Two world championships are scheduled to take place this weekend, and you can watch both free.
The third annual Ultimate Dodgeball Championship is scheduled from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 8-10 at Sky Zone Las Vegas, 7440 Dean Martin Drive. The game is played at Sky Zone’s unusual playing field: a set of trampolines across the surface of the “floor” and other trampolines set at an angle along the edges.
Ultimate dodgeball players from across the country are scheduled to compete at the event for $50,000 in cash prizes. The regional qualifiers for the Las Vegas area took place June 28, with 12 teams competing at the site the company moved to a year ago.
“The new location has an upstairs mezzanine that wraps around a lot of the courts,” said general manager Mallory Rueca. “It’s a great place for spectators to watch the games. The games were great. We had two teams of Marines and two teams from Utah. It was the Kitten Ticklers, one of the Utah teams, that won.”
The Utah team is set to represent the Las Vegas area in the finals. The team practiced in Orem, Utah, at a venue similar to Sky Zone.
“It’s an awesome environment,” said Brandon DuCharme, captain of the Kitten Ticklers. “Because a lot of the games are pickup games, you met a lot of new people, and it helps bring people together.”
DuCharme didn’t want to speculate on his team’s chances of achieving the ultimate victory.
“The unique thing about ultimate dodgeball is that anyone can beat anyone on any given day,” he said.
Just a few miles north, more traditional dodgeball is slated to be played at the National Dodgeball Tournament, scheduled for 1 to 5 p.m. Aug. 9 at the Tarkanian Basketball Academy, 2730 S. Rancho Drive.
“We’ve done it for 12 years. All but the first one was in Las Vegas,” said Lisa Prentiss, vice president of the National Dodgeball League. “Officially I’m VP, but they call me Mrs. Dodgeball. My husband and I put it together. It’s totally a mom-and-pop business.”
The dodgeball tournament is a bit of a tail-wagging-the-dog situation.
“We heard the movie ‘Dodgeball’ was coming out, and we had a big empty warehouse behind our office we weren’t using,” Prentiss said. “My husband asked me what I thought of dodgeball, and I said I’d always hated it at school.”
The couple decided to set up a few courts, anyway, and put up a Web page to sign up teams. In a short time, they had 60 and had to create the professional sport from the ground up.
“Everyone had their own rules for the game,” Prentiss said. “We had to write a rule book and form the business.”
They also created their own balls for the game, designed to have the heft to throw while being soft and smooth enough to not cause damage.
Prentiss has a love/hate relationship with the game. She is one of the most ardent promoters of the sport, but she refuses to play it, and with good reason.
“Every year I get hit in the face with the ball,” Prentiss said. “I never go on the court, but I always manage to be close enough to get hit and end up walking around with an ice pack on my face.”
Contact East Valley View reporter F. Andrew Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-380-4532.