The 29th annual Tennessee State Overall Championships were held on September 18th and 19th. Two players, Barry Gill and H. B. Clark are the only ones who can say they have been to all 29 tournaments!

Being an overall tournament with an emphasis on disc golf the competitors were split into amateur and open groups. Amateur freestyle started on a sunny Saturday at 9:30 with the grass still wet with all the rain that Hurricane Ivan dumped on the area the day before. There were 12 two player teams! For most teams it was basic throw and catch with some speed flow thrown in by the more experienced teams. The highlights were players who dove for their catches and slid sideways with water and wet grass cuttings spraying in the air to be backlit by the morning sun.

Open freestyle prelims occurred shortly after the ams with 4 two player teams entered. The first team was a pair of guys who were interested only in gathering overall points and I must confess that I do not remember their names. Jeff Soule and Greg Clement played next and though they do not have much experience they seemed to be having a great time. Both competed last year with Jeff and his partner coming in 3rd and Greg and his partner coming in 5th. Next up were those perennial favorites, Barry Gill and H. B. Clark. These guys are practitioners of ‘old school’ freestyle complete with speed flow, delays, tips, rolls and even barefoot toe throws – all done with about 2-3 times the distance apart than you would see at most freestyle events. Even though Barry needs hip replacement surgery he did very well for himself and H. B. was his usual steady self. The last team was Steve Scanell and Rik Downs. Despite Steve having a torn quadriceps muscle and Rik’s tendency to do horribly in competition this crusty team shredded! Steve, being calm and cool, completed combo after combo with plenty of diff with only a few drops while Rik played out of his mind and was later heard to say he felt like there was nothing he couldn’t do and he had only one drop! (Really!)

The finals were held on Sunday and in many ways were fairly anticlimactic when compared to the prelims. Three days of heavy jamming had its affect on Rik and he couldn’t repeat his previous day’s success and while doing well had quite a few drops. Otherwise, everyone else seemed to do as well as the previous day and the final results were the same as the prelims.

After the finals the real fun began. A mob-op consisting of Ron King, David Kessler, Anne Goh, Brian Bohannon, Barry, H. B., Steve and Rik fired up and jammed at a high level for a few more hours. Like most post-event jams everyone brought out their “A” game. David played better than I have seen him play in a long time and despite having debilitating back surgery several years back Ron jammed great! Anne has really come a long way and can pretty much jam with anyone. When she perfects a level delay she will be awesome! Steve was impressed with the quality of play – so much so he wants to return next year and bring others with him. Perhaps now the world will realize that there is freestyle to be had in the mid-U.S.!

(Unfortunately, two of Tennessee’s best Gary Edge and Willeye Williams could not make it. If they had we really would have had a jam to remember!)


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