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The Community of Disc Golfers and About All Things Disc Golf

If you're wondering ... I came up with the nickname "Boneman" because our hometown [Carbondale] is called "Bonedale" for short ... so, Boneman. Having recently broken my leg playing disc golf, some say the nickname is more fitting now. I have to say that having been a climber for well over 30 years, I never broke a bone ... However, I have nearly died several times from other incidents.

I grew up in a small town in Missouri, just north of St. Louis [where I was born]. I lost my father at a very young age, and was very happy to have a new stepfather before I turned 19. I left the life in the country at 17, joining the US Navy. I had started rock climbing and mountaineering at age 14, and it was my plan to take advantage of the travel associated with being in the service to climb all over the US and overseas. That plan worked out pretty well, and by 21, the age of my honorable discharge from the Navy, I was prepared to move to Boulder, CO and pursue my life as a climber.

At the same time, I attended school in Denver at the Colorado Institute of Art. After that program, I went to school at CU in Boulder. I started a very successful career as a freelance illustrator, and graphic designer. Climbing, at the time, was very much like disc golf is today. A sport on the rise, and becoming more popular every year. Sport climbing and indoor climbing have really opened the doors to new participants and those that are less "adventure" driven. I spent over 30 years climbing across the US and in Europe. I also enjoyed other sports along the way. Fly fishing, fly tying, snowboarding and mountain biking were all integrated into my climbing experiences.

In 1995, I got a call from Climbing Magazine. I had already been working for Climbing for nearly 10 years as an illustrator. This opportunity was to work in house for the magazine as a production assistant. For a short time, I was very involved with the production of the magazine, and became the production manager. When the magazine decided to create an in-house position for an Art Director, I was promoted to that position, and continued as Art Director for over 8 years. As the magazine grew, and passed to new ownership, the corporate overhead overwhelmed the small magazine. The corporate powers needed to wring every dollar out of the staff, and in it's wisdom, in one fell swoop, retired several it's most senior creative staff ... and saved itself a significant amount of money in doing so. Since then, the corporate owners found they had no choice but to stop lining their pockets with the hard earned cash of the staff, and sold the magazine to a smaller publishing company. At this time, I know of only 2 of more than 20 people who are on staff at the magazine today.

For me, it was the end of a dream. I had decided at the age of 14 that I would work for Climbing Magazine some day, and I had achieved that goal, only to be smitten by the almighty dollar. It was a good run, I had a lot of fun getting there and being a part of such a wonderful group of climbing journalists, artists and fanatics.

Life goes on. I'm now very happily working with a great group of designers, still only 15 minutes from my home up in the mountains of Colorado.

Disc golf? Nah, I'll pass ... It was only 4-5 years ago that a couple of my coworkers at Climbing invited me out to play a round of disc golf at our local DG course, CMC Glenwood Springs. I was hesitant at first, at the time, climbing, fly fishing, Mt biking and snowboarding were taking up a LOT of my time. However, those sports were about to whip my a$$. Cracked ribs from snowboarding, a very serious mountain bike crash, falling while soloing a frozen waterfall up in Redstone ... the injuries were piling up faster than my body could heal. I was in bad shape! For about a year, I couldn't do anything and was going to doctors, chiropractors, etc. I was a very unhappy puppy. One day, the guy who did my deep tissue massage therapy suggested I try a 10 week ROLF program. He thought I was the perfect candidate. Having spent thousands of dollars on standard medical treatment, medications, and chiropractic work [I was far past my insurance deductible] I figured ... What do I have to loose?
If you know what ROLFing is ... you probably know, it's no cake walk. EVERY point where a muscle connects to bone in your body gets worked. From the tips of your toes to right up your nose. It's brutal at points. The bonus? After 10 weeks, I was cured of every single ache and pain in my body! I could immediately go out and run a couple of miles with NO PAIN.
I decided that I would retire from climbing [OK, I still haven't sold ANY of my rock/ice gear ... we'll see how this one goes], or for that matter, ANY sport where I could hit anything or get hurt from an impact (I know, your laughing because I broke my freaking leg playing disc golf ... Yeah, I'm with ya on this one ... pretty damn funny).

I started going out with they guys who invited me to play disc golf with them, and I was hooked. There are many things I like about disc golf — just throwing discs for that matter. I had started playing disc golf in 1978, and played a few courses over the years. I spent hours and hours playing catch with a Frisbee during that time. I even remember getting boxes of Frisbees while I was at sea in the Navy. We used to spend hours throwing discs while on the aircraft carrier in the hanger deck and flight deck when possible. I was no stranger to throwing discs, and what with my retirement from "risk" sports, I picked right up on disc golf. I can honestly say, I've been playing, and had disc golf on my mind once an hour since this transition. Hello, my name is John and I'm a disc golf addict.

This is really a brief synopsis of my life over the last 30 or so years. One of the great things about being a "little" older is you have MORE stories to tell. I've got a ton. Feel free to ask me how it felt to be on Longs Peaks Northeast Face, in the winter, wet and snowy, minimal bivy gear, near death, and then make it to the summit the next morning in glorious sunshine. Or in the middle of Utah, over 100 miles from the nearest highway, on a mountain bike, without water and little food, desperately trying to navigate through the Maze and back to top of the Flint Rock Trail. Or how it felt to be sitting on an aircraft carrier off the coast of Iran, war threatening, 24 hour flight ops, with only a couple of days left in the service ... and everyone telling you your tour was about to get extended. I've got tons of crazy backcountry snowboarding tales. What it's like to be married for 20 years [It's wonderful honey!] Lot's of fun stuff.

It truly has been a "Long Strange Trip". I will be turning 50 this year [July 4th], I'm really looking forward to the next 50, especially now having found a new family — my disc golf family — to share it with. I'm really looking forward to getting back out and playing some DG as soon as this leg heals! Big plans for this years tourney season.

Keep those discs flying!

My personal website is here. I know, it's a little out of date, but still kind of interesting.

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Comment by John McMullen on February 6, 2008 at 11:30am
Hey Pat! Sure I remember you. Next time your down in the area give me a ring. If you're on our side of the hill, we can hook up and play. As I recall, you whooped me pretty good at PGC, lol. That's why it's the only tourney I've dropped out of (no, seriously, all the rain/wet the first day made me sick Sunday morning ... it wasn't pretty, LOL).
Hope you can make it down to play this summer. I'll be playing in the Pro Grandmaster division! Wish me luck ... I'm going to need it [playing with the likes of John Bird, Mr. Shive, Hendler ... the list goes on].
Comment by Montana Pat on February 6, 2008 at 10:56am
Hey John, Good read! I played with you a few times in '06. HPC and Pawnee Gulch. I was the Big Sky beer rep... If I would have known all this we would have had alot to talk about, being a climber myself who at one time worshipped the magazine. Hope to make it down to CO again sometime this year. Thanks for sharing.
Comment by Bill on February 5, 2008 at 3:48pm
Great read, thank you for sharing.

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