Central Illinois is playing host to a world sports championship this week. Specifically, disc golf.
The Professional Disc Golf Association’s World Championships are taking place this week at courses in Northwood Park in Morton; Sunset Hills in Pekin; and Lake Eureka.
The goal in disc golf is to hit a target with a Frisbee. That’s usually a metal basket.
Nate Heinold organized this year’s world championships, the first to be held in Illinois. He sayid holding the tournament in small communities has its pluses.
“The one benefit about coming to cities like Pekin, Peoria, Washington, Eureka, Morton, is that if you go to Chicago and try to do something like this, they may not even take your phone call," he said.
He said the cities have been responsive to whatever he’s needed. About 250 players from almost every state and 13 different countries are in the greater Peoria area this week for the tournament, along with an estimated 5,000 spectators.
The Peoria Area Convention and Visitors’ Bureau projects a $3.2 million economic impact from this week's tournament.
Heinold said bringing the world championships to Illinois fulfills a dream of his - but it didn’t come without a lot of blood, sweat and tears.
“It really takes a dedicated volunteer and then a really patient family to do this. You know, you can’t spend a hundred hours on it. It’s fair to say I have two thousand hours in this tournament," he said. He's envisioned bringing the tournament to Peoria for the last five years.
Heinold is also the organizer of the annual Ledgestone Insurance Open.