Tournament founder Flip Naumburg remembered as Vail Lacrosse Shootout finishes 46th year
VAIL — One of the biggest showcases of one of the oldest competitive sports in North America wrapped up its 11-day event on Wednesday, July 4.
The fact that the Vail Lacrosse Shootout concludes on Independence Day is not coincidence. The event, which has been taking place in Vail for 46 years, honors the traditions of family — bringing 1,300 competitors and their loved ones to town — and competition, with divisions of all ages squaring off in friendly rivalries.
Wednesday’s event wrapped up with the top-tier competitors vying for the elite division championships in Vail.
The women’s elite saw their final two games take place at the Vail Athletic Fields, with newcomers LAXaDAZEicalz taking down defending champions the Texarados.
In the men’s elite, Rokk3r/Lacrossewear earned its fifth consecutive championship, becoming the first team to hoist the new Flip Naumburg Memorial Cup after its win over the Rocky Mountain Oysters.
Flip Naumburg, a veteran lacrosse player and co-founder of the tournament, suffered a heart attack on May 6 and died in his home in Fort Collins.
In an interview with the Vail Daily in 2017, Naumburg said he was always surprised by the success of the Vail Lacrosse Shootout.
“In the early years, some people weren’t quite ready for the heathens that our group represented,” Naumburg said. “So we had to come and justify ourselves each year. But that didn’t last long because the vendors came and said it’s our biggest week of the year. Now they’re glad to have us, and we’re a little more civilized.”
Naumburg was a student of lacrosse history, drawing parallels to the sport’s origins and where it is today. Native Americans called the game Little Brother of War and used it to train young warriors.
“They were beating each other to death, practicing their combat moves and using a rag wrapped around a rock for a ball,” Naumburg said. “Then you had these very civilized European missionaries who would come and see these games, and they were fascinated.”
Naumburg said what you see now has a little bit of both worlds.
“The violence is still there, and I think that is what attracts some young men to the sport,” Naumburg said. “But it’s a complicated game … the equipment alone, I’ve always maintained that other than hockey, there’s no sport that requires equipment to the degree that lacrosse does.”
‘LET IT BE’
In the men’s elite championship on Wednesday, Rokk3r/Lacrossewear enjoyed a another decisive victory in its fifth consecutive championship win.
“The Oysters put up a good fight, but they were no match for the all-star stacked Rokk3r team,” Vail Lacrosse Shootout organizers wrote in a press release. “The win was fueled largely by MVP, Eric DeJohn’s eight goals and one assist. A special moment occurred in the third quarter when the teams began the quarter with a faceoff, and later goal with a ball filled with the ashes of late Vail Lacrosse Shootout co-founder, Flip Naumburg, while ‘Let it Be’ played in the background.”
The final standings in the men’s elite division saw Rokk3r/Lacrossewear in first, the Rocky Mountain Oysters in second, Lax.com/ScoreBreak Elite in third, Big Green Herd in fourth, NYAC in fifth and Team Mike Shaw Subaru in sixth.
In the women’s elite championship, a fierce battle took place between defending champs Texarados and newcomers LAXaDAZEicalz.
“The score went back and forth in the first half with a score of 3-2,” organizers wrote. “In the second half, LAXaDAZEicalz began to pull ahead to protect the team’s perfect record. Scoring was led by No. 26, Eliza Radochonski, (who was also part of the all-tournament team), with three. At the end of competition, the lead had increased and LAXaDAZEicalz took home the championship trophy.”
The women’s elite final standings saw LAXaDAZEicalz in first, the Texarados in second, the Jammin’ Salmonettes in third and Team Wild in fourth.