DEWEY BEACH, Del. -- When volleyball is the game on the beach, amateur player Jon Meadows figures it's better to compete than to watch.
That's why Meadows, of Pasadena, Md., will be among some 500 amateur volleyball players, including about 100 from Maryland, competing in the annual Jose Cuervo Volleyball Series tomorrow and Sunday on this resort town's beaches.
The top two teams in each of the men's and women's Open divisions -- for skilled players -- will win an all-expenses-paid trip to Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, Fla., for the sport's only national amateur championship tournament.
About 130 players from across the nation will advance to the championship, held Sept. 19 and 20, where they will vie for $25,000 in prizes.
Dewey Beach is the seventh stop on the 14-city tournament tour, which began in Honolulu in May and ends in Florida in September.
Last year, 223 teams competed in Dewey Beach before hundreds of spectators. So many teams and spectators showed up that some division contests were moved to the beaches at Delaware Seashore State Park.
"It's very competitive," said Meadows, 29, an engineer who frequents Dewey Beach and got his first taste of competition last summer in the men's B division.
Meadows and his partner, David Wright, 33, of Baltimore, went 2-2 their first time out, failing to advance after losing to another two-man team with the same record.
"I think we'll do a little better this year," Meadows said.
He and Wright, a technical writer, will compete this weekend in the men's intermediate or A division, as well as the B division, for playerswith little or no tournament experience.
Although Meadows said he doesn't think the pair will place in the A division, competing against more experienced players will allow them good practice.
Winners in the men's and women's A and B and co-ed divisions will not win prizes. The idea is to gain experience, organizers said.
However, all participants receive a tournament T-shirt and are eligible for prizes, ranging from beach towels and umbrellas to volleyball sets and sports bags.
"For us, it's just a lot of fun," Meadows said. "It gives you a little competition and you're guaranteed to play at least four games."
Amateur volleyball players may still register to compete in the tournament by doing so at the event.
Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. The cost is $35. Tournament play begins each day at 9 a.m.