by Cori Hilsgen
A record number of 122 people showed up Jan. 17 to participate in the 23rd annual St. Cloud Ice Bowl disc-golf tournament held at the Millstream Lions Park in St. Joseph. The event raised $9,442.28 for local food shelves. Total money collected came from pledges, donations, entrance fees, a silent auction and more.
The tournament kicked off with first-time organizer Cody Parsons standing on top of a concrete picnic table giving instructions, while a few friends lobbed snowballs back and forth, a young girl built a snowman and friends joked with each other.
Parsons, who has been involved with the Bowl for three years, said he stepped up as organizer when past coordinator Rick Rentz was ready to pass down the torch.
With 30-mph winds, the temperature felt much colder than the upper 30 degrees it was, and players had a breeze to factor in when throwing their discs.
Newsleader employee Logan Gruber, Sartell, and his friend John Holdvogt, New Munich, participated in the tournament for their first time, competing in the Amateur division. Gruber finished 34 of 39 and Holdvogt finished 33 of 39 in their division.
Overall, the two finished 117 and 116, respectively, of 122 players. Gruber didn’t think that was too bad for two guys who hardly ever play.
He said one of his favorite things about the event and disc golf is the camaraderie shared by players, who are willing to give out pointers and help each other out. Gruber said he found the event to be a friendly competition.
“When you sign up for the tournament, they place you on a card with a few other people, and each card is assigned one of the 25 holes to begin play at,” Gruber said. “Once everyone has walked to their hole and is in position, the tournament organizer lets out a loud howl, and everyone within earshot howls with him until the howl is heard at every hole. It was a very unique and exciting way to begin the tournament.”
Jacob Glover, Jeremy Glover and Ben Stadther, all of St. Cloud, and Jason Krebsbach, St. Augusta, competed in the tournament. Jacob Glover also brought his German Shepherd named Chesty to the event.
Long-time friends Krebsbach and Stadther have been participating in the event for about 15 years. Jeremy Glover has been participating about five years and Jacob Glover has been participating about three years.
“This is one of the warmest Ice Bowl events held here,” Jeremy Glover said. “I look forward to this every year. Last year we played in Las Vegas, and they couldn’t believe we have tournaments here. It’s for a great cause with good people. It’s great to have some fun today. The strong breeze feels like zero degrees and makes it interesting.”
Stadther explained about the “no wimps, no whining rule.” If someone whines about things such as the weather, snow, ice or other things during the event, they are required to pay a “tax.” In fact, some people just put in $20 at the start of the event to cover their whining.
Craig McNitt, Minneapolis, came with his Chesapeake Bay Retriever named Hershey to take photos of his friends participating in the event. He said he comes to spend time with his buddies who compete in the Bowl.
Parsons said in the past, a 100-person layout with 20 holes and five people on each scorecard has been used. Because of extra players this year, five more holes were added to accommodate the 122 players. Parsons said they will be changing the layout of the holes played so they can accommodate 125 players next year and in the future.
“Winter rules” apply to the Bowl. If players lose a disc in the snow, they don’t get penalized for it when they normally would in the regular season. The player with the lowest round wins the division he/she played in.
Competing divisions included Open Pro, Master Pro, Advanced, Amateur, Youth and Women. One winner was Ross Brandt, Bloomington, for the Open Pro. He has won this event the last four years. Todd Grundehoefer, Sartell, won the Master Pro and is the leader in fundraising donations. This year he raised $1,560 and has collected a total of $14,926.
The Advanced winner was Brady Hanna, Iowa City, Iowa. The Amateur division had three first-place winners. They were Boris Gordin, St. Joseph; Dave Sargent, Minneapolis; and Jared Cowles, Paynesville. Megan Matsen, Minneapolis, was the women’s champion.
Parsons said many of the players showed their true character by donating their winnings.
Parsons said the St. Joseph Public Works Department once again had the park ready for the tournament, making sure snow was removed around the pavilion and garbage cans were lined with bags.
The Ice Bowl disc-golf tournament is sponsored by the St. Cloud Disc Golf Club and is part of national fundraising efforts to support local charities. The St. Cloud tournament raises money for the St. Joseph Food Shelf, Salvation Army and the Catholic Charities Caritas Food Shelf.
The organization has raised almost $150,000 during the past 22 years. Originally held in 1993 at the Riverside Park in St. Cloud, it moved to St. Joseph in 2001 and has been held there since.
Parsons said he’s ready to plan his second tournament again next year.
“Now, I have 365 more days to plan for the next Ice Bowl,” Parsons said. “I’m looking forward to it.”