Growing my reach is something I want to do. With that, I try and find groups in other states to be a part of and help get those local players and professionals a little recognition. One of the newest groups I found is a group in Montana and I wanted to talk to the club founder. Brian Bjortomt is that man and he was an amazing person to talk to and has a great story to tell. Give it a read and enjoy!
Brian’s start in the sport we all know, and love is a bit more unconventional than most. As Brian told me, “I got my start in Disc Golf the day after a friend’s bachelor party.” He later explained that “it was an 18-hole course in Winona, MN called the Willows.” Not only that, he told me “they gave me an old piranha putter, I was hooked ever since.” That is a great way to get your start into the sport, with friends. Continuing to play is the tricky part. But, Brian has found a way to keep his mind and game focused. He told me “the young guns who are killing it and throwing it far, that’s what inspires me to keep practicing.” There are always new players coming into the sport and rather than being intimidated, Brian chooses to excel and grow with them.
Being sponsored is an honor and something that people often want to strive or when they begin this sport. Brian is one of the lucky few who get to be sponsored and he currently throws for Innova. When asked about being sponsored Brian told me “it is so rewarding to be recognized for the years of work I have put in.” Which is amazing, Brian has accomplished so much in his time in Montana and he is continuing to grow the sport through that work. When asked about Innova, Brian said, “they have been great, and the reference materials and support are amazing.” Brian was beyond grateful over to the phone and could not explain his gratitude more than he was already trying to. Things like that are why this sport is so great, the support from companies like Innova for people like Brian makes the sport go around. It shows how much hard work is valued and appreciated in this sport and it makes me excited to help grow the sport in a positive direction and show people like Brian to the world.
Favorite discs and favorite courses are often hard to say and to think of. But, Brian knew what to say right away. When it comes down to his favorite disc, Brian said, “Champion Beast or a star wraith, hard to pick either one.” Both discs are phenomenal drivers and worth a shot at throwing once you have the arm speed. Brian had two courses to choose from for his favorites, he told me “Blue Mountain in Missoula, MT and SeaTac in Seattle, WA.” Montana has some beautiful courses and Blue Mountain tops the charts and SeaTac is an amazing course in Seattle.
Where Brian truly shines is in his efforts to help grow the sport. One of the many things that Brian has done has been “being the president and co-founder of the Garden City Flyers club in Missoula, MT.” Not only that, I learned that “it is the largest and most active club in Montana.” That is truly impressive, clubs are hard work and keeping one going like Brian does is a feat in itself. With the club growing and building every day, Brian still finds time to “run 4-6 sanctioned events a year.” Which may not seem like so many in the span of a year, but, there are still weekly events and unsanctioned events to run as well. While being a president and co-founder of a club, Brian is also a TD for his events. He has some great advice for people who want to be a TD as well. To start he says, “get a TD box, a box full of score cards, stapler, duct tape, zip ties, envelopes, baggies, etc.” Basically, anything that you may need for an event at any given time. Which, I think is something not many people get to see about from the TD side. Brian also added that “reach out to the local club and ask for and get their support, you don’t want to undermine the local groups efforts.” There are clubs everywhere and everyone wants to help, but, asking first will always be good and it helps with maintaining a positive reputation with the community.
Not only does Brian have good advice for a new and blossoming TD, but he has some great advice for players who want to take their game to the next level. One of the biggest pieces of advice he wanted to get across was “practice putting more and more, everybody can learn to putt.” Putting is such a pivotal part of the game and Brian had to make sure to get that across. More than just putting practice Brian told me “you have to practice meaningful practice, keep score, keep track, make it worth it.” We often want to just play casual rounds but those are things that often don’t help. It is important to take practice seriously and Brian bringing it up is great.
Brian and I talked for a long time and his ending statement was one of the shortest and to the point. Not everyone can think of something right away but Brian fired his answer off and it was great. Simply put “I want people to know that if I am not planning or running an event, I am spending time with my daughter or exploring.”
I would like to thank Brian for taking the time out of his day to let me interview him and also answer my questions! If you would like to know more about Brian, you can find him on social media. You can also see more of the Garden City Flyers club here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/gardencityflyers/?hc_ref=ARReKa6uaJBqt6J2Vnl9LctfMP3ugydfmkFuy-oKM447tceC5rJZdo8PFoXPvh9wlyU Look out for more coming soon!
Picture credit goes to Susan Rangitsch