1. What is Ice Bowl®?
An Ice Bowl® is a disc golf event held in January or February with a mission to increase local awareness of disc golf by raising charitable funds to combat hunger. Most Ice Bowls emphasize fun over competition, while burnishing a positive image for disc golf and disc golfers by publicizing the charitable fundraising with timely news releases. In 2014, there were 226 Ice Bowls in North America and Europe that raised over $302K. In 2015 was another record year with 238 events raising a record $344,184. Yet another record was set in 2016 when 219 events raised over $357K. Since 1996, Ice Bowl has raised over $3,500,000.
Here are the three historical Ice Bowl® Rules that convey Ice Bowl’s spirit:
1. Under no circumstances, may an Ice Bowl® be cancelled or postponed because of weather conditions.
2. No wimps or whiners are allowed.
3. There are no excuses for not attending. Either be there or be called out as a wimp!
While Rules 2 and 3 are “inviolable,” recent winters have taught us that sometimes cancellations are warranted. Defying the conditions is a big part of the fun, but Mother Nature may force Rule 1 to be broken; public safety is of the utmost importance and should guide your decision to hold your event if conditions are too severe or dangerous.
In 2017, the official corridor for running Ice Bowl® events is from January 7 through February 26. Please schedule your event within this corridor. We realize that with the growth of the sport, that finding a date, even in the winter, for some regions, is a challenge. If you are conflicted in this way, please give a call to discuss it.
- 3. Why Run an Ice Bowl®?
There are several interlocking reasons to host an Ice Bowl® in your community. We ask you to choose a community-based charity that helps fight hunger. By issuing news releases, the media is more likely to show an interest in disc golf when it’s done in conjunction with a good cause. Media coverage lets more people see that disc golf is fun, and when we raise funds for local charities, we show that disc golfers care. This allows your disc golf club and disc golf community to integrate more fully into the community at large. In addition, when seeking out funds for your charity, you might network with people who could turn into future allies when you are trying to get additional courses in the ground or securing sponsorship for more competitive events.
- 4. I think I would like to run an Ice Bowl®. What do we need to do to get started?
To run an Ice Bowl®, a tournament organizer must register it at icebowlhq.com, agreeing to (1) raise money for an approved charity, (2) to honor the Ice Bowl® trademark, and (3) to report certain information about the event. There are no registration fees nor any obligation to buy official Ice Bowl® merchandise. You must, however, use the words “Ice Bowl®” in the name of your event.
You will need to:
- Decide which charity to support. Moving forward, we are emphasizing Ice Bowl’s historical charitable purpose: to feed the hungry. Therefore, check out local food banks, food pantries, or larger multi-faceted charities that have feeding the hungry as one of their missions. Here are a couple of websites that list food banks and pantries: http://www.feedingamerica.org/find-your-local-foodbank. http://www.foodpantries.org/
- Select a date or dates with in the Ice Bowl Corridor of January 7-February 26 that you would like to run your Ice Bowl. You might check with neighboring communities to minimize scheduling conflicts.
- Check with the government entity (usually a Parks Department) that oversees the park or the manager of a private course for permission to use the course.
- Fill out the online registration form at icebowlhq.com or the downloadable registration form that can be emailed, faxed, or snail mailed. Here’s a link: http://www.icebowlhq.com/docs/ib17reg.doc.
- What Charities will be approved for Ice Bowls?
Some established Ice Bowls have ongoing relationships with charities in their communities that do not necessarily feed the hungry, but serve the community. As one of the goals of Ice Bowl® is integration of the disc golf community within the community at large, we will continue to approve these events as Ice Bowls®.
Please note that we will not sanction events that want to raise money for the welfare of animals as Ice Bowls®. While we appreciate the value of pets and other critters, Ice Bowl’s® mission is to help human beings. In addition, we will not sanction Ice Bowls that wish to raise funds directly for religious institutions or religious-based social and/or fraternal welfare groups. However, this does not exclude extant Food Pantries that are operated by a church and/or located within a church. In addition, Ice Bowl® events are not intended to be used as fundraisers for local clubs or course improvements or for private individuals in need. Finally, we reserve the right to limit the number of Ice Bowls® held in a single disc golf community or region.
