Club Red held the inaugural dodge ball tournament as a fundraiser for the Moab Teen Center on Saturday. Twenty teams, for a total of 120 players met to battle it out. Contestants run to the ball for the beginning of a bout. On the left is the Moab Rec'ing Balls; on the right is The Dodgefathers. [Photo by Jenna Guerrios/Courtesy Club Red: Moab Teen Center]

A diverse group of 120 participants on 20 teams descended upon the Center St. Gym on Saturday afternoon, Jan. 12 for the inaugural Dodge Brawl, a fundraiser for Moab Teen Center: Club Red.

People of all types – young and old, fast and slow, zombie and luchador – tried to dodge, duck, dip, dive and dodge their way to championship.

The 20 teams were separated into five pools. In pool play, each team squared off against each of the other three teams in its pool and points were scored one for each member of a team still on the floor at the end of the game; games ended either by eliminating the entire opposing team or by the four-minute time limit.

The top two teams from each pool made it into the single-elimination championship tournament where the top team from each pool and one team that placed second in its pool earned first-round byes and the remaining four second place teams battled in two play-in matches.

In the first play-in match, The Moab City Rec’ing Balls, who finished a close second to Team Zax in the Bloodied Pool, were too much for Team Americorps, second place in the Beaten Pool, to handle, advancing 5-0 into the quarterfinals.

In the other play-in match, the Dodgefathers, second place in the Bent Pool, were able to eliminate each member of Moab Roller Derby, second place in the Broken Pool, and secure their spot in the quarters.

The first quarterfinal matchup was hotly contested between Team Zax and Bent Pool top-seed Balls in Your Face, with Team Zax picking up a 2-0 victory before the officials ruled the two teams play a rematch because of differing interpretations of the rules.

Team Zax kept sending the last player eliminated back in each time one of their players caught the ball, rather than the player that had been eliminated the longest. In the rematch, Team Zax again fended off the opposition in a 2-0 victory.

In the other quarterfinal matches, the Rec’ing Balls beat Broken Pool top-seed Team Zissou, the Dodgefathers, perhaps the oldest team in the tournament, beat Bruised Pool No. 2 seed Middling Teens, easily the youngest team in the tournament, and Bruised Pool top-seed Hot for Teacher defeated Beaten Pool top-seed Grand Area Dementors.

Team Zissou earned some degree of consolation by winning the award for best costumes, which consisted of red beanies and blue tank tops. Team Americorps also earned a consolation prize by winning the sportsmanship award

Team Zax beat the Grand Area Dementors and the Rec’ing Balls outlasted the Dodgefathers to set up a rematch from pool play in the championship game.

The championship game was a back-and-forth battle of catches on balls grazing the opposition for eliminations until the Rec’ing Balls were finally able to dispatch Zax’s Kirt Patterson, who had been virtually unstoppable all day, catching just about everything thrown at him, for the upset victory and the championship.

The Moab City Rec’ing Balls was a team hastily assembled at the last minute by Moab City Recreation coordinator John Geiger. The team members were: Zak Hazlett, Marcus Ko, Nathan Turner, Jaydan Olsen, Macrae Olsen and David Olsen. They had their own cheering section consisting of Trudy Olsen, Delanee Olsen and Emree Olsen among others. Hazlett and college friends Ko and Turner weren’t even in town as of Friday, Jan. 11.

“John Geiger called us yesterday while we were up in Provo and asked us if we wanted to come down to Moab and play dodge ball,” Hazlett said.

David Olsen said the Rec’ing Balls didn’t expect to bounce back after losing their opening game of the day to Team Zax.

“We didn’t think we could come back, but we just stayed with it,” he said. “Some of our guys are really athletic so were able to hold our own. Really it comes down to pure luck.”

Geiger, who played for the Dodgefathers, said the inaugural Dodge Brawl was wildly fun and successful, something he and Moab Teen Center director Amy Stocks look forward to doing again.

“It was great. We had 20 teams, great costumes, awesome atmosphere,” Geiger said. “We raised over $600 for the Teen Center and had a blast doing it.

“Everybody was rooting each other on,” Geiger said. “We had some powerful throwers here today… It was great to see the Middling Teens make into bracket play.”

Stocks said she and the other teen center personnel saw dodge ball, a popular game among teens, as an opportunity to get the entire community involved in the Moab Teen Center.

“I think it was really successful and everyone had a great time today,” she said. “We had a great turnout. We look forward to another 20 teams next year.”

Stocks said the funds raised by the tournament will go to buy snacks and pay operating costs for Club Red.

“We may buy a DVD too,” she said. “We’ll buy the movie ‘DodgeBall’ for the teen center.”

So until next time, pirates, fathers, Eklecticats, teachers, students, Dementors and the demented will have to watch the movie for tips on how to be dodgeball champions, and if they don’t have the movie, it will soon be available at the Moab Teen Center.