Costumes, competition and a lot of “chasing plastic.”
That’s a loose description of the Pumpkin Pull 2015, an Ultimate Frisbee tournament hosted by the Victoria Ultimate Players Society on Vancouver Island last weekend.
A total of 22 teams hit the field for the annual tourney, including one from Yukon.
Team Yukon Gold did both the territory and the potato proud, coming away with a 2-4 record and finishing in the C pool.
“This was our second tournament in two years. It’s sort of indicative of a recent surge in the popularity and interest in Ultimate Frisbee, which we’re very excited about,” said Yukon Gold captain Ryan Agar. “Travel to the tournament was made possible by Lotteries Yukon and their travel assistance funds.”
The team, which consisted of 14 Yukoners and five from Kelowna, wore Yukon gold potato sacks as team jerseys. They mashed the competition in a pair of games.
The Yukon team beat Victoria’s Marvel vs. Capcom – dressed as Marvel and Capcom comic book characters – 13-4 on Saturday for their first win.
Yukon Gold then sacked another win, beating Lower Mainland’s Inconciva-Pull – a play on words from the film the Princess Bride – 13-2 to finish off on Sunday.
The Yukon tream almost pulled off an even record. In their third game on Saturday they found themselves in a 12-12 tie with Victoria’s Noah’s Ark, a team dressed as the biblical character Noah and animals from his ark. But Noah’s Ark team managed to stay afloat, getting the final point in the sudden-death next-point-wins situation.
“Jenn (Dagg), this was her first tournament and she caught her first point at her first tournament. That was exciting to see,” said Agar. “Nitin Singh, this was his first tournament as well, and he has basically been our rookie of the year. He came out on a whim to play last year and has improved exponentially over the winter. He said, ‘I thought I was hot stuff, but then I came out to the field and realized I still have lots to learn.’ He’s going to a fantastic player.
“Lindsay Agar, my sister, and Marisa Hart were just key in getting everything organized and with logistics, getting everybody from the airport to the B-and-B to the field. They were so awesome to make that happen.”
The sport of Ultimate Frisbee has some slight similarities to football, with players moving the Frisbee down the field and scoring a point when a team member catches it in the end zone. It is played with seven players a team outdoors, five a team indoors.
Despite the stereotype, it’s not only played by hippies on college campuses.
“We’re definitely a small but dedicated fringe sport,” said Ryan. “The height of our sport was probably the late ‘90s when we had a league with regular teams – three or four teams – playing twice a week.
“The low point was the mid-2000s and now we’re on a rebuild.
“You don’t see us very often because there’s about 50 of us in the territory right now. We’re a fringe sport – you don’t really hear about us.”
With an upswing in popularity, the Yukon Ultimate Frisbee Association plans to add to its drop-in play on Sundays at the Canada Games Centre.
The association hopes to organize “mini league” one night a week for a month or two leading up to Christmas. Details haven’t been hammered out yet.
“We play a lot of pick-up and it’s hard to get a lot of interest because you’re not always playing with the same people over and over again,” said Ryan, the association’s director at large.
“We went to Anchorage for a tournament three or four years ago and there was lots of interest. It got people keen on building their skills, so it created a nucleus of people who keep pushing along.
“We’re at the point now where we regularly have 30 or so people on any given Sunday night for pick-up, which is awesome. We’re wondering now if we can build on that momentum to maintain our Sunday night for new players and structure a bit of a league as well so we can continue to build our skills as well.”
More information can be found on the group’s Facebook page at Yukon Ultimate Frisbee (Whitehorse).
Sunday drop-ins at the Canada Games Centre start at 5 p.m.
“We love people coming out to our pick-up games,” said Agar. “The key thing is to bring a pair of indoor shoes, a white shirt and a dark shirt – that’s how we split the teams.
“Afterwards we often go out for a beer at the Ridge (Pub).”
Contact Tom Patrick at