- We never get any ice where we live. Can we still hold an Ice Bowl and why?
Absolutely! When Ice Bowl began in 1987, we called it as a day of disc golf solidarity in the middle of winter. Sunbelt states were encouraged to participate for that reason, and also, for the irony. Even though the name may not fit your wintertime climate, when you are raising money for a local charity and let the media know about it, your chances of getting some positive publicity are good. Several of our top fundraisers are from states where winter is usually not that big of a deal.
- What have other Ice Bowls done to raise funds?
There are several ways to raise more money for your events, but they usually fall into one of these two broad and often overlapping categories: (1) finding sponsors and (2) getting money from tournament participants.
Finding sponsors is never easy, but potential sponsors are more likely help out when they know that the main purpose of the event is to raise money for charity. The most direct way to get money for your Ice Bowl charity is by asking for it from businesses and individuals. Putting together a sponsorship form is important, especially when approaching businesses. Although the money you’re asking for may go entirely to your charity, a company chooses to sponsor events because they want exposure for their company and/or products. So, your sponsorship proposal should offer them exposure through logos on flyers, banners at the event, and inclusion in any advertising you may do. Through the use of pledge sheets, local players can solicit pledges from friends, family, and co-workers. The forms below have been used, with some success, in Kansas City.
Sponsor Form: http://icebowlhq.com/docs/ib15samplesponsorproposal.pdf
Pledge Form: http://icebowlhq.com/docs/ib15samplepledgesheet.pdf
Other Funding Ideas
For the first time in Ice Bowl history, an event, the Loco Ice Bowl in Northern Virginia, utilized Gofundme.com that led them to their largest donation ever. This is an excellent and fairly painless way of encouraging your non-disc golf family, friends, and co-workers to support your cause. Be aware that 7.9% goes to gofundme.com (5%) and processing fee of 2.9%. In addition, there is 30¢ per transaction fee. If your charity is registered with GFM, money can be transmitted directly.
Often getting cash from sponsors is hard, but sometimes businesses, including restaurants and bars, sporting goods stores, other retailers, and individual disc golfers will donate gift certificates and/or merchandise that can be brokered into charitable donations at the event. For instance, if there were enough donated schwag, it could be used to “pay out” the winners, thus allowing the entry fees to go to the charity. Some Ice Bowls have auctioned off merchandise, most successfully when the donated items are rare disc golf discs.
Other communities sell closest to the pin tickets where the person who wins gets first choice of the prizes. The CTP contest can go on all day. To get more people to play, it’s not a bad idea to limit each person to one prize. This kind of CTP contest is especially effective if the first prize is very valuable and also if there are lots of lesser prizes.
Donated items can also be turned to cash via a raffle. Again, having a desirable object of some value, such as basket or sport team tickers, etc., as the top prize will sell more tickets. A good thing about a raffle is that tickets can be sold before the event and at the event until the drawing is made.
Another fundraising idea that has been used extensively is selling mulligans. Some Ice Bowls limit the number that can be purchased or how or when they can be used. However, some Ice Bowls have placed no limits on mulligans. A few years back, Memphis encouraged would-be winners to “buy a victory,” and it happened, which greatly benefited their charity.
Some Ice Bowls run a series of warm-up tourneys in which the profits are directed towards Ice Bowl charities.
- Are There Requirements as to the format of my Ice Bowl®?
How you run your Ice Bowl® is completely up to you! We have always encouraged relatively low-cost events that emphasize fun and participation for all players because there is the rest of the year to participate in more traditional, competitive events. However, we understand that some communities prefer to keep their golf events competitive, even in the winter. Some choose to sanction their Ice Bowl® event with the PDGA, which supports the charitable mission of Ice Bowl® through its Competition Endowment Program. For more information about the CEP, see #10 below. Please note that the PDGA supports Ice Bowl®, and will not sanction an Ice Bowl® event until we have approved it. (If new to running events, we’re happy to chat with you with any issues you’re facing.)
