Disc golfers to participate in charitable tournament

By Maria Rubin De Celis

Maria Rubin de Celis

Contributing writer

Disc golf, typically a game popular in the summer, will collide the frigid winter weather this Saturday at the 5th annual Champaign County Ice Bowl. The bowl’s main purpose is to raise money for the Eastern Illinois Foodbank, a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving 17 counties in Illinois.

According to Kristin Bosch, vice president of development and community partnerships for the Eastern Illinois Foodbank, charity events like this are vital since the demand for food in the C-U area is high.

“The food insecurity rate right here in Champaign County is over 17%. The statewide statistic is only about 13%, so the need right here in our community is very great,” she said.

This is one of the primary reasons a group of avid Frisbee golfers posed the idea for the tournament a few years back.

Bryan Mentock, and active board member and founder of the club that formally began last year, said that the Ice Bowl is a fun way to impact the community. He said the money raised from the event helps the foodbank much more than a typical food drive would.

“It’s exponentially better for us to raise this money to give to the food bank so they can turn around and purchase food for those who need it, so it’s definitely a great thing for the community.”

Raising money comes in the form of donations and the $60 buy-in for each team. Though typically people play disc golf individually, for this tournament, doubles is the standard. Mentock said that playing this way is better in ice bowls since the conditions can be trying at times.

“It’s more fun to do doubles during an ice bowl…and it’s nice to have a partner to rely upon.”

Wilbur Wallis, president of the club and tournament director for the Champaign Ice Bowl said that there are roughly 50 teams signed up to play this weekend. The turn out is always very successful. For instance, just last year the club raised $2,248 according to their website.

“Events like the disc golf tournament allow us [Eastern Illinois Foodbank] to subsidize our small nonprofit and really be able to provide food for those who need it most,” Bosch said.

The instance of the Champaign County Ice Bowl is merely one event in a bigger Ice Bowl organization. The nationwide organization encourages raising awareness of disc golf through charitable efforts to help alleviate hunger. In fact, since the organization started in 1996, it has raised over 3,100,000 million total for hunger relief.

The Champaign County Disc Golf Club’s efforts to contribute to the cause is backed with passion and enthusiasm by many, and will undoubtedly continue for years to come.

“There’re just way to many people that go hungry and there’s no need for that. We’re just a small group, but we do what we can to help—and we have a good time doing it,” Wallis said.

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