by Cori Hilsgen
Ninety-three people participated in the 22nd annual St. Cloud Ice Bowl held Jan. 18 at the Millstream Lions Park in St. Joseph. Donations collected from the Bowl totaled $9,323 for area food shelves.
Other people also came to offer their help, donate food and collect money. Thirty-seven people donated 125 pounds of food.
After a night of heavy snowfall, some people might have wondered if the Ice Bowl would still be held. Organizer Rick Rentz wasn’t worried. He knew the city of St. Joseph maintenance crew would do a good job of getting the park ready for the disc-golf tournament and they did not disappoint.
“The city did a wonderful job of clearing the snow,” Rentz said. “They are a wonderful crew and always take good care of us.”
He said temperatures for the Bowl were 17 to 20 degrees with 10-mph winds creating a 10-degree-below-zero wind chill. The park grounds were covered with 12 inches of snow.
“The theme for the day is no wimps, no whiners,” Rentz said.
If someone whines about the weather, snow, ice or other things during the bowl, they are required to pay a “tax.” That was one of the many ideas event organizers used to help raise extra funds for the Bowl. A silent auction also brought in $969. Many local businesses and players donated auction items.
Rentz said they collected $13 for the whining tax this year.
“It was a beautiful day, however, trudging through the snow for four hours took a great deal of energy,” Rentz said.
The disc-golf tournament, sponsored by the St. Cloud Disc Golf Club, is part of national fundraising efforts to support local charities. Tournaments are played at courses in the United States, Canada and Europe between Jan. 2 and Feb. 28. The St. Cloud Disc Golf Club has been the world’s top fundraiser in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008.
Locally, it supports the St. Joseph Area, Catholic Charities and the Salvation Army food shelves.
Rentz said the organization has raised more than $130,438 for local food charities during the past 16 years.
The tournament originally was held at Riverside Park in 1993, then moved to Calgary Hill in 1998 and then St. Joseph in 2001, where it’s been held for 14 years.
Players participate in one round of 20 holes. Thirty of the players had people sponsor them per hole, often $1 per hole.
Regular golf rules, with the lowest score winning, apply to the Bowl. Divisions included “Open Pro,” “Master Pro,” “Advanced,” “Amateur,” ”Youth” and “Women.” The top three winners in each division, except the Open Pro, received trophies.
The winners were “Master Pro” – Brian Gustafson; “Advanced” - Jeremy Wilcox; “Amateur” – Rob Denton; “Youth” – Devon Carozzi; “Women” – Jessica Critz; and “Open Pro” – Ross Brandt.
Many players donated their winnings which amounted to $485.
Rentz said they set a fundraising record in 2007 when they raised $21,610 with a matching grant from the Norman C. Skalicky Foundation. The deepest snow they competed in was 50 inches in 1997, and a 29-degree-below-zero wind chill was a factor in 1996.
Top fundraisers included Todd Grundhoefer with $1,625, John Grether with $673, Aaron Habor with $600, Tony Schmitz with $415, Rentz with $400, Adam Kushiol with $360, Jason Kolskin with $250, Brian Gustafson with $230, Mike Kurzhal, Matt Roscoe, Nate Ramacher, Joel Bryant, Mary Bodelson and Greg Stein all with $200.
A Sartell resident, Grundhoefer has raised more than $13,000 in the past 13 years. He won this year’s “Top Fundraiser” trophy.
Grundhoefer has been playing disc golf since 1996 and is a lifetime member of the St. Cloud Disc Golf Club.
Rentz has been organizing the Bowl since 2002. Other organizers include Adam Gorres, Tim Mackey and Anton Tomonavich.
All are welcome to the Ice Bowl, but it is not recommended for beginning golfers. For more information about year-round disc golf options, visit www.stclouddiscgolfclub.com.