Flying saucers: Ultimate's main event debuts in the Springs



What do tennis, golf and Ultimate [Frisbee] all have in common?

Well, besides being sports amateurs prefer to play (often poorly), all three now boast U.S. Open Championships, with the inaugural Ultimate U.S. Open coming to Colorado Springs this week.

From July 5 through 8, the co-ed, invitation-only tournament will play host to the highest-level Ultimate teams from the U.S., Canada and even Colombia — which, apparently, has a robust Ultimate Frisbee culture, with three of its teams making the journey to the Springs.

Tickets cost $10 per day, with a 4-day pass setting you back $30.

One of the teams competing in the Open division is Denver/Boulder’s own Johnny Bravo squad. Co-captain Josh Ackely says he expects a challenge.

“I expect this tournament to be just as competitive, if not more competitive, than the World Championships," he says. "There will be no easy games.”

But there’s more to the U.S. Open than just a tournament. More like a, “celebration of our mission,” says USA Ultimate CEO Tom Crawford, “to bring the entire community together.” During the days that follow, coaches, players and other community stakeholders in America’s fastest-growing sport will enjoy a convention at the Antlers Hilton, and host demos of the game for kids, who can then try it out for themselves.

USA Ultimate clearly hopes that some locals will wind up as hooked as Crawford says he was when he first saw the sport played at a high level.

But what story would be complete without tales of the fire mucking up everybody's July 4th plans?

The group had coordinated its first-day festivities to co-inside with the Air Force Academy's Independence Day celebration at Falcon Stadium, including a demo of the sport's best-of-the-best, doing what they do. This, sadly, is one more victim of the Waldo Canyon Fire. The tournament itself was also quickly moved from the Air Force Academy athletic fields to Fountain Valley School in the southeast part of town.

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