Over the last four years, the Ledgedstone Insurance Open in central Illinois began as a non-sanctioned tournament in 2011 and has now grown to a spot on the PDGA National Tour in 2015. As it breaks through to the National Tour level, things are shaping up for a record seeing tournament.
Last night on the SmashBoxxTV podcast, tournament director Nate Heinold announced Discraft has come on board as a presenting sponsor for the 2015 sponsor. Heinold tells All Things Disc Golf this sponsorship was huge for the tournament and unexpected.
“This was huge and unexpected. Plastic Addicts was interested in being the presenting sponsor and it was looking like I was going to go that route. And then I got a call from my good friend Justin Jernigan and he said Discraft was interested in being the big sponsor. Justin and I talked and he put me in touch with Discraft and the rest is history,” Heinold says. “Discraft brings everything to the table. They are a phenomenal company and from the get go they made it clear they wanted to make this a big tournament. In fact, during the process Discraft said a few times that they wanted to make this the biggest NT in the country. They are making a huge investment into this tournament akin to what they invest into the Memorial. They will be able to provide marketing support, tournament support and offer valuable insight into running a huge event.”
This sponsorship also brings the tournament to a level rarely seen in disc golf. Last year the tournament had $12,000 added cash and 2015 has already blown by that number.
“Right now we are looking at a minimum of $35,000 of added cash. As it stands, if we get even close to having a full field of Pro players we will have the richest disc golf tournament in the history of the sport outside of Worlds and USDGC. It would be richer than any NT or Major. We have some very exciting events planned for the event, including a Disc Golf/Golf Challenge at Lick Creek Golf Course, an ice cream social, two FlyMarts, a huge player’s party and more. We have the capacity for 504 players this year and we expect this year’s event to fill very quickly. Registration is slated to open around the time of the Memorial,” Heinold stated.
Finally, Heinold wants to make sure the Amateur side of the Ledgestone Insurance Open isn’t second class. There is a lot of focus on making the Amateur’s part of the 2015 tournament is second to none.
Heinold says the bar is set high, “No offense to other tournaments out there, but this will be the best tournament in the country for amateurs in 2015. Our player’s pack is nearly unmatched. We will have 8 discs, a shirt, metal mini, and more. We are working with a sponsor right now to get a bag for every player and that should hopefully be finalized in the next week. But where our tournament shines is the amateur payout. We expect our amateur payout to be over $20,000 this year. As is our custom, every dollar from the amateur entry fees goes to their payout. Not one dollar comes out of their entry for their player’s packs, tournament expenses, food, etc. We treat the amateurs like royalty. We once again expect to pay out more than 60% of amateur players in most divisions and expect first place in MA1 to be over $550 assuming a full field.”
With play in the Peoria/Morton/Pekin, Illinois area, the central location should appeal to disc golfers everywhere. It’s exciting to hear of Discraft coming on board as a presenting sponsor and with at least $35,000 in added cash for the tournament, it is easy to say the 2015 Ledgestone Insurance Open should be one of the best of the year. Keep an eye on LISOpen.com for registration details in early 2015.