The Showdown in Shelton Shows the Flight Crew a Good Time
Shelton, WA has always been a special spot for me. A home away from home that I have been visiting for the last 20 years on the 4th of July to frolick on the banks of the Skokomish River (and play some disc golf) on our friends' 40 acres of paradise complete with private 18 hole pin course. So when I heard that some of our buddies had gotten together with a few other locals (aka Mason County Disc Golf, aka MCDG) to build a magnificent course with *gasp* baskets (aka Shelton Springs), you can imagine my delight. And perhaps you can imagine how very important it would be to show up and represent Next Adventure's Flight Crew in their 2 day, B tier event... which of course is held around the same time as the PDGA World Championships. Worlds was a no-go for me this year so thank goodness the Showdown in Shelton was there to take away the sting and give me something to look forward to.
My dad and I (wouldn't be here without the old man!) traveled up Friday night to the beautiful home of our friends Chris and Melody Auseth where we were lucky enough to be staying for the weekend. After a few beers and some cold chillin' we hit the sack. Dad got the guest room and, as Junior was staying with Mel's mama for the weekend, I camped out in his room... with his larger than life teddy bear (aka Next Adventure Bear)... spooky at first, but then oh, so snugglesome and cozy once I got used to him.
Not gonna lie, felt a distinct advantage over everyone else in the tournament that these were my sleeping arrangements.
Saturday morning I awoke to the heavenly sounds of coffee grinding and percing and sausage and eggs being grilled up for breakfast sandwiches (individually wrapped in tin foil, assembled to specific dietary needs and left on the kitchen counter by Chris, who was off super duper early to help with the finishing details of readying the course and the assembly of the player's packs).
Tournament Central under the power lines.
The Shelton Springs disc golf course is a long, beast of a course that meanders it's way around a fir and pine forest just on the outskirts of Shelton, WA, on the Olympic Peninsula. The distinctive natural feature, in my mind, of this course is the wicked lush undergrowth of Salal interspersed with huckleberries (ripe this time of year!) and the veryvery narrow openings off the teepads. Especially when playing the Blacks. MCDG put much thought as well as time and effort and muscle into this course. It was designed with two sets of tees (Red = Amateur, Black = Pro) that are distinctly different golf courses, despite the fact that they use the same fairways. The tee pads themselves are a thing of beauty... color coded, roughly textured concrete with the MCDG logo stamped into the back of each one... any disc golfer's dream. The course in it's brilliance also makes use of a vast expanse of field that runs underneath some power lines that buzz and click and vibrate away as you throw beneath them. This field can often act as a viciously squirrelly whirly wind tunnel but we were lucky this weekend and there was only a touch of breeze that I ever felt.
|Next Adventure Flight Crew Member, Joey Moro, getting ready to pay attention at the player's meeting with some other Oregonians that made the trip and represented.|
|Tournament Director, Chris Gilberts (Morgan Rothrock, our other fearless leader prefers to stay hidden in the background) reading through the generous sponsors and impressive list of local volunteers that helped to make the Showdown happen.|
This event was impressively and exceptionally well run. We, as players, were treated like kings and queens from the player's packs (I totally don't get one as a pro, but I saw them), the most delicious lunch I have ever been served at a tournament (salmon, roast yams with honey, amazing fresh herbs and greens salad, soft bread with pesto butter and piles and piles of desserts including pink lemonade cupcakes and lemon bars), a fantastic camping area (if you weren't lucky enough to stay with the Auseth's in Junior's room) where the player's party also took place (about the player's party I will say not much more than this: chin up competition in the shelter, two kegs, some local dude immediately handed me a margarita and trays and trays of what people promised me was the best mac and cheese they'd ever had... I, being of a sensitive digestive nature, could not partake but am sure it was stellar), amazingly heavy trophies, to the huge payouts and just the most fantastically kind and welcoming crew you could ever hope for.
Open Women's Card
Emma Rose Hanley, Hollis Rothrock-Quandt, Ashley Harris & Tanya Spence
Joey enjoys some down time (and cupcakes) with Oregonians Sean Phillips and Gawain Stern and Washington disc golf mover and shaker, Mike Rideout.
I am happy to say, this was my best tournament performance to date, putting together 3 solid rounds and finishing the weekend playing an average of 16 points above my rating. Wanna know my secret? Fairway drivers (for me that's a 159g glow Leopard) off the tee and hitting my putts (only one "bad" putt all weekend and missed maybe 4 or 5 inside the circle).
Another thing the Showdown did well was their awards ceremony. It took place at the Grove Street Brewery in downtown Shelton so there was good beer, plenty of room for players and the enormous trophies (up to 3rd place recieved 20 lb. cement tombstones that emulate their tee markers in every division... below third place recieved teeny tiny "trophy of shame" versions) and theme music for the winners as we walked up to accept our awards (I of course talked too loudly and for too long to hear my theme song being played... my only regret of the weekend).
The Big Screen.
Told ya it's a classy event.
|Emma Rose Hanley and John Anderson, Open Champions, Showdown in Shelton II, July 21st and 22nd, 2012|
Thank you, Mason County Disc Golf. You run a fine event. You know I'll be back... and I'm going to bring everyone I know with me. Truth.