Disc golf event takes flight

FAIRMONT – The Cedar Creek Open pro-am disc golf tournament, set for this weekend in Fairmont, has grown in size and prestige since its infancy.

“This is the eighth annual Cedar Creek Open,” said Trevor Boehne, one of the event organizers. “Last year, we reached capacity. This year, it’s filled up and we have a waiting list.”

The tournament can have a maximum of 180 entrants, with this year’s competitors traveling from throughout the Midwest, with some entrants coming from Canada and Hawaii.

“Last year, there were players from 117 different cities from seven different states,” Boehne said.

Cedar Creek Park in Fairmont, site of the competition, has two 18-hole disc golf courses. The first was installed by Jon Riggs in 1996. Boehne was responsible for the second course in 2006, the first year of the Cedar Creek Open.

Boehne, 31, is a 2001 Fairmont High School graduate and currently is a high school math teacher in Roseville. He credits his friend, Adam Sternke, for his introduction to disc golf. The two were joined by a third Fairmonter, Brady Laue.

“We started traveling to tournaments – Kentucky, Kansas City, Las Vegas,” Boehne said. “The more I got on a plane and saw other tournaments, the more I wanted to run one in Fairmont.”

At that time, the park only had one course, and in order to have an “A” tier tournament, another course was needed.

“Growing up, I didn’t realize how big Cedar Park was. It’s huge. The park is big enough to have a whole other 18-hole course,” he said.

He worked with the park board and city council. He recruited sponsors. Eventually, the second course was installed, and the first Cedar Creek Open, a one-day event, was held.

Tournaments have four different tiers: “C,” “B,” “A” and majors. In order to compete in an “A” tier or national tournament, players must be members of the Professional Disc Golf Association.

In addition to the Cedar Creek Open, there are only two other “A” tiers in the state, both in the Twin Cities, Boehne said.

The local event has burgeoned into three days of activities and competitions.

“Three years ago, I started doing extra events on Friday because a lot of people came in the day before to practice,” Boehne said. Last year, 180 played in the tournament, and 160 of them showed up on Friday.”

Today, the 120 amateurs and 60 pros competing in the event will be able to register and participate in a doubles competition as well as contests for putting and accuracy.

Knight Chainz, a Twin Cities-based vendor, has developed an LED ring that sits on top of the baskets on the disc golf course.

“We’ll use glow-in-the-dark discs and have a little nine-hole lit-up course,” Boehne said.

Two rounds of competition will be held at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Saturday, with two more rounds starting at 8 a.m. Sunday.

After these rounds are completed, the top four pros will play nine more holes, with the rest of the competitors following in a gallery, just like the PGA.

“Anybody can come and watch,” Boehne said. “Just follow along in a gallery, just like it were a golf tournament. Just be respectful of the players.”

For more information about the local courses, check out cedarcreekdiscgolf.com or Fairmont Disc Golf League on Facebook.