Ledgestone Letdown?

Before I start my discourse (see what I did there?) about the Ledgestone Open weekend in Central Illinois, tell me about your experience there. Was it all you’d hoped it would be? Did you play, did you spectate, did you get rained on? Did you rub shoulders with Holly Finley’s lily white shoulders? Or Paul McBeth’s? Any brushes at all with disc golf greatness?

I think in my previous post I predicted McBeth’s “comeback” this weekend after his second-place finish at the PDGA World Championship in Emporia. Socki-bomb is is good… no Ricky is great– but you can’t keep McBeast down for very long. It’s a safe bet if he’s down this week, he won’t be next week. That’s really all I did.

I’m going to preface my tale of woe and disappointment with this caveat– This is only one blogger’s experience. And granted, you may take issue with some of what I’m about to say. Still, I’m not going to candy coat it; just put it all out there and ask if any of you can relate.

I wanted to watch some of the older Slingers, so I determined to arrive in Peoria around 8 a.m., the approximate time the Advanced Senior Grandmasters were getting out there. In that I was successful, arriving at Bradley Park around 8:40. But with a couple exceptions, everything else, for me now, was just “off.” I followed a few groups of seasoned players and never at anytime knew who I was watching.

So there was that– no announcement of players, no programs or lists of groups– nothing. I could’ve driven five minutes to my home course and followed any group of geezers around. Yes the players were all listed on the PDGA website, but Peoria and the surrounding areas are not exactly cell-friendly. Besides, who wants to try to view THOSE pages on a mobile device? I might as well have been playing Pokemon Go out there. My suggestion to the LIS people: namecards, numbers, stickers, flyers, handouts– something. Maybe every group gets its own leader board…

DSCN9073
Leaderboard undergoes another edit at this year’s Memorial in Fountain Hills, AZ.

….like the marquee groups? (Look I know nothing about running a tournament, I’ll admit. But I certainly know when I’m lost and confused. And I do….. was.)

I’d heard so much about the Flymart and I was starving for some new, longer, farther-flying plastic. I was Jones’in me some Flymart. At Bradley, some fella was working the traditional 20 or so disc and t-shirt bins. That’s where I scored my not-so-mini Buzzz with an awesome blue and gold foil stamp. So when I’d tired of following guys my age and found Sunset Hills– where that same nice Buzzz mini-guy told me the FlyMart was– imagine my disappointment a.k.a. letdown- when the large tent they call “FlyMart” was virtually empty.

Now read carefully here because this is where SlinginPlastic makes lemonade. There were two lonely displays set up in the big, quiet tent. The proprietor of one was nowhere in sight. Behind the second makeshift store, a lovely vendor / company spokeswoman sat enjoying a morning breeze from the comfort of her plastic lawn chair. “FlyMart,” the woman said with an Australian accent as thick as the skin of a wild dingo, “doesn’t really get going until about 3 or 4 in the afternoon.” DSCN0050That lady was none other than Janice Vella. Who’s Janice Vella? I can hear you asking already. Why, she’s Mama Dude, of course. Mother of Chris Finn– founder of Down Under Disc Evolution (Dude clothing). Meeting Janice was really my Ledgestone highlight. Nice lady. Nice clothing line, Dude. A little fancy and pricy for my casual taste and needs, but I can’t speak for all. Check out Finn’s lines for yourselves.

One last time– don’t rail on me because I didn’t enjoy Ledgestone. Maybe I did it wrong, I don’t know. When I went to “The Memorial” in Fountain Hills, AZ earlier in March, my wife, daughter and I exited our flight in Phoenix, drove the 30 mins. or so, parked, walked a few feet and were instantly within feet of Pierce, Allen, McBeth, Sexton and Brathwaite. Moments after his win there, Paul signed my 138g Pink Destroyer; his name now on the dome and the underside.

So this post has been a mouthful. I won’t ask that you not make fun of me for having no love for Ledgestone; just don’t take any cheap shots for me throwing a pink 138g disc!

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