The official Isla Vista Beer Pong League, which showcases some of the best talent I.V. has to offer, begins its seven-week tournament next week.
Sign-ups for the league, which is now in its fifth quarter, are currently underway. Those looking to join should stop by Giovanni’s pizza to put their names down. Participants must be 21 years of age and live in I.V.
Additionally, it is recommended that all participants know how to hold their liquor.
“It’s a shit show,” Keith Russell, the current I.V. League Commissioner, said. “It’s a group of drinking game enthusiasts that decided to take things to another level.”
According to Russell, the league coordinates one home and one away game each week and posts the records on the IVBPL Facebook group.
The 24 teams with the best records from the regular season advance to the championship tournament at Giovanni’s.
“We usually have four or five tables playing at once in the championships,” Russell said.
The champions of the IVBPL have the additional opportunity to compete on a larger scale – namely, at the World Series of Beer Pong in Las Vegas. According to Russell, pending sufficient funds, part of the prize for winning the I.V. League is free registration for the cup in Vegas, and the chance to compete among some of the world’s best drinkers.
“We guarantee a $500 cash prize to the winning team, and if we have enough money left over after, we send that team to Vegas to compete in the World Series,” Russell said. “We usually give $100 to the second-place team and tables or gift certificates to third and fourth.”
Sean Doucet, the owner of Giovanni’s, said he enjoys hosting the IVBPL tournaments.
“It’s a legitimate league and it’s great to see everyone there,” Doucet said. “There are high spirits, and I like the competitive atmosphere of it. At the beginning it was stressful because of coordination, but we haven’t had any problems.”
Russell said the best part about the I.V. league, though, is that no one has to worry about some of the legal dangers associated with drinking in I.V.
“Everyone has to be 21 to play, and our league is restricted to players who live in I.V. so we don’t have to worry about anyone driving home from games drunk,” Russell said.
Brandon Meister, a fourth-year physiology major, participated in the league last fall and said that it was an opportunity to meet other students with an appreciation for the game.
“It was a lot of fun to do something so local,” Meister said. “It got a little too competitive at the end and some people didn’t play fair, but we got to meet some really chill people, and they should have a good year coming up.”
John Felts, a chemical engineering major who graduated in 2008, won one of the first official tournaments and was sent to Las Vegas to represent Isla Vista in the World Series.
“Initially when we signed up for the tournament, we didn’t know what we would win,” Felts said. “We really wanted the $500, but the World Series was an unreal experience. There was an entire room of this huge hotel set aside just for beer pong. Hundreds of tables were playing. It was intense.”
Felts said he was grateful to have played in the league and was impressed with Russell’s leadership and organization of the league.
“It’s really cool that this has gotten all the way to Gio’s, because the first year our neighbors won, and everyone played in their garage,” Felts said. “They didn’t have Gio’s to play in or all these people to play with, but we did and future generations will, and that’s awesome.”
Although Russell will be graduating this year, he said he is confident the legacy of the I.V. Beer Pong League will continue in the future.
“Basically me and a few friends run the show, but the management at Gio’s is getting more involved each quarter, so hopefully the league can live on when we’re gone,” Russell said.
The league starts up next week, and is looking for beer pong enthusiasts to join. Russell said the registration fee is $15 for new players, and $10 for returning players and ladies.
“To sign up, stop by Gio’s anytime this week with your team name, IDs, and preferred nights of play,” Russell said. “The rules we use are a combination of the World Series of Beer Pong rules and common I.V. house rules, so you should feel right at home.”