Product Review: Bearded Brothers’ energy bars

By Steve Hill and P.J. Harmer — Rattling Chains staff

As far as energy bars are concerned, I don’t care if the company making it tells me it’s going to make me run faster, have more endurance, or recover from a workout more quickly. If it tastes like crap, it doesn’t matter.

So when I was presented with the chance to review Bearded Brothers’ offerings the ever-growing bar market, I was pleasantly surprised to find not only no claims of superhuman feats if I ate them, but also – more importantly – tremendous flavor.

product_reviewIndeed, each of the company’s four varieties offer complex, unique, but not over the top flavor profiles. Mighty Maca Chocolate is inherently sweet, but not overbearingly so. Bodacious Blueberry Vanilla mixes the bars titular flavors in a subtle fashion that leaves a pleasant aftertaste, while Colossal Coconut Mango balances texture and acidity in each bite.

The winner of the bunch, though, is Fabulous Ginger Peach. The combination doesn’t sound like it will work at first – for me, ginger brings thoughts of sushi and ale, not energy bars – but opening the package tells a different tale. The overwhelming freshness of the ginger hits the nostrils right off the bat, clearing your senses for the sweetness of the peach to come. Overall, it is an extremely invigorating flavor that mixes sweet and prickly at the same time.

While the taste is all these bars need to be successful, they have a lot more going for them, too. The packaging, for example, is something I wish more energy bars would embrace. It is resealable, so if you don’t want to scarf the whole bar at once, you can save it and keep it fresh. It is also shaped reasonably well so that it can fit in the back pocket of some running shorts, or a bicycle kit, or a small disc golf bag pocket. The outdoorsy background that the creators of Bearded Brothers boast is clearly evident in this detail.

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Disc Golf Hall of Fame Classic low on turnout, but still big on competition

By Steve Hill — Rattling Chains staff

Sandwiched between last weekend’s “Steady” Ed Masters Cup and next weekend’s Copenhagen Open, it seems that the Disc Golf Hall of Fame Classic is getting lost in the tournament shuffle.

Case in point: Only 65 players were pre-registered as of Thursday evening for the National Tour event taking place Friday through Sunday at the International Disc Golf Center in Appling, Georgia. That number is just shy of half of the participants in the Texas State Championship (116) and a mere third of those who played last week in Santa Cruz (171).

Nikko Locastro will be seeking his first NT win of the season this weekend in Georgia. (photo courtesy PDGA Media)

And while plenty of big names will attend this weekend’s festivities at the home of the PDGA — Ken Climo, Will Schusterick, Nikko Locastro, , Ricky Wysocki, Dave Feldberg, Paige Pierce, and Sarah Hokom headline the bill — the list of pros not making the trek is almost as impressive as those playing.

Current National Tour leader and reigning world champion Paul McBeth? Absent. Masters Cup runner-up Philo Brathwaite? Playing a tournament in Oceanside, California. Former world champion Eric McCabe? An upstate New York tourney. Perennial tour standouts Nate Doss, Val Jenkins and Avery Jenkins? Hanging out elsewhere.

So, as some players use Georgia as a layover on their way to Europe and others simply skip out, the Disc Golf Hall of Fame Classic may not feel like the big event that it is.

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McBeth edges Brathwaite for second consecutive Masters Cup title

By Steve Hill – Rattling Chains staff

As far as the 2013 PDGA National Tour Series goes, the third time was a charm for Paul McBeth.

Paul McBeth putts during the final round of the “Steady” Ed Memorial Masters Cup on Sunday. McBeth rallied for his first National Tour victory of the season. (photo courtesy PDGA Media)

After second place finishes at the season’s first two NTs, McBeth emerged victorious Sunday at the 28th Annual “Steady” Ed Memorial Masters Cup in Santa Cruz, California, edging out fellow Southern Californian Philo Brathwaite with a three-day 18-under-par 198.

Brathwaite placed second with a 16-under 200 at the famed DeLaveaga Park. Nate Doss, Nikko Locastro, and Steve Rico each shot a 14-under 202 to tie for third place.

