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Athletes will be hitting Sky Zone trampoline parks all over Southern California this weekend, as the business will host its local qualifying round for the 2013 Ultimate Dodgeball Championship.
Dodgeball teams will vie for a chance to be one of eight that will be invited to the championship tournament in Las Vegas, where they will compete for $20,000 and a chance to take on Xtreme Couture mixed-martial arts fighters in a charity dodgeball match, which could be considered a reward or punishment depending on one’s perspective.
Regardless, the upcoming tournaments are sure to provide a lot of entertainment, excitement and fun for participants, said Barclay Poole, Sky Zone’s vice president of corporate operations.
“Everybody loves dodgeball. …It’s taking every bit of fun and excitement you had playing dodgeball as a kid and amplifying it,” he said.
In more than 30 Sky Zone facilities across the U.S. and Canada, the tournament will kickoff on Sunday, Aug. 4. Although Sky Zone Torrance’s tournament is “capped,” Poole said there are still openings at Sky Zone’s locations in Riverside and Covina. The cost is $50 per team.
“It is very reasonable, and that was part of our strategy here,” Poole said. “We want to introduce this sport to as many people as possible.”
During the qualifying round, teams will compete in a round robin tournament, which will result in an eight-team single-elimination playoff bracket, he said. The winners of each local qualifier will be ranked according to statistics — such as winning percentage, average number of players left on the court at the end of a match and average game time — and the top seven teams will compete in Las Vegas on Sept. 21 and 22.
The eighth team, also a local qualifier winner, will be chosen by a fan vote on Sky Zone’s Facebook page from Aug. 5 to 12.
The championship tournament will follow a similar format to the local qualifiers, except each team will walk away with some dough, Poole said. He said the eighth-place team will receive $2,000, which should cover any travel expenses the team may have. Overall, $50,000 will be given away.
That same weekend, the champion will take on Xtreme Couture, an organization owned by UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture, in what could be considered a “dodgebrawl.” At stake is $10,000 for the charity of the victor’s choosing. Poole said Sky Zone is still determining what fighters will participate.
A professional camera crew from Fox Sports Networks will be on hand during the championship round, and will air the competition at a later date, Poole said. Fox also televised last year’s event, and replayed it multiple times, he said.
“The official air date has not been released yet,” Poole added.
Last year was the first for the Ultimate Dodgeball Championship at Sky Zone. Poole said 112 teams participated, and approximately 350 teams are expected this year.
“The first year was tremendous,” he said. “This was the first time they’d done anything like this. …Obviously, there was a lot of detail on the front end. But it actually came together very nicely, very smooth.”
Poole said it’s been “pretty cool” to see a sport that was once played at just one or two parks turn into a national event. He referred to the competition as Sky Zone’s own Super Bowl.
For information, visit www.udodgeball.com.
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