One final toss of the disc

Brown stepping away from tourney after 11 years

Brandon Warr

Times Staff Writer

 

There often comes a time in a person’s life when he must make a tough decision in recognition of his health. Recently, Gunnison’s Chris Brown faced this dilemma. He had to decide whether to continue organizing the annual High Mountain Invitational Disc Golf Tournament.

“I’ve been hosting this event for 11 years,” said Brown. “But after dealing with cancer and Parkinson’s disease, I physically can’t do it anymore.”

On Sunday, Sept. 17 Brown will host his final High Mountain Invitational at the course behind Mountaineer Bowl on the Western State Colorado University campus in Gunnison.

Greg Cordas will be stepping in for Brown in coming years to host the tournament.

Disc golf is a flying disc sport in which players throw a disc at a target, and has similar rules to the game of golf. It is usually played on a nine- or 18-hole course, but it is common for organizers to change that format.

Just like in golf, players compete by throwing a disc, shaped like a frisbee, from a tee area toward a target. Once the disc lands, the player throws the disc again until the target is reached. The player’s goal is to complete a course in the lowest number of total throws.

Last year, the High Mountain Invitational was held at night with glow-in-the-dark frisbees, resulting in a strong turnout. This year, the event will kick off at 9 a.m. Participants will play 18 holes and then break for lunch, provided by High Mountain Flyers Disc Golf Club.

After lunch, participants will throw the last 18 holes starting at 1 p.m. A participant that throws a hole-in-one will win a $4,000 mountain biking package.

Brown took an interest in disc golf after playing ultimate frisbee with his friends in college. When he came to Gunnison, he noticed the course behind Mountaineer Bowl and began playing there.

While Brown loves taking in the scenery while playing, the game also helped him relieve the stress of Parkinson’s disease. One day while playing with his friend at the local course, he decided that it would be a great idea to host a tournament.

The first tournament had 13 participants, after which Brown secured a grant to fix up the course with help from Western State Colorado University.

It takes Brown nine months to plan the event, and in his final year he has obtained 103 sponsors. This year, 50 participants are already signed up to play, but Brown is shooting to have 70 people. The average over the years has been 40-50 people participating each year in the tournament.

While it’s called an “invitational,” anyone is welcome to sign up and play. Day-of registration starts at 7:30 a.m Sunday. However, the first 36 participants to pre-register will receive a free T-shirt. There is a maximum of 72 players for the tournament.

Registration is $30 which will included breakfast provided from Sodexo, coffee from The Bean, lunch compliments of High Mountain Flyers and an after party and awards at Palisades Restaurant. To register, contact Brown at 970.209.6616.

Everyone who participates in the event will walk away with something, Brown said. And during the tournament, there will be music over the PA system behind Mountaineer Bowl.

Although this will be Brown’s last year hosting the tournament, he’s been instrumental over the years in sparking interest in disc golf throughout the Gunnison Valley. Still, Brown believes Cordas is more than capable of continuing the disc golf tradition in coming years.

“He’s a great guy, mature enough to handle it,” said Brown. “I think he will do a good job hosting the event and will do a great job promoting it as well.”

 

(Brandon Warr can be reached at 970.641.1414 or brandon@gunnisontimes.com.)

 

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