies. The event was relocated to early June, a time frame that not only fits well with Steamboat (July) and Breckenridge (August) events, but also would allow the use of the Island Courts each year for the Open Divisions and the "Bash". The 2008 event also saw Beach Bash join forces with Karch Karaly and the US Open of Beach Volleyball. Winners of the open division not only played their championship matches in front of the crowd at the bash while Ken Lee and his Band rocked the house. They also earned a berth, along with airfare and hotel, to the US Open of Beach Volleyball, in Santa Barbara, CA. Grass division players also received entry into the US Open event. That year all participants received dinner (6-9 pm) at the Island and one heck of a party. (The public is welcome at the party as well)
2014 marked a transitional year with Beach Bash Doubles committing to become an early tournament with the sand events over Memorial Day Weekend and the grass divisions 1st weekend of June. 2018 marks another expansion of divisions as we added Men's/Women's/Coed AA & A sand divisions. Colorado players can look forward to this annual summer rite, including tons of volleyball, great prizes, and music at the Island with food, awards, and the opportunity to watch and cheer for the best players in the region as they battle it out in the Open finals on Island Center Court followed by the grass divisions a week later.