For most AVP athletes, volleyball dominates our lives. The thing we’re most passionate about, the bringer of the highest highs and lowest lows. Our healthy addiction. But life is about balance. If all we focused on was volley, we’d certainly go crazy. So many AVP Athletes have other passions like art, hiking, cooking, blogging, video games, comics, and books. You name it, someone probably likes it.
Sometimes these side hustles morph into fully-fledged money-making endeavors. Billy Allen wrote an entire book (#jealous) – a world-building Sci-Fi novel called Good Blood. Nicolette Martin started a business by combining her two loves – volleyball and art – and is now slaying it with custom orders flooding her inbox. The Beard Bros, Riley and Maddison McKibbin, also combined two passions: volleyball and storytelling.
The brothers’ foray into content creation didn’t start with stories, though. Their now massively popular YouTube channel began with beach volleyball tutorials. I detailed this in a player profile on them last year, so I won’t exhaustively recount their efforts. The brass tacks: Riley and Maddison saw a need within the beach volleyball world, and they met it.
A few years later, the McKibbin Brothers YouTube channel has over a million views and almost 100K subscribers. But what’s more – Riley and Maddison have transitioned from tutorials into a more captivating endeavor.
First – they told their own stories. Then they transitioned to their friends like Tri Bourne and the Crabb brothers. They also detailed the complicated Olympic qualification process (thankful for the help there), and uploaded hours of game footage. Riley and Maddison have leveraged their talents into a mini-empire. Their YouTube channel is massively popular among our growing beach community, and they’re always dreaming up new ideas for content.
Ultimately, Riley and Maddison just love volleyball and want to better the game. This weekend, they’re throwing a stacked 4’s tournament in Austin, TX. They realized a few years ago when they featured an AVP vs. NBA 4-man Tournament that fans love a 4-person team. For whatever reason, those videos were reaching more people and garnering more buzz than any other.
Since then, Riley and Maddison have partnered with SharpeVision to put on a few 4-person events. This weekend’s sold-out event in Austin will feature April Ross, Taylor Crabb, and other Cali-based pros playing against teams built from Austin and other parts of the nation, including Atlanta Champs Taryn Kloth and Kristen Nuss. There’s no Livestream, but you better believe the post-production footage will be fire.
With sponsorship and ticket sales, the McKibbins have secured a $20K purse and are putting the athletes up in a massive lake house (talk about some quality content right there). I’ll definitely be tuning in to their channel in the coming weeks to see the event and whatever’s gonna go down at that lake house.
Riley and Maddison just have great ideas and even better execution. Their ability to tell stories and produce excellent content has grown our sport and grown their skill level. Massive corporations have noticed.
Wilson Volleyball, who was once just a sponsor for their beach partnership, has now entrusted the majority of their beach volleyball marketing to the McKibbins. Riley and Maddison are tasked with introducing Wilson athletes to the fans, creating the characters and showing their personalities through video creation.
Another massive entity that noticed them – The Amazing Race. Our guys killed it on that show, reaching the final and only missing out on 1st or 2nd place due to a stupid plastic baby. (I became a super fan during their tenure and have clearly not gotten over the injustice.)
The McKibbin Brothers’ once side hustle has now become as much their focus as playing beach volleyball. I once asked if they planned to hang up their swim trunks and focus solely on content creation. They scoffed at the idea. Riley and Maddison, at their core, are beach volleyball players. They’re not retiring anytime soon. They’ve set themselves up pretty nicely to do the two. Even more, both endeavors are better because of their involvement in the other. Now that is the dream.