US National Guts Frisbee returns to Marquette this weekend

Marquette’s Dalton Duguette tosses the frisbee durring the US National Guts Frisbee Tournament Saturday evening August 5, 2017 at Tourist Park in Marquette, MI. (Journal photo by Corey Kelly)

MARQUETTE — In this 60-year anniversary of the invention of the sport, the U.S. National Guts Frisbee Tournament returns to Marquette this weekend, Aug. 4-5, at Tourist Park Campground in Marquette.

Competition is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day, with the championship match slated for 6 p.m. Sunday.

Admission is free. Fans are encouraged to bring their lawn chairs and favorite beverages, though organizers ask that it not be in glass containers.

Sixteen teams are signed up with more expected right up until the night before the event to vie for the Craig “Buck” Buchanan Memorial Trophy.

Four Marquette teams are among the 16, including O’Malley’s Alley, which knocked off the six-time defending champion Appleton, Wisconsin, Assassins for the 2017 title. The Appleton team will return.

Members of this year’s O’Malley’s team are Marquette residents Justin Verigin, Cam Verigin, Adam Gannon, Mike Mullett and Mike Houle; Marquette native and current Lansing-area resident Will Walden; and Lansing-area resident Michael Banghart, whose father Mark Banghart was named to the USA Guts Hall of Fame last year.

Other Marquette-based teams entered are sponsored by Togo’s, which will also be the food vendor for the weekend, Wooden Nickel Bar and U.P. Wood Flooring.

Teams can still enter by calling tournament director Kurt Lahtinen at 362-5878 or emailing him at klahtinen@sbcglobal.net, or signing up at a player and fan reception to be held at 9 p.m. Friday at the Wooden Nickel on Presque Isle Avenue in Marquette.

To encourage newcomers, Lahtinen said rookie team registration — for those who have never participated in the U.S. Nationals — is just $5 per person. For returnees, it’s $25 per person for those 18 years old and under and $50 for those 19 and over.

In addition to the Friday reception, another gathering is set after the first day of competition at Black Rocks Brewery on North Third Street in Marquette from 8 p.m. to midnight Saturday.

Organizers of Guts Frisbee competitions tout their sport as the original extreme sport, a fan-friendly event as competitors try to catch the hard throws with one hand.

Teams line up five players as they throw a Frisbee at speeds approaching and sometimes exceeding 80 mph at a line of the same number of opponents located 15 meters — nearly 50 feet — away from each other.

Brothers Boots and John Healy are recognized as discovering a “Pluto Platter” in a Minneapolis store in 1958, then joining family members Tim and Mary Healy and some friends tossing it around and coming up with Guts on July 4 of that year.

Nowadays, they use the Wham-O No. 15 Frisbee disc with a raised central “cupola” and weighing nearly four ounces and which is 9 1/2 inches in diameter.

That’s all according to the online home of Guts Frisbee, the USA Guts website www.gutsfrisbee.com.

The Nationals are one of three major Guts Frisbee tournaments being held in the final six months of this year, all in Michigan — Calumet hosted the Coca-Cola International Frisbee Tournament in early July, while Livonia will have the World Championships on Labor Day weekend.

Marquette has hosted the U.S. Nationals since 1976, though it took a hiatus of about a decade before it returned again annually in 2008.

Steve Brownlee can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 252. His email address is sbrownlee@miningjournal.net

If you go:

• U.S. National Guts Frisbee Tournament

• 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

• Tourist Park, Marquette