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Disc golfers compete in Ice Bowl

Jan. 26, 2013 @ 11:25 PM

HUNTINGTON -- The Ice Bowl lived up to its name Saturday at Rotary Park, which hosted the 16th annual disc golf event.

Many of the 53 participants have competed before in the event, which benefits the Huntington Area Food Bank. Though the temperatures were stuck in the 20s, they said it set the mood.

"This is more what it's supposed to be," said organizer Johnny Sias. "We've had some years in the 50s and 60s."

More than 300 Ice Bowls are held worldwide from early January through the end of February. The original, Sias said, was started by his friends in Missouri back in 1987. He recalled they had a lot of snow that winter and started feeling some cabin fever. So they combined the snow with their pastime.

"That first one was around the Super Bowl, so that's how it got it's name," Sias said.

While he prepared a warm lunch, players in teams of four to six played the course. When asked how they were handling the cold, one group responded, "no wimps, no whiners."

"The key is staying focused and playing your game," said Jared Fredeking of Huntington, who has been playing for 15 years. "Play the course, not the weather."

Besides not using a white disc on the snow-covered field, those carrying their bags full of discs said it is all about having a good time. Aaron Smith enjoys disc golf and the Ice Bowl so much, he planned a business trip to his hometown so he could play. Smith now lives in Maryland and serves as the fire marshal for the city of Rockville.

"We did get the 'ice bowl' this year," Smith said, referring to the weather. "But it adds some fun to it."

Smith was in a group of five with guys he met for the first time. Playing in the tournament, he added, allowed him to meet some fellow disc golf junkies and share some stories.

In the group ahead, Josh Stepp found his disc amid the trees. But he found himself in good shape after throwing the disc so it would roll into the open field. He said the weather was great when you thought about the people who would be helped through the food bank.

Besides, he said, it wasn't as bad as a tournament he once played in Kentucky.

"It was so windy. You could be five feet from the basket and the wind would just take it," Stepp said.

Though an official number was not immediately known, Sias said the Ice Bowl donation is usually around $2,000.

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