Thursday, June 15, 2006

Days of Disc and Chicken

Originally uploaded by erink.

Spent last weekend at Poultry Days, a combination Ultimate Frisbee tournament and local Ohio town fair (Versailles OH Poultry Days). These two strange bedfellows have been together for 25 years, and the relationship seems pretty stable.

The tournament is enormous: 65 teams. But it's not all that hard core - it's about having fun, playing ultimate, and eating chicken. All the teams have to have chicken-related names, so you get things like Breasts and Thighs, It's Raining Hen, Automatic for the Chicken (from Athens GA), Gonzo and Camilla, and Party Fowl. We played against Cock Block, a longtime Poultry Days contender with team members from Colorado, Illinois, and I think Arkansas - apparently the team just reconstitutes itself for the tournament every year. Everyone camps in this little park next to the fields, there's a "Cool Hand Luke Egg Eating Contest" on Friday night - a charity fundraiser, with per-egg sponsorship for each contestant. And strangely enough, it's technically an "open" tournament - which is an ultimate euphemism for "men's" since it just means there's no requirement to play any women - but all the teams that play are mixed.

Unlike all Poultry Days in recorded history, it was cold - low 60s - and pouring rain almost all day Saturday. So there are no pictures.... Unfortunately my team lost all our games, though we did get better and better while we played. I actually played pretty well, for me - not sure if I've finally learned from all that training or if it was the magical +3 gloves of power I was wearing in the rain.

Then there's the fair. After playing until almost 6 on Saturday we walked over to the fair to get chicken dinners (and showers, at the high school) and check things out. There were rides, food, and games. There was a big bingo tent. Apparently in the daytime there were things like flea markets and craft shows, but I didn't get to see any of those. (I probably would have liked staying at the fair longer Saturday night, but I felt the need to bond with my team over canned beer back at the campsite.)

I did go to the cane booth and win a cane. You throw a ring over this rack of canes and then if you ring a cane, you get it. I was trying to throw the rings straight sideways (the ultimate term would be a push pass), which wasn't working out very well, and the booth guy advised me to spin them, "like a frisbee. You know how to throw a frisbee, don't you?" he said. "Well, that's up for debate," I said. But I did win a cane. I also liked the sign at the booth that warned you not to use the canes for any inappropriate activity at the fair. No, I didn't get a picture....

I did not stop by the ping pong pitching booth and try to win a live baby rabbit. I did meet another ultimate player who had won a live rabbit, and was trying to figure out how to get it home on the plane. We told him a shoebox wouldn't work, but I don't know what happened after that. They did sell him a little hamper to hold the bunny in, and gave him a handout with helpful information like "Never pick a rabbit up by its ears." Hmmm, maybe I am glad to live in an urban area.

But man, that was some good chicken. It's not just that we were hungry, in fact, we bought an extra dinner before we left Sunday, carried it home in the cooler, and reheated it yesterday - it was still damn good. Your $7 chicken dinner comes in a big styrofoam box with a little carton of chemical orange drink. There's a thigh-to-breast of chicken in there, some MikeSell's Potato Chips, one of those ridiculously sweet dinner rolls (with faux butter), and a cup of applesauce. And a spork, napkin, and wet-nap. I was expecting a red barbeque sauce (which I don't like) but it was more of a salt-and-pepper rub with some hardwood smoke flavor. It was mighty fine. The potato chips were MikeSell's, which come from Dayton (about 30 miles away). MikeSell's are my favorite, and they aren't sold in Pennsylvania. After the salty chicken they were a little lost, but I did save some for later.

Poultry Days also has a beauty contest (or some sort of pageant) where they crown Miss Chick. We saw her around the fields on Sunday; the tournament winners get a team picture with her. I hear she and her two-woman entourage played a few points in the all-star game on Saturday evening too!

We went back to the fair for a little while on Sunday and I got to watch a little of the Kiddie Tractor Pull. It's a complete plug-and-play event, it comes in its own trailer. The kiddies get a pedal tractor attached to a sledge kind of thing. As they pedal forward, the weight on the sledge moves so that it becomes harder to pull. I wanted to try it, but it didn't seem appropriate (I wasn't sure I could pedal the thing anyway). If you get to the 5' mark you get a ribbon.

I hope we get to go again next year. Poultry Days is a legendary tournament, so spots are competitive and partially based on making a good impression on the tournament directors - which I hope we did - but I know we can do better. On Saturday we were riding back from the remote fields on the shuttle bus (there were two converted school bus party buses running shuttles) and the last woman to get on the bus pulled out a boom box and a gallon of vodka (in plastic - no glass allowed!). Someone else contributed a 2-liter of Coke as chaser and we passed them around the bus twice in the 8-minute ride back to the park. On my way off the bus, I decided: next year, I want to be that person!

1 comment:

Cathy said...

You were only 30 miles from Dayton?? Dude! I would totally have come to see you play, even in the rain. 2 hour drive is no hardship.

Disc golf is all the rage here--has it caught on in Pittsburgh? A lot more low-intensity than Ulitmate, but then, I don't know anyone who's blown their knee out playing Disc Golf yet...