Above: Cedar Creek Park in Fairmont offers three 18-hole disc golf courses.
FAIRMONT — Next weekend the Minnesota State Championship Disc Golf Tournament will take place at Cedar Creek Park in Fairmont. While many disc golf tournaments have been held at the course in Fairmont, this is the first time the state tournament will be held here.
Trevor Boehne, an avid disc golfer and native of Fairmont, is helping to coordinate the tournament.
“I grew up in Fairmont and started playing on the original course at Cedar Creek Park. There was one course, put in by Jon Riggs in 1996,” Boehne explained.
Boehne said he participated in some small tournaments Riggs put on and eventually started helping with them. Boehne and some of his friends started traveling around the state, and outside of it, to check out other disc golf courses.
“I decided that I wanted to expand the course in Fairmont to be more in line with the difficulty and courses that hosted most tournaments for the PDGA (professional disc golf association),” he said.
Boehne said that in looking at expanding the original course, he came to realize how big Cedar Creek Park is, despite growing up in Fairmont.
“My plans ended up changing when I found out how big the park is. I decided to build an entirely different course so I built Cedar Creek West in 2006,” Boehne said.
Boehne admitted that he had to work to convince the park board and the city to add the second course. He said the deal was that he had to raise the funds for it, do the work, or contract out the work.
The addition of a second course prompted the creation of the Cedar Creek Open and it has been taking place annually every year since. Boehne has been the tournament director of the Cedar Creek Open and in August of this year the 15th annual tournament was held.
While Boehne has since moved away from Fairmont, now residing in Minneapolis, he said he’s kept an attachment to the courses in Fairmont.
“As the years have gone on and the tournament has grown, I decided to build another course between the two that already existed,” Boehne said.
The third disc golf course was installed in 2017. Cedar Creek Park now has three full 18-hole courses.
“As the popularity of the sport has increased and the success of the second course was seen, it took hold. The city got better and better at helping with maintenance and keeping up with the courses,” Boehne said.
He said that when Nick Lardy took over as head of the Park Department, they saw an increase in helpfulness in maintaining the courses.
“There’s still a lot of work that’s done by the disc golf club and local disc golfers, but the city is more willing to help,” Boehne said.
Jon Riggs put all the money into the first one, Boehne and Riggs raised funds for the second course, but for the third course, Boehne asked the city to chip in.
“I said we could make this a very unique thing within the country,” he said.
Boehne said there’s only 10 or 15 courses in the world with three courses in one park and Fairmont is the only one he knows of that offers all three to be played for free.
“It’s very, very unique,” Boehne said.
Boehne said the city helped them get baskets that are all a matching style, but different colors for each course. The city also put in some bridges to help navigate between the courses.
“Yes, it’s a disc golf course, but the shared usage by other folks, walkers, and bikers has increased the park’s use,” Boehne said.
Next weekend’s tournament is an annual event put on by the Minnesota Frisbee Association. Boehne said the association has the state segmented into four zones and there’s different competitions within each of the zones.
Boehne said the state championship rotates between zones and the organizer picks a course within whatever zone the tournament will be held in each year. This year it’s in the south zone.
“This is the first time it’s been in Fairmont. It’s because of the success we’ve had in adding the courses and the success of the Cedar Creek Open,” Boehne said.
Boehne said there are currently 150 currently registered for the tournament and the maximum is 180.
The maximum for the Cedar Creek Open is 216. Boehne said that there’s been a recent spike in popularity in disc golf.
“When registration for the Cedar Creek Open opened up in February, it filled up in 45 seconds. Once it fills, you can be put on a wait list. Within three or four minutes of the tournament filling, there were already 200 people on the waitlist,” Boehne said.
He said people have come from all across the country to attend the Cedar Creek Open in Fairmont.
City Administrator Cathy Reynolds recognizes that kind of traffic is good for the city.
“It’s an amazing course. The opportunity to host the state tournament, but even the annual tournament that comes in, the people it draws to the community…. it’s a great asset,” she said.
The Minnesota State Championship Disc Golf Tournament starts the morning of Saturday, Oct. 9 and will conclude on Sunday, Oct. 10.
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