By Joe Houchin
(Joe writes for the Sonoran Resorts Blog at www.sonoranresorts.mx Jim Ringquist, Director of Sales)
Luis Garrido of Outta Town Productions hands the ball to Rick Busa of Youth Sports Foundation.
Outta Town Productions’ final volleyball tournament after 19 consecutive years as a popular event on the beach at Sonoran Sea Resort was a fun day of highly competitive attacking and blocking, tequila and tacos. And we have photos to prove it!
Between the continuing economic crunch and a conflicting tournament closer to home, reasons for this year’s light attendance were clear. What the event lacked in attendance, however, it made up for in loyalty, skill and celebration by the five coed teams who competed for the largest prize purse in this tournament’s history. Loyalty was exemplified by the four teams and their friends and families who made the trip from Phoenix to support the final Rocky Point production by Luis. The fifth team, by the way, was fielded locally by Rocky Point Reservations, making this a true international event.
The weather was perfect, the sea smooth as a lake and blue as a diamond made a stunning backdrop for a day on the beach. As if that weren’t enough, competition started at the Tequila Peñasco sponsor’s tent with shots of their crafted spirit-lifting beverage. The Sonoran Sea’s own Ramón of Ramón’s Restaurant set up his barrel grill right on the beach and served beef or chicken tacos with all the trimmings including grilled green chili peppers, beer and soft drinks. Sonoran Resorts, Rocky Point Reservations and Tequila Peñasco were the main sponsors this year.
The RPR Team, comprised of local Mexican nationals, proved to be a handful as they bombed their way to the finals via one match through the loser’s bracket. Then they met up with the undefeated team of Ian Mulqueen, Valley royalty of the pass, set and kill, which they brought to Rocky Point and executed with precision to take the 1st place prize of $1,200 U.S. dollars in cash. The RPR team was excited about taking 2nd and the $600 dollar cash prize in their first tournament together. We say, “Well done, Rocky Point!”
The Outta Town Productions team took 3rd place and $300 dollars. Vince Cervantes’ team placed 4th and walked away with $200 dollars; and Suvi Faulkner’s 5th place team from Flagstaff split $100 dollars.
As the owner, over the last 19 years Luis has grown his business into an international athletic and adventure tour company with a full schedule of major national and international events and activities that conflict with the dates of the Rocky Point events. Also, and even more exciting for all the fans of Luis, his own men’s indoor volleyball team is now traveling to large tournaments like the U.S. Nationals and the Huntsman World Games where they won a Silver Medal earlier in November!
His deep feelings for the Rocky Point events became obvious during a conversation before the tournament as Luis reminisced, “The first few tournaments I ran in 1992 drew about 12 players. We threw names in a hat and drew them out to form teams. $2 each was the prize pot and the winners got it all. It grew slowly until computers and the internet helped with websites and email.”
Through the years Luis has brought together over 7500 players and their families and friends to our little town by the sea. On three occasions he’s had up to 80 teams competing that drew a thousand or more people to the beach. He has also raised money for local charities during these events. You get the picture that Luis is and has been a great asset to tourism in Rocky Point as well as to the growth in popularity of volleyball as a sport.
Luis expressed his foresight and confidence in the future of competitive volleyball in Puerto Peñasco and the Youth Sports Foundation of Puerto Peñasco, “If Peñasco can begin courting some of the national teams to come play, and then the US teams will come for good competition. There is no reason the town cannot eventually become a beach volleyball Mecca. This is only the first seed, so it will take time, but they can do it.”
Even though this was the last tournament that will be organized by Luis Garrido and Outta Town Productions, it is in no way the last of the popular series of volleyball competitions on the beach at the Sonoran Sea resort. As we covered in our pre-event article located at (http://www.sonoranresorts.mx/?p=2206), Luis made sure that the tournament would continue in good hands. In fact, he could not have “passed the ball” to a more worthwhile group than the Youth Sports Foundation of Puerto Peñasco, a locally based non-profit organization founded by Rick Busa who is successfully devoted to getting Puerto Peñasco’s youth actively involved in sports.
In a short but pointed and moving ceremony right after the final match, Rick Busa, founder and driving force behind the perpetual growth and success of the YSF, accompanied by Mr. Fausto Soto, the Mayor’s Advisor on International Relations and Tourism, presented Luis with an engraved plaque from the Foundation expressing appreciation for his “19 years of service for volleyball tournaments and other sports activities in Puerto Peñasco, Sonora, Mexico.” As to how Luis felt about the plaque, the photo below is worth a thousand words.
Luis continued the informal ceremony by “passing the ball”, a brand new still-in-the- package volleyball, over to Rick, symbolizing the new era for volleyball in Rocky Point. Rick and Fausto appreciated the offer made by Luis to make himself available to assist in putting on the next couple of tournaments until the local team got comfortable with the many tasks and detailed logistics involved in organizing and setting up such an event. Fausto expressed the city’s support of the Youth Sports Foundation of Puerto Peñasco and that it would extend to supporting their future volleyball tournaments as well.
Rick Busa founded the Youth Sports Foundation of Puerto Peñasco in 2007. Through his hard work and dedication the Foundation’s success has grown in strength and garnered the support of the city as well as the state of Sonora for the donations including clothing, uniforms and equipment YSF has been able to provide to the town’s youth and schools. Says Rick, “Giving the youth of Puerto Peñasco options; that’s what it’s all about. Regardless of the financial ability of their parents, we give them the option of getting involved in sports instead of trouble.”
Only good can emerge from this transition to the next phase of volleyball development here in Rocky Point. Indeed, Luis Garrido started a tradition 19 years ago that has built a loyal following from Arizona and the Southwest who are fans of Rocky Point and who have told their friends and families about our little beach side town. And now, Rick Busa has the skill and strong statewide support through his Youth Sports Foundation of Puerto Peñasco to build a highly competitive Mexican national volleyball institution in Sonora. Rick’s goal then is to promote international competitions on the beaches of Puerto Peñasco to raise funds and supplies for youth sports, including youth volleyball.
Volleyball in Rocky Point, thanks to Luis and Rick, continues to be a viable source of tourism for our economy and now another socially redeeming option for the future of our youth.
This blog brought to you by Sonoran Resorts Sales Group, Jim Ringquist, Director of Sales