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2012 NAAC starts tomorrow!
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2012 NAAC starts tomorrow!

2012 NAAC starts tomorrow!

Tomorrow morning The Next Adventure Amateur Championship will kick off its third year.  This will be the largest Amateur-only tournament in the Pacific Northwest.  Every year, the NAAC is run like a well-oiled machine by Steve Carson and our very own Flight Crew member Ryan Gwillim.  These guys give players and spectators not just a tournament, but a weekend full of disc golf, food, music, and much more.  

With the NAAC only a day away I asked Ryan a few questions about the history and future of the NAAC.  

The NAAC… How was it founded and what was the original vision that you and Steve had? 

In 2009, after Next Adventure spent a few years sponsoring other events, including Firefly events, Bryan came to Steve and I with the desire to run their own event.  What culminated was the “Clash on the Columbia” which was a C-Tier that we held at Leverich Park.  With Next Adventure taking ownership of the event we were able to step up the payout, give away bigger player packs, and provide great food.  The Clash on the Columbia proved to be a pretty huge success with 107 players and great reviews from the participants.  When Steve and I run an event we always have post-event meetings to discuss what was good, bad, and how we could improve.  During the post-Clash meeting I remember Bryan being really stoked on how well the event went.  I can remember him saying something to the effect of, “How can we make it BIGGER!  I want more players!”.  In fact, I’m pretty sure that if Bryan had his way we’d have 1,000 participants or more, lol.  We decided that we needed a bigger course, and we chose Pier Park.  We also decided to change the name to the Next Adventure Amateur Championship, which we believe holds more weight.   Ever since then we’ve been trying to find ways to have as many people in the tournament as possible.

Has anything changed from that original vision? 

I would say that we have “improved” our vision, but haven’t changed it. We have made some goals that are pretty lofty.  One goal is coming to fruition this year with the A-Tier classification.   We have bigger goals but they are private for now.  I’ll say that we would like to see more players travelling from outside the region.  The A-Tier classification gives us a much larger draw and more publicity, which has helped immensely with getting us noticed.

What is the biggest surprise you’ve had running the NAAC? 

Next Adventure’s generosity!  We meet with Bryan at least a dozen times starting all the way back in January for planning.  Every year Next Adventure puts more and more into the event in terms of support.  Not just financially either!  This year, for instance, Bryan worked with us building the trophies in his garage. He totally doesn’t have to do that sort of thing, but he loves it and he takes great pride in what we’re doing, we all do.

What do you see for the future of the NAAC?

BIGGER!  I’m never one to divulge things that aren’t set in stone so I won’t go into any specifics, but we have big plans! 

A new addition to this year’s NAAC is the fantasy disc golf tournament. What type of prizes are people competing for? 

The grand prize is an Innova Traveler basket.  There will be some smaller prizes for second and third place, some tournament items etc.  We are really excited to add this feature to the event.  Anything that engages people in the action helps the “feel” of the event.  I’m really excited that we have about 40 people signed up for the fantasy event. Also, the fantasy event is open for anyone to play.  I would love for it to get to the point where player’s spouses, family members, co-workers, and friends join in the fun and follow the action!

Lastly, are there any funny or crazy behind the scenes stories from running the NAAC the last three years that you’d like to share with the readers? 

Most of the crazy stories involve Steve or I royally screwing something up, and then having to figure out how to fix it before anyone notices.  If no one can remember those moments, we did good.  As for specific things that happened, I can remember having to talk to a guy that was incredibly angry that the course was closed.  He actually stormed over from hole 1 with the intention of yelling at someone (me) until he got his way and we let him and his buddies play.  As he approached tournament central, which was all decked out with electronics, dozens of people, and food, he started to realize that the event was actually a “real event”.  I greeted him and instead of yelling at me the guy was fairly subdued.  Much different than the yelling I heard on the radio when I had our guys at hole one send him over.  We came to an understanding and he politely left the course.

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