Playing their Guts out

14 teams around the country come to Marquette for frisbee tournament

Marquette-based Wolf Pack Guts Team player Trent Smith winds up for a throw during a game at the U.S. National Guts Frisbee Tournament at Tourist Park in Marquette on Saturday afternoon. (Journal Photo by Ryan Spitza)


Journal Sports Writer

MARQUETTE — 14 teams from around the country along with several spectators and their lawn chairs embarked on Tourist Park in Marquette on Saturday for the annual U.S. National Guts Frisbee Tournament.

Marquette has hosted the event annually since 1976, except for a decade-long hiatus before its return in 2008.

Tournament director Kurt Lahtinen said despite a gloomy morning, the raindrops stayed away and the event has been a success so far.

“Things are going great,” he said. “Thank God that the weather held out for us. It’s been a great weekend for us, we’ve got 14 teams here, some very strong teams throughout the country and we’re excited about it.”

“The fan support has been great,” Lahtinen added. “We’ve been getting really good crowds and we’re expecting really big crowds this afternoon and into tomorrow.”

Guts Frisbee, said to be the original extreme sport, was originally inspired by the game of dodgeball. Similar to the classic gymnasium game, teams of up to five players line up parallel to each other on the playing field. Rather than dodging the disc, players are required to catch it cleanly with one hand.

The team throwing must get the disc into the designated scoring area and if the disc misses that area, the team receiving gets the point. If a disc is caught cleanly, neither team gets a point. If a disc is caught and dropped, the throwing team gets the point. The first team to 21 points with a differential of two is the winner. Discs can be thrown upward of 80 mph and teams stand just 15 meters apart.

This weekend’s tournament is set up in round-robin format. That was used to determine the seeds for the bracket round, which also got underway Saturday.

Beer City Guts team out of Milwaukee earned the No. 1 overall seed, while the six-time champion Appleton Assassins earned the 2-seed. Local team and defending champion O’Malley’s Alley earned the 3-seed.

Other teams from the Marquette area include Togo’s, Wooden Nickel, U.P. Wood Flooring and the Wolf Pack. Togo’s earned the 7-seed, Wooden Nickel 9-seed, and Wolf Pack the 12-seed.

Niklas Jackson, who plays for the Blame the Dog team, which consists of players from Chicago, Lower Michigan, Upper Michigan and Wisconsin said while his team hasn’t been playing its best, the weekend has still been a fun one.

“The weekend’s been doing well so far,” he said. “We’ve been playing sub-par but we’re playing well against other teams. We’re hoping to turn it up on Sunday morning and finish strong on Sunday afternoon.”

Nick Champ, who plays for the Wooden Nickel expressed his enjoyment of the tournament as well.

“It’s going really well and it’s been a ton of fun,” he said. “It’s always great to come out to Marquette. Spirit of the game is just really present here. It’s a lot of fun to get out here and play.”

The tournament wraps up today and runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is free and fans are encouraged to bring their lawn chairs and their own beverages as teams vie for the Craig “Buck” Buchanan Memorial Trophy.

Email Ryan Spitza at