EAGLE-VAIL — For the Sixta family of Des Moines, Father’s Day 2014 was one to remember.
Jim and Deb Sixta and their daughter, Sam, traveled from Iowa to the Vail Valley this past week to participate in King of the Mountain Volleyball Tournament. Part of the appeal of the annual tournament was the opportunity to celebrate Father’s Day together by joining in the father-daughter doubles tournament on Sunday.
And after making it through the whole bracket-style tournament to pick up the win in the 16-and-under age category, they said they were really happy they made the trip.
“Winning will help make the drive home easier, that’s for sure,” Jim Sixta said.
Pam Sixta, who enjoyed watching from the sidelines as her husband and daughter moved through the ranks, said the vibe at the event was one of friendship and camaraderie.
“It was a great atmosphere to be a part of,” she said.
While competition was intense, playful comments could be heard among the fathers playing against each other, many of whom were already friendly from participating in many previous tournaments together.
“I think we’re gonna have to call you for over use of effort,” Lance Phair said to Chris Powers in the semi-final match for the father-daughter 12-and-under division, after Chris Powers made a diving save.
“You’re only allowed to do that when you’re losing,” Chris Powers joked back.
While he was a participant in the tournament alongside his daughter, 11-year-old Myrrh Curie, Chris Powers was also the tournament director of the father-son, father-daughter event and also the King of the Mountain juniors tournament on Saturday.
“But while I’m playing, my wife is the official,” he said Sunday.
Traci Powers, Chris Powers’ wife and Curie’s mother, said she put in a more than 12-hour day on Saturday.
“We started at eight in the morning and were here till 8:30 at night,” she said.
From her post in the officials tent, however, Traci Powers had a courtside view of Chris Powers and Curie’s run into the finals, which they eventually won.
“It’s really nice to be able to watch them while I’m working,” she said.
Mike DeJager and his son, Brandt, won the father-son 14-and-under age division this year after finishing dead last in the tournament this past year.
“Last year, we were 0-8, and this year we were 8-0,” Mike DeJager said. “We got to do the same division as last year; most of the people we played against aged up to the 16-and-under division.”
The Toussaints, of Colorado Springs, finally won this year against friendly rivals the Decker family.
“They won it last year and the year before. Feels good to finally win after three years competing,” said Austin Toussaint, 17. “We’ve done the 14-and-under, the 16-and-under and finally won this year in the 18-and-under.”
But not all father-son duos were on the playing field that weekend.
Tom Welch and his son, 15-year-old Austin Welch, just came in from Denver to watch the event.
“We just wanted to check it out,” Tom Welch said. “It’s really cool. It’s impressive to see from the highway, all the cars lined up and all the nets on the field.”
With approximately 650 doubles teams participating in this year’s King of the Mountain, it will once again retain its claim as the largest doubles beach volleyball tournament in North America, tournament director Leon Fell said.
“We’re really pleased with the turnout again this year,” said Fell. “It just keeps growing.”
Staff Writer John LaConte can be reached at 970-748-2988 or firstname.lastname@example.org