The New England Freestyle Championships, part of the New England Overalls, was another in a long line of grand times in the northeast. TD Gordy Adell set everyone up at a YMCA camp in New Hampshire complete with individual cottages surrounding a picturesque lake. The tournament folks were the only residents. The communal environment with generous accomodations allowed everyone to relax and enjoy each other and the surroundings. The nights were topped off with group jams with outstanding musicians and no worries regarding acoustic amplitudes.

Oh yeah, and the freestyle was alot of fun too! In fact, the finals were rained out and we were forced to have them indoors after dinner and drinks a la Rimini. It led to an awesome vibe in the intimate and very playable setting.

There were about 14 teams (results forthcoming) along with (I believe) 5 amateurs competing. The semifinals were outside and all of it was completed in good winds with no rain. In fact, the rains came right after everyone finished and the judging complete…excellent timing if it were to happen. I did not know many of the teams, but there was a bunch of old crust returning. A couple were from the late 70’s era (sorry, forgot names) and knew alot of the names bandied about in Skippy’s articles. Some highlights included Greg Black’s gitis followed by him leading cheers for himself, Kraig Steffan and others doing the ultimate sacrifice and diving full horizontal for some catches…horizontal diving seemed to be a theme of the semis. At one point during one routine (to a Dead song) the power went out. The audience (at least those with skills) continued singing the song perfectly as the routine continued without hesitation…a tournament moment. Jason Southwick played awesome, cleanly doing alot of double disc rim moves from the old days. Vic Ouzoonian and Dan Berman had a nice routine put together. Steve Scannell and Rick Williams have put the pieces together for next month’s Masters, using their main skill (having a combined age over 100!) and had a great semi routine. Pipo and I had fun playing to some Santana as I double disced it a little and Pipo did his karate kid thing. Piposis rules! Scott and Toddy took over the crowd with Scott’s rangy contortions and Toddy’s facial expressions and gymnastics.

The finals were indoors and everyone played awesomely as the crowd REALLY got into it. It is clear the night howl is a fan favorite…although forcing the jammers to behave until complete!! Jason was in his element. Steve was able to do extensive juggling. Vic and Dan again played well with Dan earning a disc just for going for a roots! Pipo and I had another good jam, really firing up the crowd. We had a couple truly electric moments. We started the routine sharing a recorded phone message some New Englanders had sent me the week before. Ask any of us for an explanation…good fun. Scott and Todd came last and had an awesome routine. With a slow start and rough finish they left the door a bit open. Pipo and I won, Scott and Todd came in second and Steve and Rick third. I am not sure of the results otherwise, I just wanted to get this out to share the vibe.

Gordy, do it again…and for the Masters next year…you ROCK…thanks!!

Paul Kenny


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