The 39th annual Mississippi Mud Volleyball Tournament features 67 teams vying for the title, the largest bracket in the history of the event.

It's finally that time of year again.

The 39th annual Mississippi Mud Volleyball Tournament is scheduled for Friday, July 6 through Sunday, July 8 at the Y Men's Pavilion in downtown Hannibal.

The Mud Monstars look to defend their championship but face a larger field of teams than ever before. There will be 67 teams vying for the title this weekend, believed to be the largest bracket in the history of the revered event. 

“The bottomline is it's a good time and the priority is it's a fundraiser for the Hannibal YMCA,” said Darin Powell, one of the tournament organizers. “We hate to turn teams away. We're supposed to have a maximum of 64, so we had to get real creative on our scheduling to get 67 teams in.”

To accommodate more teams, there will be a play-in bracket involving six squads Friday afternoon.

The top three teams from last year receive first-round byes. 

“The negative is that we'll have three teams eliminated on Friday night and usually we don't start eliminating teams until Saturday morning,” Powell said. 

The youth tournament slated for Thursday night drew 21 teams to set a new high mark for the event.

“We've got younger teams playing and they're enjoying it, so now they're moving up to the main bracket, which is causing the main bracket to be very full," Powell said.

The main tournament has become a multi-generational tradition. 

Powell mentioned the blend of longtime teams and new squads make for a loaded field. 

“We've got some of the older teams who have been doing it for years that enjoy it so much they continue,” he said.

While organizers hope to come up with a different method to create the bracket next year if the field is more than 64 teams, they view the growing interest as a good problem to have.

The Y Men's Club invites the public to its pavilion at 100 Hill Street all weekend long.

Concessions and drinks will be available.

The youth tournament begins at 2 p.m. on Thursday, with the title match starting at about 9:30 p.m.

The main tournament runs from 2-10:30 p.m. on Friday; 7 a.m.-10 p.m. on Saturday; and 7:30 a.m. until all matches are finished Sunday.

Eight teams will make the final day of the main bracket.

The tournament is double-elimination.