The history making greatest gathering of Freestyle Disc Hall of Fame members ever assembled took place in Santa Barbara, California the weekend of October 8 to celebrate the inductions of the (pandemic delayed) 2020 class and the 2022 class. Santa Barbara is famous for Palm Park, site of so many jams by so many of the legendary sports icons.
Special thanks goes to Skippy Jammer and the HoF committee for all the hard work putting this special moment together for all of us. I got to see first-hand only a small part of the work Skippy and team did to put this together and that was enormous. It is so important to keep our history alive so new generations have a connection to our past.
The general hosts were the celebrated Santa Barbara Beach Jammers (YJIW!) with superhosts Hot Tub
Gerry and Marie Geare, Pre-Party James “The Gusman” Emerson, Jay Hinkle, Dave Zeff and the rest of
the crew. Look for the next YJIW event in March 2023!
Thank you Bill Wright, Brian Hayes and the FPA for providing all inductees with special schwag! Look for an upcoming FPA auction for an opportunity to get some signed discs.
The site of the induction ceremony was the ridiculously beautiful Oakleigh in Montecito in the hills above Santa Barbara. The event hosts were disc friends Architect Jeff Shelton (The Montecito Muse), great humanitarian Tom Cole (Link to the website) along with Linda and Karen. To warm up for the Hall of Fame induction ceremony, Oakleigh hosted Jackson Browne the week before for an African Women Rising fundraiser (Montecito resident Oprah Winfrey was in attendance).
Here is the list of the inductees as presented with links to their biographies if available:
Lori Daniels Intro
1. Chipper Bro
2. Crazy John
4. Jim Benson
5. John Houck
6. Connie Bond
7. Kate Dow (Scott Dow)
9. Dave Lewis
10. Clay Collerà
11. Evan David
12. Joel Rogers
13. Mary Lowry
14. Carolyn Yabe
15. Stacy McCarthy
16. G Rose
17. Suzanne Strait
18. Bob Coleman
19. Dave Schiller
20. Gary Auerbach
21. Lori Daniels
22. Allen Elliott
23. Rodney Sanchez
24. Paul Kenny
Everyone gave great speeches with a broad array of delivery and messaging, some scripted, some more free-spirited. Especially compelling was the heartfelt openness of everyone. Interesting that it seemed to evolve more into “life” than just freestyle.
There were a number of HoF inductees from previous classes and some future HoFers in attendance adding a historical connection to the gathering. Current Hall of Famers in attendance included Dan “Stork” Roddick, John Z Weyland, Joey Hudoklin, g rose, Skippy Jammer, Steve Hubbard, Larry Imperiale, John Jewell, Cynthia Birch, Bethany Sanchez, Suzanne Strait, Chipper Bell, Jim Benson, Connie Bond, “Crazy” John Brooks, Arthur Coddington, Clay Collera, Evan David, John Houck, Mary Lowry, Stacy McCarthy, Dave Lewis, Deaton Mitchell, Joel Rogers, Carolyn Hubbard, Dave Schiller, Bob “Friz” Coleman, Gary Auerbach, Lori Daniels, Allen Elliott, Rodney Sanchez and Paul Kenny.
This was the place to be. There were a number of reasons why as I will try to list below.
It was the first gathering for many of us post-pandemic and there was so much pent-up emotion. Kate Dow’s brother said some words about his sister with not a dry eye in the house, especially when he brought up her children. So many have a close connection with her and her contribution to freestyle was enormous.
Also unable to make the ceremony and sorely missed were Chris Baker (RIP), Jim Palmeri, Joakim Arveskar, Brian Hayes and Randy Silvey.
There were so many mini-reunions it was hard to keep up. It reminded me of when there is a particularly awesome jam, do not jam bust!
It appeared more of the male inductees cried than the women inductees!
Great to see Doug and Jeanne Korns!
Lui and Clay flew in from Italy to attend….Musica!
Great to see local icon and the father of the Santa Barbara disc scene, Tom Shepherd, in attendance!
It was noted how freestyle changes so many lives, from life partnering, moving to different locales to the cute story of 8 year old Tom Cole being dropped off at Palm Park by his Mom and just left there to absorb the freestyle “shenanigans”!
The most compelling aspect of the presentations were the “origin stories”. From exposure in educational classes, to seeing someone in a park or on TV, it was informative to learn about how each was triggered to make freestyle a lifelong passion. The spectrum of these origins included how some were drawn to freestyle from other sports such as basketball, swimming and dance showed the broad spectrum of our collective personalities and in how it manifest in how each person’s style developed.
It was notable how many people made the point of how influential women are to the sport and how there is no difference in ability or depth of game. This is one element of freestyle that makes it so different from many other sports and why it is so awesome!
It was with a heavy heart that all of us simultaneously found out that Santa Barbara native and the best freestyle photographer ever (as well as skateboard and other sports) Scott Starr had passed away while we were all there. The initial reaction was a stunning sadness and grief. It then turned into tears of joy as we all recalled how much Scott gave to our sport and that he was emotionally connected with all of us at this very historic time. There was so much emotion before we found out and this just took it over the top. Thank you Scott.
Here’s a preview of the 2022 HoF minis: