History of MUFA
In the summer of 1993 a seed was carefully planted in Madison Wisconsin. World Flying Disc Federation Ultimate World Championships were hosted by the newly formed Madison Ultimate Frisbee Association (MUFA).
This small city already had a rich tradition in Ultimate which included successful club and college mens and womens teams dating back to 1976.
The University Bay fields had already seen 25 to 30 tournaments including club and college UPA sectionals, and at least half a dozen UPA Regionals. U Bay fields made the national map in 1991 as the site of UPA Collegiate National Championship.
MUFA was formed by Doug Greygon, Julia North, Kathy Haig, John Huggett, Matt McCord, Sam and Sarah Sackett, Jim Stearns, Peter Burkholder, and Brad Wendt. These people really took the honor of hosting Worlds very seriously. They wanted a player friendly event which would hopefully not lose money. All agreed not to accept any profit if for some odd reason one was made.
The year of planning did plant a healthy seed. Eighty three teams from seventeen countries included over fifteen hundred players and a hundred staff which included a star studded collection of full time staff from many of the biggest tournaments in the USA. Four hundred fifty one games were played that week, including two unique third place games, one of which gathered a huge crowd, due to the beauty of non-uniforms, while the other was a race of container emptying.
This very festive mass of people took over the UW campus and surrounding area, which really had the city buzzing with excitement. University and city police were deffinitely entertained with this very energetic, loud, fun-loving collective. City police went so far as to protect from traffic, the Venezuelan team inspired drum party which took over State Street after bartime. Stories circulated around campus staff for years.
Tournament finals were held in a football stadium directly behind a semi-pro baseball stadium at Warner Park. Ultimate drew 3000 spectators which was more than the baseball team drew for their game that was held at the same time.
All the healthy vibes from Worlds caused the seed to sprout. Sure enough this event did earn profit. True to MUFAâ€™s word, all was given away. MUFA bought lights for the outdoor field near the Natiterium on the UW campus, which gets used most nights for all sorts of Ultimate. MUFA started a $5,000 WFDF Ultimate Worlds starter fund because we knew how much we could have used help in the beginning of tournament preparation. We hope it still exists or even has grown. The biggest chunk of change went to the Madison Parks Division to install a Disc Golf Course. The installation is a story in itself, including lots of volunteers and lots of big machinery, plus a wadd of city money to create a state of the art disc golf course at Hiestand Park, which was designed by one of the MUFA persons.
We have a little tree now as that seed continues to grow. Hiestand Disc Golf Course has helped Disc Golf become so popular that a third course was added a few years later. All three courses have been used for the Mad City Open Professional Disc Golf Association SuperTour tournament the last four years. The story of Ultimate Players from around the world buying Hiestand Disc Golf Course never gets too old to tell. Please come and play it!
The tree blossoms! Since 1993 MUFA has sponsored Ultimate Summer League, a number of the MUFA people traded years directing a co-ed summer league starting with 15 teams the first year. This league quickly became popular. High school friends started teams and very quickly MUFA added a Junior Director. Some years ago Robin Davies became League Director, taking a healthy situation and called it Madison Ultimate Summer League (MUSL). Sponsorship was changed from a local bar to a brew pub called The Great Dane, which supplies a different color shirt for each team plus a two pitcher per game punch card. MUSL adds an Ultrastar and at least twelve league games plus playoffs. A finals game/bash happens at the same stadium 1993 Worlds Finals were held which includes final for each division and food and beverage for all players. Great atmosphere under lights, big crowds, lots of heckling with happy tummies happen at Warner Park Stadium. 2002 had forty four teams split into a recreation and experienced division. Each year the divisions change upon request of captains. Some years saw beginner, intermediate, and experienced divisions. MUSL has become huge with players ranging from fourteen to forty something. UW runs an intramural league every spring now, and MUFA sees a great hat league â€œFall Leagueâ€ every autumn. In 2003 a spring women’s and men’s league was formed. The high school scene lead by Dan Rabb has as many as half a dozen schools in Madison form and disappear each year, with mainstays West High and Memorial fixtures with hordes of players each year. High school gym classes include ultimate units which likely helps get these students excited about playing. Madison has gone to High School Nationals the last three years. Last year they took a boys and a girls team. The only Madison teams not to qualify for UPA National is the club Co-ed and the Master squad which has missed by just points a few times to many times.
The pick-up scene is impressive also. Groups play all over the city. Usually two or three sites are posted on www.mufa.org and others go unposted.
As you can see, the tree bears fruit. Plenty of it. Mostly thanks to Ultimate players from around the world in 1993.
Thank you to those of you who staffed and/or played in 1993. You have created a Flying Disc force of every level, fun recreation to serious competitive play at the highest levels.
93′ Worlds Staff
93′ Madison Open Squad
93′ Madison Womens Team