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Beaver Open

By Ted Schredd

The Beaver Open is the world’s longest running footbag (Hackeysack) tournament that takes place every September Long Weekend in Willamette State Park just north of Salem, Oregon.

Now I was expecting a bunch of dreads and reggae tunes but instead I found World Class athletes, outlandish fun characters and lot of happy souls. The main event is Footbag net competition. This game is like volleyball except you use your feet instead of your hands and a footbag instead of a volleyball. You can play as a single player or teams of two. I am not a super footbag kind of guy so I wasn’t really interested in competing per se until I found out the rules.

What the fun infected management of the Beaver Open does is combine the professional players with the amateur players when they form teams. The goal was not to win but to have fun and if you win well good on ya. I couldn’t believe that I was right on the court playing with some of the best in the world. It was still competitive but not deathly competitive. It made it fun for everybody not just the talented players. I was so impressed that all of these people had come to a tournament for the sole purpose of everybody enjoying themselves not just a selected few.

I wondered how many competitions and events could benefit from this pro/amateur combination technique. When I was a small child unfortunately I was always picked last. With this system nobody is picked last. We were all picked together. So often we sign up for a competition to be the best or to beat our personal best – but is that goal the most fun way of playing in life?

There were talent shows and crib tournaments and glow in the dark games at midnight but my favorite was the Beaver Open Grumpy Beads. They take a Mardi gras style necklace (or whatever style of necklace you choose) and award it to whoever gripes or whines about anything. Once you have been designated keeper of the Grumpy Beads you must wear the beads until you find another whiner. It was a great way for people to interact and gently tease the grumpy person. Try it at your next house party.

Discover Fun tips our hat to all the participants of the Beaver Open for their dedication to everyone enjoying themselves at a tournament not just the most talented competitors. For more info contact: LJ




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