Volleyball players – all 10,000 of them – descend on Reno
RENO (AP) – As anybody who has tried to book a room this week in Reno can tell you, they’re darn hard to come by.
The reason is that volleyball players – all 10,000 of them – have descended in what has to be a volleyball fan’s dream. Or nightmare.
At least 10,000 women aged 12 to 18 are competing in matches that run all week.
That means there are 71 simultaneous matches played every hour throughout the day in the convention center alone.
Other matches are at the City Center Pavilion, Reno Events Center, the Reno Hilton, and a warehouse on Spice Island Drive in Sparks.
Teams will have played a total of 7,000 games before the festival ends Friday, with a final match televised on Fox at Lawlor Events Center.
“Reno has been wonderful,” said Charrlee Davis from Sacramento. She signed up to work for the festival and has helped families during the tournament for seven years. “This location has given us the perfect venue,” she said. “We’ve had plenty of places to eat and stay, and it’s been great.”
This festival is unlike one in Sacramento, when players had to shuttle up to 100 miles from one game to another, said Randy Bisnett, festival medical coordinator from Maui.
“Reno is much better suited for us,” Bisnett said. “When we played in Sacramento, we had a district of 100 miles long and 50 miles wide. Reno is much easier to get around, and so far from what I have heard, it has been nothing but good feedback.”
The festival, advertised as one of the world’s largest annual sporting events, is expected to boost the local economy by $22 million, according to the Reno-Sparks Convention & Visitors Authority.
“We were ready for them,” said Kenneth Ayers, the convention’s assistant food and beverage manager. “But we weren’t ready for the popularity of the chicken caesar wraps.”
Or the demand for baked potatoes with butter, bacon, sour cream, chili and chives at $8 a spud. About 800 potatoes were sold at lunch.
Reno has other advantages over Sacramento, according to Jalane Kennedy, whose daughter Chelsea, 18, is on a team called Epic18Pat from the San Diego area.
“Reno has worked out great for us,” Jalene Kennedy said. “Once the girls are sleeping, we get to go down into the casino and play.”
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As another summer heads to Lake Tahoe, residents are finding ways to stay busy and one of the more popular activities to gain traction on both shores is pickleball.