Bags tournament brings in competitors from all over the country

By Beau Ebenezer

Bags tournament brings in competitors from all over the country

June 29, 2013 Updated Jun 29, 2013 at 6:42 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill -- Whether it's a hard toss or a soft float, getting the bag on the board or in the hole was all that mattered Saturday afternoon at the 6th annual River City Bags Tournament.

"We just thought it would be an opportunity and we really like to play," said tournament co-founder, Nick Babcock. "We started off playing in the back yard with friends, and everyone was competing and having a good time. We saw an idea to do it on a larger scale, and that's what we did."

Nick Babcock and his friends started the tournament six years ago to raise money for their St. Jude running team.

The tournament started with only 14 teams, and now, more than 100 teams are signed up.

From the looks of it, it's a game that everyone takes pretty seriously.

Well, most of them anyway.

"If it rains the next time we go out to play it might make it a little colder for me," said bags competitor, Richard McKee, referring to his Hawaiian outfit. "I just have to deal with it and keep on throwing. They want to take pictures and some of them say it's totally awesome. We'll just let them take pictures and have fun. That's what this is all about."

Richard McKee and Jennifer Doty made the trip from Jerseyville, Illinois.

"Your whole goal is to get all four bags in the hole," said Doty. "Does it always happen? No. Does it happen very often? No. But one day we will be like the pros."

The rain made playing a little more difficult adding a couple extra pounds to each bag, but that didn't stop the friendly community from playing through.

"We were hoping for sun." said Doty. "Last year we were rained on. We heard the year before was rain too, so welcome to River City Bags. You're going to get wet."

Amateur and professional divisions were included in the tournament with prizes and award payouts of $2,500.

Organizers hope to raise $15,000, which will go to the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Peoria.