The three-ring circus that is AVP volleyball made its annual stop on the sandy shores of Santa Barbara’s West Beach last weekend, in the 50th local installment of the tournament. The action was hot and heavy, despite the fact that most matches — including the highly anticipated men’s final — were plagued by unseasonably wet and dreary weather. Thousands of spectators turned out to the beach and flooded local bars and restaurants during the four-day event, which included beer gardens, bikini-clad Cuervo girls, volleyball radar guns, copious amounts of free sunscreen, and the live national television broadcast of both the men’s and women’s finals. UCSB alum and former Gaucho volleyball coach Todd Rogers (pictured left) and his partner Phil Dalhausser (pictured right) took home top honors in the men’s division on Sunday afternoon, earning themselves a cool $25,000 after easily dispatching John Hyden and Jeff Nygaard. The victory was especially sweet for Rogers, as it marked his first win in front of his hometown fans, despite his having reached the final on five previous occasions. The competitive juggernaut of Misty May and Kerri Walsh easily beat out Elaine Youngs and Rachel Wacholder during Saturday afternoon’s sunshine, earning the pair the women’s title. The win for May and Walsh — who have won the last three Santa Barbara championships — proved to be somewhat historic as it was their record 50th career team title. Ten Santa Barbara residents played in the tourney, including past champion Dax Holdren and three-time Olympic gold medalist Karch Kiraly. — Ethan Stewart

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