Spiked Punch

Mad hops and beer hops join forces when the AVP Pro Beach Volleyball Tour serves up the Tempe Open from Friday, April 23, through Sunday, April 25, at Tempe Beach Park. Think the Town Lake is a sorry substitute for Manhattan Beach? Not so, according to two-time Olympian Holly McPeak. With the transplanted sand making for a harder surface than the soft stuff she's accustomed to, McPeak says the Tempe Open "plays quick." "The players get higher, the spikes and blocks are greater, everyone's jumping at everything," says McPeak, looking to improve on last year's third-place finish. The Library Bar & Grill hosts its first "Rock-N-Roll Luau" at the park, on Mill Avenue and Rio Salado Parkway, as part of the tournament festivities; the Hawaiian-themed party -- including beer, food and live music -- starts at 5 p.m. Saturday. Admission to the tournament is free for students with ID, $10 for everyone else, and $17 for a weekend pass. The luau costs $10, $3 with an AVP wristband. See for details. -- Joe Watson

Cliff Hangers
Rock climbers compete for cash

When a fringe sport finds even moderate success in the oversaturated market of the Valley, it's a pleasant surprise. But when rock climbing draws thousands of spectators to one event, well, that's downright goofy. Be that as it may, the 21st annual Phoenix Boulder Blast flourishes once again at the Oak Flat Campground of Queen Creek Canyon from Friday, April 23, through Sunday, April 25. Competitors from all skill levels -- including climbing pros Chris Sharma and Lisa Rands -- will be gripping and clawing it out for $10,000 in cash prizes. Tickets are $10 at the event. See for directions or call 520-320-1880. -- Joe Watson

Sizing Up the Competition
Cars and trucks battle at Firebird

Sat 4/24
In locker rooms and jewelry stores, bigger means better. And at the Coors Light Monster Truck and Jet Car Jam, lesser vehicles are going to feel downright inadequate. Ten gargantuan trucks take to the field at Firebird Raceway this Saturday, April 24. Bigfoot, Scarlet Bandit and Bounty Hunter throw their weight around, crushing cars like Godzilla in a traffic jam. (Wonder how he was endowed.) And those who admire finesse more than size can put their hands over their hearts as 6,000-horsepower jet cars blaze into the night.

Gates open at 4 p.m., and families can party in the pits until 5:30. The main event revs up at 7. Tickets are $24 to $42, and kids 12 and under sit free in general admission seats. To reach Firebird Raceway, take I-10 to the Wild Horse Pass exit in Chandler. For more information, call 602-268-0200 or visit -- Kim Toms

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Kim Toms
Joe Watson