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Eagle Harbor...The Mecca Of International Guts Frisbee?

February, 1997

The Lighthouse Eagle Harbor History Exhibit includes some memorabila from the First International "Guts Frisbee" Tournament... right here in Eagle Harbor. They must be kidding! What's the story?

Oh, George, have you ever opened a subject now! Bet this all happened while you were still up and coming in the world of Day. Huds. & you didn't get to come up very often. Mercy, yes the frisbee tourney started in the ballyard, but you have some much more knowledgeable than any in the world right in EH. Ask 'Jumbo' Jon Davis for the scoop. The 'Jumbo' was his frisbee name, as I recall. Probably my uncle Rich Warden, too. And, of course, Boggio. I was only in HS or college when it all started. Got too big for EH, and luckily, left for more commercial climes. Will be interested to see the thread of discussion this starts! Shades of Julius T. Nachazel! Carol Bogart

Decided to do a litle surfing on the Net about "Guts Frisbee". My oh my, look what I found.

The game of Guts

"Just catch one!" With those words, hundreds of Guts Frisbee players have tried to convince other people to participate in this most unusual sport. The idea was, if a novice could just feel the adrenaline from catching a Frisbee thrown at full speed, the novice would become hooked. It has worked more than once!

Beginnings: Family & The IFT

In 1958, two brothers, Boots and John Healy, discovered a "Pluto Platter" in a store in Minneapolis. It was passed about the family until Tim and Mary Healy and several friends began tossing it around on July 4, 1958. By the end of the day, the game of Guts was invented-two teams of five players stand fourteen meters (fifteen yards) apart and throw the Frisbee (less than vertical and within reach) to be caught by the other team with one hand.

That August, Tim and Mary Healy took the disc to the family picnic in Eagle Harbor, Michigan and played the game of Guts Frisbee, and the "Invitational" Frisbee Tournament had its beginning. The family and a few friends attended for several years. With outside interest growing, invitations were sent all over the world to "everybody who was anybody." Next, posters and T-shirts were created to promote the event.

The fun event was dominated by the North Central team of four Healy brothers-Bob, John, Tim, and Peter, with Dick Warden, John O. Sanregret, and Jack Fenton filling in as fifth men in different years.

In 1967, the tourney started growing and George "Thor" Anderson and his team, the Foul Five, become the new winners. Ed Headrick, then executive vice president and general manager of Wham-O, was soon to change this. In 1968, "Steady" Ed took his sons, along with Steve Sewell, Jay Shelton and Stancil Johnson, and lead his team to victory. The team was known as the California Masters and repeated in 1969. The Healy family continued to run the IFT through much of the 1960s with help from Jim Boggio.

In 1969, the IFT was highlighted by the attendance of Julius T. Nachazel, a professor at Michigan Technological University. (Now I get it, Carol) The coveted Nachazel Trophy has always been presented to the winner of the IFT and been a symbol of Guts supremacy. Goldy Norton and Jon Davis also figured greatly in the future of the tournament. Now the "International" Frisbee Tournament, Jon Davis took over as director in 1970 and saw Mel Visser bagpipe in the Foul Five as they defeated a bunch of kids known as the Highland Avenue Aces of Chicago.

The Modern Era

The Aces would elevate the sport to a new level. They would win the IFT in '71, '72, and '73, defeating such classic opponents as the Berkeley Frisbee Group, HMCU of Ann Arbor, the Swedetown Sweathogs, and the Bosch Hunt-hers from Calumet.

The Bosch team became the Library Bar team that would win in '74, '77, and '78. The WABX Air Aces from Detroit would win in '75 and '76, and parts of that team would make the Motor City team that would win in '79 and '80.

By this time the IFT had grown to some 60 teams and highs of 8,000 fans over a two-day period. Davis's promotion had paid off, and the Hall of Fame was the next step.

Into the Hall, into the '80s

Actually beginning in '78, the Hall of Fame idea grew from the International Frisbee disc Association and Wham-O, "to honor those persons who had made a major contribution to the growth of disc sports."

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