- How do we have fun or more fun?
One thing that has remained constant in disc golf through its 40 years of existence is that disc golfers are experts at having fun. Because there are many opportunities for more serious competition within the sport, the emphasis with Ice Bowl has been primarily about fun and charity. Thus, less-formal, creative, and even “goofy” formats for these winter events have often been used. So, try something different! Play the course backwards. Create new tees. Try a new kind of doubles or triples or team golf. (One Ice Bowl tried blindfolded doubles.) Others have used the card game RIPT to spice things up. Competition is, of course, important but it’s good to remember that it’s only January/February and there is a full competitive season coming up.
Having communal feasts at Ice Bowls has proven very popular; with chili as the main course most of the time. Some Ice Bowls have chili contests and give out prizes. Other have sold the chili or asked for donations, which went to the their charity.
Ideally, an Ice Bowl should be perceived as a great opportunity to have a whole bunch of fun, to do some good for the world, while getting some positive PR for disc golf in your town.
- Our community finds it more fun when the golf is competitive and by the rules. Should we run an Ice Bowl®?
Although we find that a PDGA-sanctioned Ice Bowl is a bit of an oxymoron, if this is your orientation, then the PDGA’s Competition Endowment Program should prove attractive. The usual requirements for sanctioning are still in force and there are other stipulations. One of them is that the $2 PDGA per player fee is donated to the event charity and must be matched by the event. A minimum of 25% of entry fees must be donated to event charity, which must be a 501 (c) (3) entity. For full information:
- How can we get the media aware of what we are doing?
The media is more likely to show an interest in disc golf when an event is held in conjunction with a good cause. Feeding the hungry, fighting hunger, and improving nutrition are fairly non-controversial, but important outreaches. The other “hook” for getting media coverage, at least in those parts of the world where snow or ice is possible, is that Ice Bowl® events will not be postponed because of the weather. Once you sign up for Ice Bowl®, you will have access to news release templates, flyers, and other promotional materials when they become available.
Here’s a bit more about what you can co. Prepare a news release to be distributed at least a week to 10 days before the event. Follow this up with phone calls three to five days before tee-off. For TV stations, contact the weekend assignment editor. Faxing or emailing news releases saves time and money. Another avenue is the public service announcement (PSA). A sample news release and a PSA can be downloaded at the address below. Be sure to utilize both print and online versions of newspapers (including free weeklies) for free calendar listings. Here’s a sample news release: http://www.icebowlhq.com/docs/ib16news.doc.
Icebowhhq.com was created primarily as a location for Ice Bowl promoters to register events and access promotional materials. In addition, all visitors can check out the 2017 calendar of Ice Bowl® events, several years of Ice Bowl results, and other historical data. For ongoing news, media links, and photos that we hope you’ll be sending us; we have an Ice Bowl page on Facebook.
- How can I buy some cool Ice Bowl discs, shirts, caps, and minis?
Registered Ice Bowls® will be eligible to purchase Ice Bowl® 2017 discs, minis, clothing, and possibly other items. You will be able to choose from a selection of disc models from several manufacturers, as well a variety of shirts, towels, and headgear, and minis. This allows you to enhance the tournament experience and to raise more funds for your charity. In addition, we can create a custom logo for you that can be “personalized” to include your local event on discs and shirts.
Your agreement to run an Ice Bowl® limits your use of the Ice Bowl® 2017 logo for promotional purposes, which includes advertising your event on flyers, posters, and websites. To print your own shirts or related items, a licensing agreement is required. The creation and use of other designs that include the words “Ice Bowl®” on discs or merchandise is open to negotiation and eventually, a licensing agreement.
We hope to have the order forms for merchandise and trophies before Thanksgiving.
As for plaques or trophies, we will be licensing a vendor or vendors to provide trophies. In addition, we will supply the logo to your trophy shop, at no charge, for use in awards only.
