MotherLode Volleyball Classic returns to Koch Park in Aspen | AspenTimes.com

MotherLode Volleyball Classic returns to Koch Park in Aspen

The 45th annual MotherLode Volleyball Classic returns to Koch Lumber Park in Aspen Wednesday through Monday. With upward of 450 teams competing in 21 different divisions, the grassroots tournament is considered one of the best pro-am events in the sport.

"We are the second oldest, consecutive running beach volleyball tournament in the United States. Only the Laguna Open is older," tournament producer Leon Fell said. "We are going to try and make it as much fun as humanly possible, but I think the players are going to do that on their own. The matches are going to be like watching the old times when the best pros came up here."

The MotherLode is expected to receive a bit of an injection in talent this year. Earlier this summer, the National Volleyball League — one of two pro volleyball organizations in the country alongside the Association of Volleyball Professionals — canceled its 2017 season after only one event.

That left many top-tier players looking for tournaments, and the MotherLode is one of the answers for many of them.

"The up and coming aspiring pros are all going to be here, trying to prove they belong on the pro tour," Fell said. "Our men's and women's open is going to be knockdown, drag out."

Even with the high level of talent expected, Fell also wants to make sure everyone knows the tournament is "a celebration. We are not a pro event."

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New to 2017 is the creation of a "beer garden" around the courts. Beer, as well as food from Hickory House, will be sold onsite. No outside alcohol will be allowed.

As always, there is no cost to watch the tournaments.

The men's 50s and 60s, alongside the women's 45s, will get the tournament going Wednesday. Thursday, the men's 45s, 55s and women's masters (35 and over) will compete. Friday is the men's masters (37 and over) and popular co-ed divisions.

The men's and women's open divisions, as well as the A, BB and B divisions, all get underway Saturday and go through Monday. The men's and women's open finals championships are scheduled for Monday at 3 and 4 p.m., respectively.

For more, visit http://www.motherlodevolleyball.com.

Read about last year’s MotherLode volleyball tournament here.

acolbert@aspentimes.com

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