Sports are all about competition — the best beating the best at all costs. But in the world of boomerangs, it’s a slightly different twist.
Sure, they keep records and they care about winning just like any other sport. Chet Snouffer, who runs the Freethrowers Boomerang Tournament in Delaware, is a three-time world champion and a 12-time United States champion.
One of the first things he talked about at the tournament on Saturday at the Delaware Area YMCA was John Gorski’s record for longest timed throw, 17 minutes and six seconds.
The history means something to Snouffer, who has been running this event in Delaware since 1980.
“It’s kind of cool because of the history,” he said. “When I look back, there lots of boomerang throwers through the ages that have been here from all over the world. Some of the guys who are throwing now, this was their very first tournament. So, there’s that sense of accomplishment, knowing that there’s history behind it.”
But it was the camaraderie between competitors, who have been all around the world together, that was striking.
“That’s the interesting thing about it because you’re competing against each other, but the sport is designed that you are also spotting the distances and doing the timing and so you’re working together – you’re encouraging the other person,” Snouffer said.
Gary Broadbent, who has an endurance that would make the Energizer Bunny blush, broke into song with Gregg Snouffer, Chet’s younger brother.
They did renditions of classic songs with boomerang-inspired lyrics. Remember “You can’t touch this”? To boomerangers, it’s more popular version is, “You can’t catch this.”
Broadbent, who calls Canton his home, has been all around the world with the Snouffers and, despite being a single parent with five kids, he quit his full-time job to devote all of his time to boomerangs.
“Do what you love and love what do and the world will come back to you just like a boomerang,” he said. “It’s all about finding your passion and, boy, did I find it in a big way.”
“It’s been a passion and a love,” he continued. “Taking what you love to do and making a living – you’re happy, prosperous, successful and you don’t work anymore. That’s the true American dream — even though we did it through boomerangs.”
Broadbent said that he has a collection of more than 15,000 boomerangs because he can’t just throw anything away. His life is boomerangs – even down to a kitchen outfitted in boomerangs, including handles on the cupboards and a Formica counter shaped like a boomerang.
“I have a boomerang clock because time really does fly,” he quipped.
The tournament took place from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday. And when it’s over, “We always say, ‘many happy returns’ to everybody,” Broadbent joked.