After his teenage son died two years ago, Moab resident Sean Paul Schulte found a way to deal with his grief by launching the Little Mac Memorial Disc Golf Tournament. He uses the occasion to talk about gun safety.
Schulte’s then-15-year-old son MacKeon (a name meaning “son of Sean”) was living with his mother in Billings, Montana, when one night around 2 a.m. he slipped out of the house and went to a friend’s, where he rapped on his buddy’s bedroom window.
The friend reached for a loaded pistol underneath his bed, aimed for the head and shot and killed MacKeon, whom Schulte now refers to as “Little Mac.”
The second annual Little Mac Memorial Disc Golf Tournament will take place on Saturday, March 18, and Sunday, March 19, at Old City Park. Last year’s event drew 20 players; Schulte expects about 25 participants this year.
“The Frisbee disc golf tournament is for gun safety and awareness,” Schulte, 48, said. “Our main statement is for parents to vigilantly keep guns locked in the safe, away from minors.”
Schulte said the tournament is his way of working through his grief.
“It’s my main reason for doing this,” he said. “It puts me in front of people instead of hiding away. If I can convince one parent to lock up their guns, and prevent another kid from shooting a person, or himself, (it’s worth talking about it).”
The two-day tournament, which is also meant to be a celebration of his son’s life, will include both individual and team events, including best doubles score, best shot and best putter. Participants will have a chance to win cash and prizes, Schulte said.
City Market and Byrd & Co. Realtor Lenore Beeson are key sponsors of the event. Many local businesses contributed as well. All of the money that is raised goes back into the tournament, Schulte said.
Every participant gets a brand-new distance driver – a disc stamped with the “Second Annual Little Mac Memorial,” on it, Schulte said.
During the awards ceremony on Sunday, at 4 p.m., Schulte said he plans to share “Mac stories” as well as talk about the importance of locking away guns from minors. Afterward there will be live music and a barbecue.
Gun laws that apply to minors need to be enforced, Schulte said.
“There’s already a law that says a minor has to be supervised,” Schulte said. “For a minor to be in the position to purposely kill someone is a horrible position for a minor to be in. A parent sleeping in the next room is not supervision.”
Moto Fonohema participated in last year’s memorial disc golf tournament, and said he plans to play again this year.
“It’s not your typical disc golf tournament,” Fonohema said. “It’s set up so everybody can win, and have fun. It’s not so much a competition as having a great time,” while also raising awareness of gun safety surrounding kids and guns.
Disc golf is similar to traditional golf, but instead of players using a club to hit a small ball into a hole, players throw aerodynamic Frisbees into chain-link baskets aiming – like golf – for the lowest score.
Old City Park has a permanent disc golf course set up that anyone can play on.
“The last couple of years the course has picked up in popularity with people who are passing through town,” Fonohema said.
Grieving father talks about gun safety at disc golf memorial
“It puts me in front of people instead of hiding away. If I can convince one parent to lock up their guns, and prevent another kid from shooting a person, or himself, (it’s worth talking about it).”
When: Saturday, March 18, and Sunday, March 19, at 10 a.m.
Where: Old City Park
Old City Park is located in Spanish Valley near the intersection of Murphy Lane and Old City Park Road. To sign up for the disc golf tournament, call Schulte at 435-210-4154, or register on the day of the event.