A simple pastime on the beach is turning into a great business for one Ahwatukee Foothills father-and-son team.
Pete and Preston Barry were vacationing with family in Rocky Point in Mexico when they came up with the idea for Disc-Off. All it took was some PVC pipe, a frisbee, and an old beer bottle.
Some cousins from Colorado had been playing a game where a beer bottle was balanced on top of a ski pole. A Frisbee was thrown to try to hit the bottle, and if it was hit then "you had to chug a beer or something like that," Pete said.
They made it a little more family friendly. Two PVC pipes were set up about 30 to 40 feet away from each other and an empty beer bottle was balanced on top. One person stands behind each pole and throws the Frisbee, trying to knock down the other person's bottle. If they hit the bottle they get five points, a hit to the pole is worth three points, and if the Frisbee bounces off the ground and hits the pole it's one point. If the person standing behind the pole can catch the bottle before it hits the ground they steal the other player's points.
"We made five or six teams and we were just rotating through," Pete said. "By the second day that we were playing we noticed we had a bunch of people sitting around, watching us play. Late in the afternoon, finally two teenage boys got brave enough to ask if they could play. They started playing and then others joined in. Literally, for five days we played all day long."
On the way home, thinking back to their vacation, the men were a little disappointed that the game could probably never be played at a beach or park back home because a glass bottle would not be allowed.
"We thought, if we could create the perfect bottle maybe we could make a business out of it," Pete said.
After some searching and convincing they finally found a Phoenix plastic company that could manufacture bottles that were just right. They were about the same weight as the glass bottle, the same size, and could be made in many different colors. The next step was getting the other pieces together.
"We thought, man, we've got this great bottle, but we were using PVC pipe and trying to paint it and using PVC for the base, and it looked real bad," Pete said. "We thought we can't go to market with something like that. We went out and had the PVC special made in one solid color. Once we got that we started making the base. We made it out of the same material as the bottles so the colors match and everything. Now here we are."
They had the bottles and bases patented and have now sold more than 150 sets.
Preston, Pete's son, moved back to Phoenix from Florida to work at the factory where the bottles and bases are produced. He has taken the game with him on wake boarding trips, and says he has friends who request to play it whenever they're at his home.
"It was a great idea," Preston said. "When we started doing it, it caught on really well and people really took to it. We were just shocked that no one had jumped on the idea already. To me, it gives Frisbee an objective. You can just throw a Frisbee back and forth, but this gives you something to aim for."
The men have seen every age enjoy the game. They've seen 5 year olds move the posts closer together to make it a little easier and they've also seen goals set up on each end of a college dorm hallway/ Pete has even played against a professional disc golfer.
"When we talked about this we decided if it's not going to be fun, we're not going to do it," Pete said. "That's how we do things. If it's going to be too much work, we're just not going to do it. We had to make sure people like it. It's addictive, even for people who have other passions."
The game is available for purchase online at disc-off.com.
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