MotherLode volleyball tourney not going the way of restaurant |

MotherLode volleyball tourney not going the way of restaurant

Tim Mutrie

When the MotherLode Restaurant shut down recently, so went an Aspen institution. The closing, it seems, also had at least one unintended consequence: It gave rise to a rumor that the MotherLode Volleyball Classic was similarly finished, over, all gone.Not so, says Aspen’s Leon Fell. Fell is the longtime producer of the MotherLode volleyball tournament, which will return as usual for its 33rd annual edition Labor Day Weekend, Sept. 1-5.”We definitely need to put these rumors to rest,” Fell said. “The MotherLode continues.”Yesterday, he issued a press release declaring just about that.”And the end isn’t anywhere in sight!” one sentence reads in bold.Still, Fell empathizes with the rumor spreaders and believers out there amongst us. After all, in 1972, the volleyball tournament was founded by Howard Ross and Gordon Whitmer, the then-owners of the MotherLode Restaurant.The first tournament, a casual affair at Wagner Park, naturally assumed the name of its main sponsor. This was before terms like “title sponsor” entitled the lexicon, and it’s the reason why the MotherLode (the restaurant) and the MotherLode (the volleyball tournament) are spelled identically (and often used in conversation singularly).”It’s always been spelled the same way,” Fell explained. “In fact, our old logo from the MotherLode – the volleyball tournament, that is – is off the old MotherLode menus. Well, now that’s confusing right there.”This place cracks me up sometimes.”Back to the press release:”This year, the MotherLode organizers are anticipating registrations to top the 700 team mark for the first time in the event’s history. And even though the players won’t have their favorite watering hole to visit this year, they can expect to be entertained quite well at the tournament’s main championship courts at Koch Lumber Park in downtown Aspen.”The MotherLode, by the way, is also the No. 1 Pro-Am beach volleyball event in North America and the largest beach doubles tourney in the nation. Look for a half-hour program about the MotherLode’s legend running on the Altitude Sports & Entertainment channel.

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