It was last fall that Karl Hinterberger conceived the idea of a Memorial Day disc golf tournament to raise funds for Niagara University’s Sergeant Major Fred E. Kirtchen Memorial Scholarship Fund, as well as the institution’s Student Veterans Organization.
With the NUSVO’s endorsement, Hinterberger got right to work, contacting Innova Discs to design commemorative discs while also designing posters and searching for sponsors. He then worked with Bill Newton in NU’s Office of Campus Activities to plan the event, calling the assistant director “extremely helpful” in ensuring that all aspects of the event were properly conducted. Newton also provided pop up tents, tables and chairs, as well as refreshments for players.
The NUSVO, with cooperation from the Town of Lewiston, secured the disc golf course at Joseph Davis State Park and, by January 2013, began advertising the event via disc golf association websites and supply stores, and on social media sites, especially Facebook.
By tournament day, 46 people were registered to play, an impressive turnout for an inaugural event. Attendees came from as far as Toronto and Las Vegas to partake in the tournament.
Hinterberger, his wife, Angela, and student veterans Justin Flynn, Peter Kellie, Nina Vosburg and Mike Federspiel were integral in setting up.
Town of Lewiston Supervisor Steve Reiter attended the opening ceremonies, thanking the SVO for holding the event in the community he oversees. He congratulated organizers on the turnout and expressed hope that the event would be held again next year.
Following Reiter’s remarks, Hinterberger addressed the players, saying, “We are here not only for current veterans, but for those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. So remember when you have that perfect throw and your disc goes exactly where you wanted it, it was your hero helping you to win this tournament. If you have an absolutely horrible throw, remember that it is someone else’s hero trying to help them win the tournament.”
May 27 was windy and cold, making it a challenge for players. Yet between rounds, players expressed their enjoyment of the event over hotdogs, chips and water. There was also a raffle for prizes donated by Innova Discs.
When the second round concluded, it was time to dole out the awards in three categories: recreation, advanced and open, with trophies and cash awards granted to the top three finishers in each class:
1st place – Andrew Myers
2nd place – Hugh Perkins
3rd place – Louis Vanoni
1st place – Stephen Bettcher
2nd place – Steven Schultz
3rd place – John Hanahan
1st place – Cody Nowaczewski
2nd place – Kevin Sparkman
3rd place – Nicholas Clause
According to organizers, the event was a complete success, and players are looking forward to its second incarnation next year. Factoring in tournament registration, a corporate sponsor (Electronic Management Services), raffles and donations, the NUSVO raised over $600.
“A very special thanks is due to Karl Hinterberger for not only coming up with this idea, but also providing his time, money and heart,” remarked Rob Healy, the veterans services coordinator at Niagara University. “Karl’s bull work made this event the successful it was. Thank you as well to Mr. Newton, whose guidance, organizational skills and support provided the finishing touches to the event.”