It was a wonderful Guts weekend in Sterling Heights, Michigan, as 15 teams converged on Sunnybrook Golf Bowl Motel for the USGPA 2013 World Guts Frisbee™ Championship. Early favorites included the defending champion Boomtown Saints, the Appleton Assassins who’d just beaten them convincingly at the U.S. Nationals, and the Bataan Park Brothers from Albuquerque, who had three-peated at the Worlds in 2009, 2010, and 2011. Tournament organizers were honored by the attendance—all the way from Japan—of Takayoshi Suda and Takumi Nunokawa, two incredibly skilled players and congenial, fun-loving guests. This would be the last tournament at which a Ridin’ High team (1975 – 2013) would ever compete, and having Takumi and Suda along for the ride made it even more special.
Everyone pulled in Friday, and we began with the Welcome party in Sunnybrook’s lounge. Saturday morning dawned with a little light rain, but it quickly dried up leaving conditions excellent for the rest of the weekend, more comfortable and calm than predicted.
Round robin competition had four pools. The winner of each pool was then slotted into the brackets against a last place finisher from one of the other pools. Second place finishers were slotted against third placers from opposite pools. This pool-to-bracket system prevented the same two teams who’d just played in round robin from meeting in their first bracket match.
When the round robin games were done, the brackets were filled in with Boomtown getting the first-round bye, the Hipsters to meet neighborhood rivals Ridin’ High, the Young Guns going up against the Air Aces, and the Silverbacks facing the Fire-Breathing Rubber Duckies. In the lower bracket, the Assassins drew Marquette’s Swamptown Gunners, Abusement Park would entertain TBD, Beer City got Blame the Dog, and Bataan Park would face Motor City Naturals.
The Hipsters ironically dropped Ridin’ High into the loser’s bracket and advanced to the 8:30 Sunday match against Boomtown. The Young Guns and Silverbacks both won their first-round matches, but head-to-head the youngsters were no match for the veterans, leaving the Guns in the loser’s bracket and done for the day. Meanwhile, TBD prevailed in a hard-fought three-game match against Abusement Park, while Appleton was busy beating up the Swamptown Gunners. The Assassins were deadly and sent TBD down in two straight to end their Saturday afternoon.
Beer City, still hot after their third-place finish in Marquette, outplayed Blame the Dog to advance and face Bataan Park, coming off their own win over the Motor City Naturals. The New Mexico guys were on fire and dispatched Beer City to the loser’s where they were scheduled to play Ridin’ High on Sunday morning.
Tournament sponsor Rosie O’Grady’s again hosted Saturday night’s dinner, then it was back to Sunnybrook for fun photos and free bowling.
Sunday dawned cooler than expected, and the 90° temps predicted instead wound up never getting much above 75° with overcast lighting and barely a whisper of wind. In their early-bird match, Boomtown prevailed over the Hipsters to advance to the final four and their date with the Silverbacks. In the loser’s bracket, Ridin’ High eliminated Beer City, the Duckies were shot down, Swamptown was gunned down, and the Motor City Naturals ended their reunion run. TBD used great defense to knock out Ridin’ High and end their chapter in Guts Frisbee history. It was a bittersweet moment for Jim and Bill “Igloo” Watt as they said goodbye to a hallmark Guts franchise and more Ridin’ High teammates than we could ever list here.
Four teams became two when Boomtown beat the Silverbacks and the boys from Bataan Park surprised the Assassins in three. The surprises continued when Nik Jackson led Blame the Dog over Appleton, ending their hopes for a Worlds title, while TBD managed to upset the mighty Silverbacks.
Boomtown only needed two games (21-14, 21-15) to take the winner’s bracket from New Mexico. Blame the Dog kept their momentum up and ended the strong run by TBD. The loser’s bracket final would pit Bataan Park against Blame the Dog. The game featured strong catching on both ends of the field, but Albuquerque eventually wore down the Dogs to force a rematch of last year’s tournament Finals.
It seemed as though every Boomtown Saint was on top of his game Sunday afternoon, with clutch defensive plays coming from Danny and Mark Banghart, while Ryan Scott and Mike and Jeff Banghart kept the smoke flying. Despite their own fearsome play, Bataan Park would never really threaten, and Boomtown clinched their second title in a row, going away.
Congratulations to Boomtown on their World Championship, thanks again to Suda and Takumi for gracing our event, thanks for the memories Ridin’ High and Motor City Naturals, and thanks to all the great folks who make Guts Frisbee the best sport in the World! See you next year!!