The Pennsylvania Disc Golf Hall of Fame
J. Gary Dropcho - PDGA #2734
1989 Advanced World Champion - Laural Springs, NC
HOME REGION: Pittsburgh, PA
International Frisbee Association member 1978, achieved Master rank;
PDGA member since 1984;
Pittsburgh Flying Disc Society Lifetime Member 007, Past President, current Course Superintendent;
Disc Golf Foundation, Treasurer since 2002;
Indiana Disc Links Association, Lifetime Member 003;
Mid-Atlantic Disc Golf Club, Member #166;
Senior Designer, Disc Golf Course Designer Group.
First PDGA Amateur Champion 1989
PDGA Senior Player of the Year 2001
MADC Tournament Co-Director of the Year (with Keith Clark) 2002 and 2003
EDGE/ PDGA Award Inaugural Winner 2004
PDGA Bob West Sportsmanship Award 2008
Amateur National Championship: 1989, Laurel Springs, NC
Pittsburgh Flying Disc Open: 1989 Advanced Champion, Schenley Park, Pittsburgh, PA.
Edgewood Electric Open: 1993 Masters Champion, Mt. Airy Forest, Cincinnati, OH.
Edgewood Electric Open: 1996 Masters Champion, Mt. Airy Forest and Rapid Run Park, Cincinnati, OH
Shoot The Breeze Open: 2001 Open Champion, Lakeshore Park, Ashtabula, OH.
Greater Medina Open: 2001 Masters Champion, Allardale Park, Medina, OH
Seneca Creek Soiree: 2001 Masters Champion, Seneca Creek State Park, Gaithersburg, MD.
Ironwood Open: 2002 Open Champion, Schenley Park, Pittsburgh, PA.
Indiana Open: 2003 Open Champion, IUP College Lodge, Indiana, PA.
Can-Am Cup Team Match Play Championship: Champions 2004, 2005, 2007 - Pittsburgh A Team Captain, 2009 -The Jimmy Stewarts. Brown's Farm, Forestville, NY.
Ontario Provincial Championship/Can-Am Finals: 2004 Masters Champion, Pinafore Park, St. Thomas, Ontario.
Ironwood Open: 2005 Masters Champion, Knob Hill Park, Warrendale, PA.
Pennsylvania Collegiate Championships: 2005 Open Champion, IUP College Lodge, Indiana, PA.
Ironwood Open: 2006 Masters Champion, Moraine State Park, Portersville, PA.
Pennsylvania Collegiate Championships: 2006 Open Champion, IUP College Lodge, Indiana, PA.
The Hunt at Deer Lakes: 2008 Open Champion, Deer Lakes Park, Russellton, PA.
Seneca Creek Soiree: 2008 Grandmasters Champion, Seneca Creek State Park, Gaithersburg, MD.
The Hunt at Deer Lakes: 2010 Masters Champion, Deer Lakes Park, Russellton, PA.
Seven Springs Disc Golf Classic: 2011 Open Champion, Seven Springs Mountain Resort, Champion, PA
Ironwood Open: 20012 Masters Champion, Moraine State Park, Portersville, PA.
Indiana Open (first tournament I directed; played on a temporary course I designed at Mack Park with chicken wire ground baskets in 1980)
Hacky Sack and Frisbee Festival (1984-1986 at Point State Park)
Pittsburgh Flying Disc Open (Co-director for 17 of its 25-year history 1990-2011)
Pennsylvania Flying Disc Championships (Overall tournament 1989-1990 at Schenley Park)
World's Biggest Disc Golf Tournament/Weekend (1992-1999 at Schenley and Knob Hill Parks)
Pittsburgh Scholastic Disc Golf Championship (Inaugurated as a single event in 1995 at Phillips Park, expanded to a series of tournaments at area courses 2000-2012).
