2019 MEMORIAL CHAMPIONSHIP
This past weekend I traveled to the Disc Golf Pro Tour’s Memorial Championship presented by Discraft in Scottsdale, Arizona. Part of my goal with Wander and our blog is to share our experiences traveling, playing, and watching my favorite sport. This was my first ever DGPT experience and I had a phenomenal time. The event itself was run smoothly and everyone I encountered was extremely nice and helpful.
I flew into the Phoenix area on Wednesday night and attended the Discraft putting clinic and Q & A with Paul Ulibarri, Brian Earhart, and Paul McBeth. The clinic was their first together and it was insightful listening to 3 of the top pros in our sport. I was able to meet and chat with Brian Earhart for about 10 minutes after the clinic. To be honest I wasn’t familiar with Brian’s background until Jacob Sanders said Brian would be an excellent fit as a Wander Ambassador. Jacob sent me the link to Brian’s blog (http://www.thebearhartblog.com) and I was blown away after reading all of his posts.
After reading his latest about disc golf and depression I knew we were kindred spirits. I knew I would be able to talk to him about my background without judgment and explain the concept of Wander in detail. I knew he would understand where I was coming from and why I am doing this. That may not seem like a big deal to everyone but to have that comfort going into a conversation with a person you’ve never met before can have a major impact on the outcome of that conversation. Needless to say, I was still nervous explaining my business and my background, but we ended up having a wonderful conversation.
The best part, and something I’ll never forget, is at the end of our conversation he asked if he could give me a hug. For anyone out there who’s battled through their inner demons, a gesture like that means the world to me and is the epitome of what I want to be as a person. That hug was an acknowledgement that we understand the pain we’ve gone through and the better days we are currently experiencing. I want to give a huge “thank you” to Brian and hope everyone who reads this gives him a follow and supports him on tour.
I woke up the next day on a high as I had met some of the top pros in the world the day before and was about to start my first round at Vista Del Camino. Before starting my warm up, I stopped by the local disc golf shop, Spinner’s on the Green, and made my first sale! I put together some custom stickers outlining the state of Arizona while highlighting the majority of their 18 hole (or more) courses along with a few other additions thanks to my Arizona informant, Ryan Mapus. I sold 50 of them to Spinners on Thursday morning and when I went back on Sunday it looked to me that Spinners had already sold over half of them. That was something special to see and gave me confidence that my designs could sell.
The event itself lasted 3 days for Am’s and 4 days for Pro’s. I played on the Am side while our Ambassador Jacob played on the Pro side. I think it’s safe to say neither of us played as well as we had hoped coming into the event. The courses and weather were pristine yet, my game was the exact opposite of the conditions. The good thing is I didn’t let my play affect my mood at all. I had the time of my life playing the event. I played with people from Arizona, Indiana, Michigan, California, Massachusetts, Alabama, Nevada, Wisconsin, and France. Not one person I played with was from the same state. That’s a pretty cool experience in my book. They were all wanderers just like me traveling the country, playing the game they love, meeting new people, and gaining invaluable experiences they won’t soon forget.
One of the reasons I chose the Memorial as my first event was to take photos of the iconic Fountain Hills Disc Golf course (confirmed iconic by AJ Risley). If you don’t know, our objective is to create artistic interpretations of real world disc golf scenery. Fountain Hills will be one of our first interpretations we create so I went out there to experience the environment first hand and take as many photos as I could. We will put together an artistic image of the course and create hats and shirts with our images on them. Fountain Hills is the most aesthetically pleasing course I’ve ever played. I for one can’t wait to see what our design team can come up with to show off the beauty of this area of the country.
The weekend flew by. I had a fantastic time. I went all the way to Arizona by myself to start my dream company. It’s just the beginning and there’s no telling what the future holds, but I’m proud of the courage I had to convey my ideas to people I’ve never met. I’d like to thank the DGPT, Spinners on the Green, and all the volunteers for running such an amazing event. I’d like to thank all of people I met or talked to and let me share our story and objectives. Lastly, I’d like to thank Paul McBeth, Kevin Jones, Paige Pierce, Jeremy Koling, Simon Lizotte, and 2019 Memorial Champion Eagle McMahon for signing discs that will be auctioned off as part of the disc golf day at Principal Park on September 20ththis year here in Des Moines, Iowa.
I’m back in the frozen tundra that is Des Moines, currently wishing I could recreate the weather from this past week. The next A-tier tournament I’ll be attending is the Rumble in the Quad Cities (IA and IL) in mid-April. The field is looking stacked and Jomez will be there, so I’m sure it will be a great time and an opportunity to meet some more people. In the meantime our hats and shirts should be done in the next few weeks and will be available on our website! So please look out for those and keep wandering until next time!