Battle at the Fort Tournament Biggest in Region

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For the past two weekends Fort Smith has been home to one of the nation's largest volleyball tournaments.
"It's a tournament we've held for 15 years here, we rent the convention center for two weeks," said Director of Fort Smith Juniors volleyball club Greg Hale.  "We have 197 teams come from about five different states to participate.  We have girls playing from age 10 to 18."

The Battle of the Fort is massive.  It takes nine courts and all day play to finish the event, making this a favorite among players.

"I like it because it's a good experience for others," said Violette Muzlndi of Greenwood.  "You can play each other from different states, so you get more experience and you get better."

"It's fun to make friends and see them at all different tournaments during the year," said Kaitlyn Slater of Fort Smith.

Not only do the players love this tournament but the city of Fort Smith looks forward to this event every year.

"The city tells us that the Battle at the Fort has the biggest economic impact of any sporting event held in the city," said Hale.  "We are proud to be a part of what we can do to support the city economics."

The courts are shipped from Minneapolis, Minn. and it takes a lot of effort and planning to put everything together.

"We spent months getting it ready.  You have to rent out the center years in advance. Get the courts in, put the courts together,"  said tournament director Lee Dewey.  "Everything we do from the hospitality room to doing the schedule, it takes a lot of people and a lot of time to pull this off."

The tournament concludes its two weekend event Sunday Feb. 2 with bracket play to determine a champion.