What do volleyball and football have in common? Usually not much. But Saturday, September 19, Tampa Bay Beach Bums held a charity volleyball tournament to benefit the Gulfport Pirates Youth Football program.
“They’re donation-funded and are really low on funding this year,” event organizer Rachel Manzanares said. “They focus on keeping youth in the area out of trouble through sports and we like to reach out to Gulfport charities as much as we can since Gulfport has been so good to us.”
The Beach Bums are no stranger to charity. All of their tournaments are geared towards funding charities.
“We help different charities or person need,” Manzanares said. “We have raised money for people with ALS, cancer, Lyme disease.”
This charity event was a little different that usual; anonymous local businesses have agreed to match the donations the tournament makes up to $1,500 dollars.
“There’s a group of five to seven anonymous business owners that offered to pledge whatever they raise,” Gulfport Councilman Dan Liedtke said.
The Beach Bums organization started in November of 2013, according to Manzanares, as a group of friends who wanted to create affordable volleyball tournaments.
The organization has since raised over $9,000 dollars for local charities.
Players come from all over including St. Pete Beach, Largo, Tampa – particularly Hogan’s Beach Bar. Many of the players join to play at the Gulfport volleyball courts solely due to word of mouth, Manzanares said.
Tournaments cap out at 78 teams and usually fill up a month in advance.
November will see several more volleyball tournaments in Gulfport including the Beach Bums second anniversary tournament and the VetSports tournament which will honor military veterans and troops.
Saturday’s event raised $804, which was matched by local businesses, bringing the total raised for the Pirates to $1,608, according to Liedkte.