Nearly 80 amateur disc golf players converged on Raptors Knoll, a 32-acre green with 18 holes amongst tree groves, valleys, and hills of Jackman Wetlands Park.
They came out for Aldergrove’s first-ever Ice Bowl tournament – a Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA) competition during inclement weather that raises funds to fight hunger.
Many participants came from cities throughout the Lower Mainland. Several even travelled in from Olympia, WA. to play, and support the Aldergrove Food Bank.
Ice Bowl co-organizer Jennifer Brett of the BC Women’s Disc Golf Association, said she renamed the tournament the “Soaker Ice Bowl’’ due to predicted showers of rain.
But it didn’t pour, and Township of Langley organizer and operations employee, Konrad Beston, was able to get out on the green and compete.
“No wimps, no whiners,” is the slogan for PDGA Ice Bowl tournaments, Brett related.
Though Sunday’s tournament boasted 19 professional players, she said, “for some it was their first tournament.”
Two-year-old Aldergrove resident Rylee Brown came out to watch the tournament first-hand with her mother, Heather, and aunt, Lisa.
“Her aunt got her into the sport,” said Mom, who pulled out a mini disc golf for her daughter to toss around into a Raptors Knoll practice basket.
“We’ll bring her in the stroller to play when Lisa does,” she said.
“It’s really good exercise for her,” her aunt said.
Another young player, nine-year-old Wesley Darling, took to the green with his father Dave, competing in the Ice Bowl – though both played on different cards.
The younger Darling, an Abbotsford resident, was able to hold his own amongst two other adult amateur players on his card.
“He can throw up to 200-feet,” Brett lauded, as she watched him throw a disc at hole six.
For more experienced players like Brett, disc golf is a sport she can play at a high level, without aggravating her existing injuries.
Brett started practicing with discs in 2016 after she sustained a back injury from landing wrong during play as a soccer goalie.
“I wanted to find something I could play again and be competitive,” she said, noting that the Ice Bowl included even a group of athletes in their 60s.
This year, the tournament raised $1,910 for the food bank, a portion from ticket costs, and a truck bed full of perishable food items.
Township maintenance employee Randy Cawthorn volunteered his vehicle for food donations while he, too, got to experience the course.
Cawthorn’s union, CUPE 403 in Langley, also pitched tents for the event, and in case of rain.
A Save-On-Foods-sponsored barbecue lunch sold out by noon, raising an additional $450 for the cause.
“There’s something about the community here,” Brett said, mentioning the thousands of hours of labour volunteers put into the course before its official opening on June 1.
“We want to make the Ice Bowl here an annual thing,” Brett added.
Raptors Knoll Disc Golf course, located at 1111 272nd St. in Aldergrove, is built atop an old landfill and has been repurposed by soil and the Township planting 159 trees, as well as new vegetative growth.