On November 12 a brand new disc golf tournament took place in Cranbrook at the Idlewild Disc Golf Course, organized by Jamie and Melissa Derkach.
The Idlewild Eclipse was a different format than a traditional, stroke-play disc golf tournament. It was an “Ace Race”, meaning it used a point system and instead of trying to score the lowest possible score, players tried to earn the most points.
One point was awarded for landing their disc within a 1.5 metre bullseye around the basket, two points for the disc hitting any part of the basket and three points for putting their disc in the basket for a hole-in-one or ace.
As this was not a Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA)-sanctioned event, Derkach explained that they had a great deal of flexibility in terms of how everything was formatted, for example the placement of tee pads, how points were awarded and what the awarded prizes looked like.
The two of them took on the organization and directing of the tournament as a team of two. Jamie has some experience helping out at tournaments in the past, but this was Melissa’s first foray into tournament directing.
“We both have different skill sets that compliment each other when it comes to event planning so it worked quite well,” Derkach said. “We had just under two months to put everything together, so it was a bit of a whirlwind involving an extensive Google sheet, speaking with local businesses and working through the challenges that come with dealing with a cross-border company.”
A total of 71 people signed up for the tournament in two divisions, Pro and Amateur. Prizes were awarded to the top two players of each division, plus there was a winner from each card of players as well.
Basic prizes were lab-second golf discs from MVP Discs, and then the two players from each division were awarded with a rare Watermelon Paradox from MVP.
The tournament also acted as a fundraiser, raising $500 for Meant 2B Pet Rescue Society and 182 items for the Cranbrook Food Bank.
“We are both avid animal lovers, so picking a local rescue was a no brainer for us - we had heard that Meant 2B was needing support and that was that,” they said.
“The Food Bank was another organization that just made sense, with the holidays approaching and cold weather bringing higher food insecurities for low income households, we wanted to make sure that we were able to support the foundation in any way possible.”
The event was bolstered by numerous sponsors, quite a few considering the time constraints they were working under, Derkach added.
“When we first started planning this we were expecting maybe 30 players, so to more than double that within a week of the event sign ups being live definitely showed us that the community is looking for these different kinds of tournament formats,” they said.
The following is the full list of sponsors for the event:
Northstar Body Shop, Skyway Distributors, Cobbs Bread, Paw Shop, Mountain Man Outdoors, Save-On-Foods, The Choice, Fire Hall, Bubble Hut, Okanagan Disc Supply, Parked Pro, Andre’s Electronics, Fun Hogz, Rick’s Fine Meats, Sprout Grocery and Gerick Sports
“We just want to send a huge shout out to everyone that supported this event, players, sponsors and everyone in between,” Derkach said.
“Neither of us imagined the traction this was going to gain and we are so excited to do it all again next year. Also, an extra special shout out to Kari Moss, who brought this tournament idea to the Cranbrook Ladies Disc Golf group on Facebook - without her initial suggestion, we wouldn’t have accomplished any of this.”
Melissa and Jamie both got into disc golf at around the same time, getting into it through Melissa’s husband/Jamie’s cousin. Jamie has been very involved in the scene since last fall. She is the secretary of the Cranbrook Disc Golf Club and an organizer of the Sunday Doubles and Cranbrook Women’s League.
Melissa has been a bit more under the radar up until now, she said getting into the Women’s league was her first foray into the actual community, despite playing for several years.
“The great thing about disc golf is how accessible it is and we believe our local community really highlights that.”
They plan to make the Idlewild Eclipse an annual event and said this year’s tournament was a good test run to gauge interest and determine how things work.
“This was 100 per cent a learning experience for us, on multiple levels,” Derkach said. “We are already discussing how we want to reformat the point and division systems for next year after gathering some great feedback from the players.”
They added that with what they’ve learned, they likely will start planning late next spring as they may add another event to the docket for 2023 and hope to se the date for October rather than November because, “boy oh boy was it cold!”
Tournament winners are as follows:
PRO Card Winners: Travis Sandberg, Bruce Ogilvie, Luke Derkach, Kyle Ferrier, Robert Hawkins, Mason Howard, Steve Reedyk, Alex McLeod
AM Card Winners: Jess O’Connor, Caroline Ferguson, Sawyer Howard, Ed Main, Neil Faught, Jonathan Smienk, Chris Franklin
Top PRO: 1st: Mason Howard, 2nd: Alex McLeod
Top AMA: 1st: Ed Main, 2nd: Sawyer Howard