The USA Men’s Volleyball Team won Olympic gold in 2008. Just three years later, scheduled to play at the Pyramid for World League, a sell out crowd was not expected. Two-time Olympian Kevin Barnett issued a challenge to the So Cal volleyball community on his podcast The Net Live: show up or stop complaining about a lack of elite volleyball in your area.

Long Beach resident Matt Garthoff took up that challenge, organizing a tailgate party around the event. Encouraged by the reaction of his friends and Team USA, Matt grew the event from a few dozen locals to nearly one thousand partygoers over the next 5 years. Now, the Vol-B-Que is a much anticipated event that gives the team what it deserves—a true home court advantage.

ATTENDANCE BY EVENT

VBQ1 45guests
VBQ2 300guests
VBQ3 520guests
VBQ4 685guests
VBQ5 Goal 1000guests

Vol-B-Que through the years

VOL-B-QUE

The first Vol-B-Que wasn’t even called Vol-B-Que. It wasn’t called anything. It was just a few dozen friends, a portable grill and an RV. But it turned out to be a lot of fun and, when the Team USA bus came around the corner to cheers and flag waving, a new tradition was born.

JULY 2, 2011

• World League: USA v. Puerto Rico
• USA won 3-0 (25-13, 25-22, 25-19)
• VBQ was in the Pyramid parking lot

VOL-B-QUE II

The second event was the first to be called “Vol-B-Que” and represented a quantum leap forward in terms of scale. We hosted 300 guests on the huge fields behind the arena and catered a phenomenal BBQ meal for all of ’em. The costume contests and team bus greeting were added. Beach volleyball legend Sinjin Smith was our grand marshal. Volleyball VIPs showed up. It was AMAZING! And to top it all off, the USA men won the tournament and qualified for the 2012 London Games.

MAY 12, 2012

• NORCECA: USA v. Canada
• USA won 3-0 (28-26, 25-18, 25-20)
• USA qualified for the 2012 Olympics!
• Grand Marshal: Sinjin Smith
• New to VBQ: USA bus greeting
• VBQ was on the intramural field

VOL-B-QUE III

VBQ took a hiatus in 2013 as Team USA didn’t play at the Pyramid, but we more than made up for it the following year. Lauren Schoenherr, of the USA Volleyball Foundation, made it her mission to help us take Vol-B-Que to the next level. We made VBQ3 into a fundraiser for the Foundation, added a ton of great features and moved our location to the front lawns. We had 520 guests attend in their red, white & blue to make it a day to remember. Team USA gave Russia a beat-down in 3-straight sets and a new bar was set for Vol-B-Que events.

JUNE 7, 2014

• World League: USA v. Russia
• USA won 3-0 (25-19, 25-23, 25-17)
• Grand Marshal: Matt Fuerbringer
• Partner: USAV Foundation
• New to VBQ: parade, tri-ball
• VBQ was on the Pyramid front lawns

VOL-B-QUE IV

The near perfection of VBQ3 gave us a blueprint for the event, but what a tough act to follow! We added a silent auction, invited 3x Olympian and gold medalist Tom Hoff to be our Grand Marshal and had Cassidy Lichtman of the USA Women’s team in the house. And VBQers responded. The costumes were spectacular, the energy was infectious and we had nearly 700 people join the party. After an embarrassing loss the prior year, Team Russia traveled some of their better players but the result was the same—USA sweep 3-0!

JUNE 6, 2015

• World League: USA v. Russia
• USA won 3-0 (25-23, 25-21, 25-16)
• Grand Marshal: Tom Hoff
• Partner: USAV Foundation
• New to VBQ: silent auction
• VBQ was on the Pyramid front lawns

VOL-B-QUE V

VBQV sets up, almost magically, to be the most exciting Vol-B-Que yet. It’s an Olympic year, we’re hosting FIVB World Grand Prix in the Pyramid just 6 weeks before Rio and, for the first time ever, we get to do a VBQ for the USA Women’s team! You know, the #1 team in the world. The World Champions. #Karching. While we haven’t announced our Grand Marshal yet, you better believe it’s going to be a biggie. And we added progressive pricing to tickets this year to encourage early purchases, so get your VBQV tickets now before they’re gone!

JUNE 18, 2016

• World Grand Prix: USA v. Japan
• Result: TBD
• Grand Marshal: TBD
• New to VBQ: USA Women’s Team!
• VBQ is on the Pyramid front lawns

I've never played in a more significant match on U.S. soil and the support we felt matched the significance of the match. It was awesome. I'll never forget it.
–Reid Priddy, USA Captain & Gold Medalist

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