If it hasn’t been made evident by now, we love people here at AAT! We love hearing about their stories and passions for our community, but we also love hearing about what our fellow locals do and why they do it! For example, we have some wonderful neighbors who own/manager some fantastic local businesses and serve our town tremendously by doing so! This fact is why AAT has partnered up with our good friends at B3 Glass, to bring you all “Small Business Fridays!” Each week, we’ll feature a different, local small business and talk with its owner and hear about their journey, their business in general, as well as their heart for their customers and our city!
By Alina Croft (Instagram: lina_gail, Twitter: alina_croft)
Many native Elko residents are unaware of the disc golf team and league right in their own backyard! Michael Broyles explains the sport, his passion for it, and the advances he’s made with it, especially during the last year surviving the COVID-19 pandemic.
What is Disc Golf?
So, you know golf, and you know Frisbee. Combine them, and BOOM, you have disk golf. At least, that is a very simple explanation. Michael Broyles, secretary, and co-founder of the Humboldt River Disc Golf Club, explains it much better.
“Disc golf is like regular golf except for we use specialized frisbee discs instead of clubs and golf balls,” Michael said.
Elko is a lucky enough town to be able to have a place to practice and play disc golf even though many of us have ever heard of or seen it!
“We have a 19 hole disc golf course here in Elko,” Michael said. “The sport is growing a lot, especially this last year with COVID-19 restrictions… It’s such a great outdoor activity just to walk and get exercise, but you can also stay distant from other people.”
Michael enjoys playing with the rest of his team, not against them because it is the player against the course in his mind, and he thinks the community has something to do with it.
“The community around it has been awesome,” Michael said. “All the guys and gals that play are super friendly and all super supportive and encouraging about improving. That’s one of the coolest parts about it.
“In a lot of other sports, it’s a lot more competitive, with a lot more secrets and things where the top guys won’t tell you how they do what they do, but in disk golf especially, the community around it makes everyone want to help everyone else get better. I haven’t come across that in some of the other things that I’ve been involved in.”
How Did This Start?
This sport is not new to Michael though, he’s been playing for years.
“I started playing with my brother, just casually, because we had a course in our town,” Michael said. “When I really started to get into it, though, was this last year when I needed something to do and everything else was closed. So we started a club, the Humboldt River Disc Golf Club, and we now have over 30 members.”
Disc golf doesn’t just stay within the city limits of Elko, though; there are meets and competitions all over the United States.
“We hosted our first ever tournament this fall, and we now have league rounds happening every weekend where we get together, and we earn ratings,” Michael said. “We compete, but we’re not really competing against each other, we’re always competing against the course trying to improve ourselves and our skills.
“I like to travel and play courses all over the state and region. I’ve been at tournaments all over the place, Salt Lake City, Boise area, Reno area, Las Vegas area… This disk gold thing is nationwide and starting to expand all over the world.”
Let’s Get a Bit Personal
Besides the sport being an excellent way to socialize and exercise during the last year safely, it also helped Michael in a time of need.
“The reason why disc golf was good for me is it found me at a good time,” Michael said. “I had just gotten done having lung surgery. I needed to do something to get out and be active, but I couldn’t do many intensive things.
“Disc golf was perfect for me. I would get out and do a lot of walking, some good quality time outdoors. It’s like hiking, but with something else to do, not just walking. That was really perfect for me at a time when I needed to be outside and be doing things that were active.”
With little restriction, Michael’s passion grew for the disc throwing sport.
“It’s one of those things that you can go out and play anytime.” Michael said. “It’s free, depending on the weather, and even when there’s snow on the ground, you can still play, but you can play when it’s hot when it’s cold… I think the challenge of improving is part of why I’m passionate about it, but I think the social aspect of it is also a big part of it.”
Helping The Community
Disc golf in Elko, along with Michael and his clubmates, is doing more than having fun, it’s also improving our town, with the possibility of it becoming a nonprofit organization as well.
“We’re working on getting our nonprofit status so that we can raise money for course improvements so we can help clean up the area,” Michael said. “In our town where our course is located, there has been some trouble with vandalism and things like that in the past and some destruction of property.
“What we’ve been able to do as a club is really help clean up the area down by the river, and that’s helped our town and our city parks and rec. It looks better; it looks nicer; it’s been a win-win for everyone.”
The team tries to help out the Elko area with more than the upkeep of their course and surrounding area.
“We actually try to do a lot for the community,” Michael said. “Some of the things we hope to do with the club are fundraising events for other nonprofits in our area.
“There are things like the Ice Bowl, which is a disc golf tournament that raises money for the food bank and homeless shelter, and then there’s other ones that are like Veterans For Vets, as an example. It’s a type of basket called a veteran basket. Still, the idea is that it’s a disc golf tournament designed to raise money for local Veterans of Foreign Wars and other veteran organizations.”
For my favorite part of the articles I write, our weekly advice or important fact or call to action is our excellent interview. Michael is calling the community to act. Just like he and his club helps the community, he’s asking the community to help them.
“Come give it a try,” Michael said. “It really doesn’t take much to get involved; it costs about eight at Walmart to buy a frisbee or a disc, and then come try it.”
So, my Anthony Around Town-ers, see if you can make it happen! I can see this becoming a massive thing in our community, and maybe you’ll see more about it soon!
You can stay caught up on everything going on around here at AAT by checking out our “Stay Connected” page! Make sure you never miss a feature!
Until next time, we’ll see you around, Elko!