Mountain Run Disc Golf Club’s charity disc golf tournament has already exceeded its goal.
The MRDGC Jesters Ice Bowl, sent for Jan. 6 at Spillman Park in Jeffersonton, has already raised more than the $300 the first year the tournament was hosted in 2016.
“We had a small group of participants, 27, and were playing on a temporary course at Spilman Park, set up just for the occasion,” said Dennis Lutero, the President and founder of Mountain Run Disc Golf Club. The club raised $300 and collected 130 pounds of food items for the Culpeper Food Closet and Lutero says they’ve already raised more than that this year. “We’re hoping to hit a ‘personal best,’ beating our last Ice Bowl in number of participants and donations to the Food Closet,” he said.
The MRDGC has picked up more sponsors in the past few weeks. Joining Martin’s Foods of Culpeper, the main sponsor, is Foster’s Grille of Warrenton, Olympia Sports, of Warrenton, and BION, Inc., of Manassas. BION, Inc., donated $200 to the Culpeper Food Closet.
“I’m pleasantly surprised,” Lutero said of the response from the community supporting the tournament.
The success of the Jesters Ice Bowl can be traced to the popularity of disc golf, which Lutero found by happenstance one Thanksgiving.
“I was at my brothers and we were looking for a football, and found the disc instead,” he said. “I went to look for one at the store and found disc golf and just got hooked.”
He approached John Barrett, director of Culpeper County Parks and Rec, about locating a course in Culpeper County and the idea laid dormant for a time before Barrett contacted him about the county receiving grant money for a 27-acre course at Spillman Park.
“Before the course, Spillman Park was the best kept secret in Culpeper County,” Lutero said.
Now, families and disc golfers are routinely taking in the sights of the county while playing.
“It’s a way to get out in nature and it’s inexpensive,” Lutero said. “It’s not that high of a barrier to do a round of disc golf.”
Lutero said that disc golf can be as simple as throwing a Frisbee but that the technique can refined and constantly practiced.
“It’s simple to learn and can take a lifetime to master,” Lutero said.
The Professional Disc Golf Association has players that are older than 80 and Lutero said he has seen families with children as young as four playing at the disc golf course at Spillman. He said the popularity of the sport has grown and he routinely hears from people traveling from Fredericksburg or Northern Virginia to play in Culpeper County.
“It’s not an exaggeration to say it’s grown exponentially over the past 5-10 years,” he said.
The goal for this year’s Ice Bowl is to reach $1,000 and the funds will be donated to the Food Closet, an outreach mission of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church that provides food and some personal care products to Culpeper families and individuals in need.
Disc golfers, both experienced and those new to the sport, are invited to register at https://www.discgolfscene.com/tournaments/MRDGC_Jesters_Ice_Bowl_2018, $25 for amateurs, $30 for advanced players.
Ice Bowls hosted by disc golf clubs have a history dating back to 1987. The first Disc Golf Ice Bowl was held in Columbia, Missouri, the vision of Ice Bowl founder Rick Rothstein. It was subsequently promoted as a day of disc golf solidarity in the gloom of winter by Disc Golf World, a disc golf sales and promotion company that is located in Kansas City. Official Ice Bowls are played at courses all over the United States, and in Canada and Europe from January 6th to February 25th this year. Each event finds a charity to support. In 2016, over $357,000 was raised at 225 Ice Bowls around the world.