Halloween-Themed Ultimate Tournament Draws Students From Other States

Canaan Zeigler (left) and Kay Thomason (right) cheer on their teammates Oct. 27 at the ultimate frisbee Harvest Festival.

Ultimate frisbee players from across the country dressed up in Halloween costumes to compete in the 29th annual Harvest Moon Tournament in Fayetteville on Oct. 26-27. 

The tournament featured five divisions: open, women, mixed, college men, and college women. No matter the division, each team dressed up in outrageous costumes to play against teams from across the nation. Teams from Mississippi, Tennessee, Texas and many more made the long trip to Fayetteville for the fall tournament.

Although rain poured all morning, the players braved the rain on four separate fields: The Lewis Soccer Complex, Kessler Mountain Regional Park, the University Intramural Fields, and the Gary Hampton Fields. 

The Harvest Moon tournament is a more casual, fun environment compared to that of a competitive tournament. 

“You just get to experience the culture side of the sport rather than the competitive side,” said Sheldon Shinn, a UA senior. 

Players dressed in costumes such as grandmas, prisoners and lumberjacks and competed against each other. Players joked with each other while playing, made riskier throws than they usually would in a competitive tournament and called their own fouls, all while maintaining a semi-competitive atmosphere.

“It’s a big emphasis on the spirit of the game, which is something that’s really specific to ultimate,” said Andrew Watson, a UA junior. “We’re just trying to have a good time instead of trying to get better.”

Kyle Antonio, a junior who is the team captain for Arkansas’s team “Ludicrous Speed,” enjoyed the break from the competitive ultimate scene. 

“We have a lot of competitive tournaments throughout the fall season,” Antonio said. “I feel like this is a really good one where you can just bond, get to know each other and have fun.” 

“Nebraska Cornfed,” the team from Lincoln, Nebraska, made a six-hour drive to play in the tournament and dressed up in Star Wars-themed outfits. The team brought a speaker and danced to Star Wars music on the sidelines. One of them was dressed as Princess Leia and kept the wig on for the whole game. 

Its first game was against “Ludicrous Speed,” which the UofA won 13-11. Arkansas dressed in business-casual, with some players even dressed in full suits. 

“This is fantastic,” said Grant Paisley, a freshman at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. “This is a really fun, relaxed time, not too serious. I mean we’re playing with lightsabers in our hands.”

UNO, the University of Nebraska-Omaha, played the UofA in its second game. The players were dressed up as Waldo from the “Where’s Waldo” children’s books and lost 12-9 to Ludicrous Speed in their second game.

“I think [the tournament] really gives us a good name in the ultimate community,” Watson said. “We have teams all the way from Nebraska, and they come here every year because they like to come back.”

The UA players all seemed to get a kick out of Mizzou’s theme of dad outfits. Mizzou players broke out their Hawaiian shirts, high socks and fake mustaches and hollered encouragement towards their teammates on the field.

“They were supposed to have a charcoal grill set up with them, but unfortunately that’s not allowed on the turf field,” Shinn said. 

The tournament had a $450 entry fee for each team and included dinner after the Saturday contests, as well as merchandise for each player. 

Not every game’s score was logged, and there was no trophy for the winning team, but the players did not seem to care.

Parker Tillson is in his second year as a sports reporter for The Arkansas Traveler.

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