- May we run an Ice Bowl® without a charitable outreach?
No. We require that all disc golf tournaments that use the name “Ice Bowl®” to raise money and/or food for a recognized charity, ideally one that helps fight hunger. In other words, if you are not interested in charitable fundraising, you will not be granted permission to use Ice Bowl as part of your tournament’s name.
- How much does it cost to register an Ice Bowl? May we still hold an Ice Bowl and not buy any merchandise?
There is no cost to register your Ice Bowl. And there is no requirement to purchase any Ice Bowl merchandise, but most players enjoy have a memento from a fun event. However, we ask for no other investment for you to run an Ice Bowl except for your time in organizing the event, raising money for a charity, and filing an Ice Bowl report form when it’s over.
- May we make or create our own Ice Bowl clothing or discs, using either the official logo or one of our own?
Ice Bowl® is a registered trademark owned by Disc Golf World, Inc. Please contact Rick Rothstein at email@example.com about licensing possibilities. Once you register your event, you are licensed to use the words “Ice Bowl” or this year’s logo to publicize your event on flyers, websites, posters, etc.
- What about insurance for my Ice Bowl?
We cannot provide insurance. One solution that several events have been using the last several years is registering with the PDGA through its Competition Endowment Program. (See #10 above.)
- What is the Ice Bowl Contest?
The Ice Bowl Contest awards prizes to those Ice Bowls that raise the most money for charity. To be eligible, an Ice Bowl must register its event as an Ice Bowl with Disc Golf World; support an approved charity; and report the results (attendance, weather, donations, and verification of the donations) of your Ice Bowl to Disc Golf World.
- Who Is Creating the 2017 Ice Bowl® Logo
John Dorn, who drew the Ice Bowl® logos from 2004-2006 and from 2008-2016, is back again this in 2017. The color logo will be on selected full-color discs and clothing. The black and white version will be hot stamped on discs and minis. After you’ve registered your event, these logos will be available for promotional purposes. You can check out more of John’s work at throwingart.com.
- Who Is Behind the Ice Bowl®?
My name is Rick Rothstein. I started playing disc golf in 1981, and like many, if not most of you; I quickly became addicted, both as a player and as a promoter. After initiating the first Ice Bowl in 1987, I promoted Ice Bowl as a day of disc golf solidarity in the gloom of winter through Disc Golf World News, a magazine I published for 21 years. When it all began, the basic idea was to have as many fun-loving, gutsy, crazy, and/or fanatical players show up to play some disc golf, regardless of the weather conditions.
For its first six or seven years, Ice Bowl was casually promoted and tracked. After we made raising money for feeding the hungry a component of Ice Bowl in 1996, we got more organized, asking people to register their events and to report such information as money raised, number of players, and a brief weather report.
I’m pleased and proud to report that since we started raising money for charity, disc golf Ice Bowls® have become synonymous with charitable events. Through the years, we have tracked over 140,000 players at nearly 3,200 events that have raised over $2,500,000. To help ensure that Ice Bowl® events are indeed about raising money for charity, my company, Disc Golf World, trademarked Ice Bowl® a few years ago. For more about Ice Bowl history, check out this Brief History of Ice Bowl.
My “official-as-it-gets” title is Ice Bowl Instigator because, while it’s true that I provide the framework for Ice Bowl®, it is the tournament promoters/directors who do the heavy lifting—making the events and subsequent fundraising and publicity possible. My role is to provide encouragement and to discuss any problems Ice Bowl® event organizers may encounter. I invite you to use me as a resource. I want every event that carries the Ice Bowl® name to be a great success. My contact info is firstname.lastname@example.org or 816.471.3472.
- Where should I go with questions?
Contact Rick at 816.471.3472 or email to email@example.com. Or visit us at 2408 NW Vivion Rd, Riverside, MO 64150. Also, once an Ice Bowl is approved, the TD has access to TD section at icebowlhq.com, where many useful documents reside.