Hundreds of disc golfers, fans, vendors and community members enjoyed an evening in downtown Emporia with the annual DDO Block Party.
With more than 1,300 disc golfers participating in the tournament this year, Dynamic Discs owner and event organizer Jeremy Rusco said it was exciting to welcome people back to Emporia after a year of cancellations and shutdowns.
“This has been a super amazing week for us here in Emporia to bring back the disc golf family to the Emporia community — the most welcoming disc golf community in the world,” he said. “We know this is a huge economic boost for our community and our businesses downtown, and we’re super thankful to have 1,300-plus competitors in town and so many of their friends and family in town as well spending money in this great community.”
While there was plenty of excitement on the courses this year, with records being broken by both the MPO and FPO divisions, Rusco said the biggest highlight of the week for him was bringing everyone back to town. What better way to celebrate, he said, than with a downtown block party?
And with Emporia playing host to the 2022 PDGA Professional Disc Golf World Championships as well as the 2022 Dynamic Discs Open, he said next year will be an even bigger year for disc golf in Emporia.
“I’m really looking forward to being host here to the 2022 Professional World Championships and continuing to see disc golf grow here in Emporia,” Rusco said.
One of the many people out enjoying the evening was 2021 DDO men’s champion Paul McBeth.
McBeth, who has won the DDO five times total including the last three years, told The Gazette that this win felt good.
“This one’s been a little different because it’s been a slower year for me, so it feels good to get in the winner’s circle,” he said. “To be here in Emporia where I’ve won before, it feels really good; like a good kickstart for the rest of the year.”
McBeth, from Huntington Beach, Calif., said he enjoys coming back to Emporia for its small town vibe and welcoming community.
“I love how the community comes together here and I love all these locally owned businesses,” he said.
Another visitor who said they enjoyed the Emporia community was Rhonda Crosby of Kansas City, Mo. Crosby, along with husband Ben, operates the Kansas City Disc Golf Divas which is a group designed to get women interested in disc golf.
“We celebrated our 10th year this year,” Rhonda Crosby said.
The KC Disc Golf Divas founded the Heartland Women’s Series and Crosby said last year Dynamic Discs stepped up in a big way to help out.
“They helped us with raising money,” she said.
The Heartland Women’s Series has events in Kansas City, Des Moines, Iowa, Omaha, Neb., Noble, Okla., St. Louis, Mo. and Emporia.
“I started playing about 20 years ago and there were very few women so I have kind of took that up for myself to make that change,” Crosby said. “2020 was a little bit of a setback but we’re really excited for 2021. I think all of the ladies are really hopeful.”
More information about the KC Disc Golf Divas can be found at kcdiscgolfdivas.com.
The next big disc golf event this year is the 2021 PDGA Junior Disc Golf World Championships set for July 7 - 10 in Emporia.