Can-Am Cup (founded tournament and ran inaugural event in 1999 at Knob Hill Park)
Ironwood Open (founded in 1988, TD in 2000 at Schenley Park)
Can-Am Disc Golf Series Co-Director (2001- 2002)
The Hunt (founder and TD in 2007 at Deer Lakes Park)
Hampton Community Park, Allison Park, PA (temporary course used for Pittsburgh Flying Disc Open 1990-92)
Knob Hill Park, Warrendale, PA (1994)
Phillips Park, Pittsburgh, PA (1996)
Songer Whitewater Outfitters, Fayetteville, WV (1997)
Getty Heights Park, Indiana, PA (1998) Lead designer with Michael Dropcho
Indiana University of PA College Lodge, Indiana, PA (2002) Lead designer with Michael Dropcho
Moraine State Park, Portersville, PA (2005) Lead designer with Chris Deitzel, KB Clark, Leo Liller, Bryan Wright, Tim Wright.
Deer Lakes Park, Russellton, PA (2006) Lead designer with Tom Moeller and Dan Sauers
Camp Twin Echo, Ligonier, PA (2008)
Seven Springs Mountain Resort, Champion, PA (2008)
Two Mile Run Extension, Brighton, PA (2009)
Slippery Rock University of PA, Slippery Rock, PA (2011)
STATEMENT OF PERSONAL PHILOSOPHY AND GOALS:
I am privileged to play the game of disc golf. I consider myself privileged for teaching new players how to throw a disc, priviIeged for creating new courses on which people will pick up the game and on which others may test their skills, and privileged for the chance to improve the strength of my will and expertise as a player.
This privilege is why I strive to give my best to the game -- during a casual round or in a national level tournament, with a new player during their first round or with an experienced player who violates a rule, for a sponsor that has made a financial contribution to an event or for a parks partner who is investing in a new course, to a spectator who asks what disc golf is or to a caller who wants to know where to buy discs, with a child who enthusiastically runs after their shot in front of a playmate about to make his throw, or with a novice who needs to turn her back shoulder away on the windup and follow through with the off side after the release, when picking up trash on the course or when building a retaining wall or footbridge on a disc golf course with discarded materials found in a park. I am fortunate to understand that disc golf is a game, and I am and lucky to have fun playing it.
I know how blessed I am for the people who have allowed, encouraged and cheered my participation in a sport that can be very lonely and solitary. However, this game has brought me peace, confidence, friendship and joy for all of my adult life, and for that I am grateful.
I have already reached one of my goals as a player: to have my son beat me in a round of disc golf. I have more to do however. I want to continue to learn about course design and to help professionalize the role of course architect. I would like to some day work full time running my own disc golf course design firm. Our club has plans to run a World Championship in Pittsburgh, and I want to be part of the team that makes it happen. Now, as a player, I have to shift my goals to beating my son in a round of disc golf.
BIRTH YEAR: 1957 PLACE OF BIRTH: INDIANA, PA HOMETOWN: INDIANA, PA SPOUSE: JAN RANII-DROPCHO CHILDREN: NATALEE AND MARCUS
HOW AND WHEN BEGAN PLAYING DISC GOLF: I played my first game of disc golf throwing CPI Saucer Tossers around the yard with my brothers when I was in seventh grade. In 1979, I went to Europe with the International Friendship Tour and competed at the European and UK National Championships in freestyle, ultimate and field events, but no disc golf tournaments there. Joe Adams, Harvey Brandt, Charlie Callahan and I played object golf in London's Hyde Park and Amsterdam's Vondel Park on that summer tour, however, the first disc golf tournament I competed in was the 1980 American Flying Disc Open at Genesee Valley Park in Rochester, NY. There I putted into ground baskets, Saucer Holes, and for the first time banged some chains on what must have been Mach 1 baskets. I became a member of the Professional Disc Golf Association at the first PDGA tournament held in Pittsburgh in 1984, organized by Steve Kohman. I got serious about disc golf after a torn ACL in 1984 signaled the end of my Ultimate playing days.
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