Clester Hornsby came prepared for the elements.
The Augusta resident knew the reputation of the Ice Bowl, an annual disc golf event held this year on Jan. 16 at Patriots Park. Participants play rain or shine.
Hornsby and more than 50 other competitors played through rain this year.
"I was able to come prepared and bring several towels," Hornsby said. "That's about the only way to do it -- that and an umbrella and some wet gear."
Hornsby kept his disc golf equipment dry long enough to win the event's open division.
Proceeds from the tournament benefited Golden Harvest Food Bank in Augusta. Participants paid a $20 entry fee in addition to a canned goods donation.
Money was also raised through a chili cook-off and silent auction.
The poor weather was similar to the 2008 event and provided a convenient excuse for those who might have wanted to stay away. But Hornsby said he was surprised at the number of participants this year. He credited event organizer Jimmy Padgett.
"(He) is really good at promoting it, at promoting disc golf in general," Hornsby said. "He put a lot of fliers out."
Hornsby said Padgett reached out to those who only played recreationally and convinced them the Ice Bowl was a good place to begin competitive play. The 30-year-old Hornsby is a tournament veteran, having competed in tournaments the past eight years. He served as the Ice Bowl organizer for two years.
Hornsby grew up on traditional golf before growing tired of the sport. In 1999, he discovered disc golf, which offers golf's benefits -- enjoying the outdoors, camaraderie -- at a fraction of the cost. Hornsby introduced his father to the sport when the elder Hornsby was 58.
"It's something we can go do together and enjoy it," Hornsby said. "It doesn't cost a lot of money besides the discs."
Hornsby's home course, the one closest to his south Augusta residence, is Pendleton King Park. He also plays the scenic Riverview Park course in North Augusta and travels to Wildwood Park for a bigger challenge.
Wildwood Park will play host to a separate Ice Bowl this weekend. The Ice Bowl at Patriots Park is associated with the Augusta Disc Golf Association.
The Professional Disc Golf Association will hold its Ice Bowl on Saturday at the International Disc Golf Center at Wildwood Park. Registration for the event begins at 9 a.m., and play starts an hour later.
The cost is $20 plus a food donation, with proceeds going to Columbia County Cares Food Bank.
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