The win marked the second consecutive year McBeth won the tournament title, but he never led this year’s installment until almost halfway through the final round.

After Locastro shot a 1074-rated round to open play on Friday, Brathwaite responded with an 11-under round Saturday, which was unofficially rated at 1087. Heading into Sunday’s final round of 24, Brathwaite held a one shot lead, but he said he knew anyone — or anything, including the course — could be nipping at his heels.

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Rattling Chains enters disc manufacturing market, sponsors first pro

By Steve Hill — Rattling Chains staff

Much like Irish rock band The Cranberries asked with its 1993 debut album, “Everybody else is doing it, so why can’t we?”

Rattling Chains is proud to announce that it is jumping into the disc manufacturing market, with a line of six discs to be released this Friday, April 5.

Making its own line of discs has been a goal of Rattling Chains since day one, according to founder P.J. Harmer, but it took a bit longer than expected.

Big Kev, a lumberjack from Upstate New York, is set to be the first pro for Rattling Chains.

Big Kev, a lumberjack from Upstate New York, is set to be the first pro for Rattling Chains.

“This is the culmination of a long and arduous process, but we are thrilled with the results,” Harmer said. “We are confident that our readers, and disc golfers the world over, will feel the same.”

Harmer initially began developing the discs with founding partner Darren Dolezel before the Rattling Chains blog began, he said. But with the market already being flooded with manufacturers, Harmer decided to build the brand name before investing in the plastic.

“As soon as I first picked up a disc, I knew I wanted to improve on the concept,” Harmer said. “Ease of use, grip, accuracy, consistency – all of these qualities are covered with the Rattling Chains line.”

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Bearded Brothers brings all-natural energy to disc golf

By Steve Hill – Rattling Chains staff

With all of the concentration required in order to execute proper disc golf shots (“Am I reaching back far enough? What line am I trying to hit? How’s the footing on this hillside?”), a rumble in the stomach is the last thing anyone needs to worry about.

Have no fear. Bearded Brothers is here.

Started as a simple idea in October 2010 by non-brothers (more on that later) Chris Herbert and Caleb Simpson, Bearded Brothers produces energy bars that are 100 percent organic, vegan, and gluten-free. From its origins in kitchen experimentation to full production that now finds the bars available in 23 states, Herbert said the motivation for building the company was necessity.

BeardedBrothersLogo“Bearded Brothers was born from two guys wanting to make energy bars that tasted great and had solid nutrition,” he said. “Initially, Caleb and I made our own bars for personal use, as healthy eating was a top priority to both of us. Caleb being an amazing climber, runner and cyclist, and myself being an avid disc golfer, traveler and outdoorsman, we realized how hard it was to find an energy bar that, one, tasted good and, two, wasn’t full of crap.

“Unfortunately, we couldn’t find one that met both criteria,” Herbert continued. “So we made our own.”

The Austin, Texas-based duo began by creating eight different flavors of their product, which was then pared down to today’s four offerings via a public taste testing party. They also put a great deal of effort into researching the packaging – which features a resealable, newly-compostable wrapper – and, of course, the name of the company.

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Wysocki dominates en route to Texas State Championships victory

By Steve Hill – Rattling Chains staff

After an up-and-down performance that still found him on the lead card for the final round of the Memorial Championship, it was anyone’s guess how Ricky Wysocki would perform at the Texas State Championships.

Wysocki, though, left no doubt.

Ricky Wysocki putts during the second round of the Texas State Championships. Wysocki won the event. (photo courtesy PDGA Media)

On a course littered with trees, brush, and cacti, Wysocki shot the hot rounds Friday and Saturday en route to a 10-stroke victory in this weekend’s Texas State Championships in Manor, Texas. Even as Paul McBeth tried to play catch-up on Sunday, Wysocki didn’t let up, using a deft mix of backhand drives and forehand escape shots to capture the $1,660 purse.

Wysocki finished the three-day tournament with a 33-under-par 186.

McBeth placed second with a 23-under 196, taking home $1,270 in the process. Nikko Locastro’s 16-under 203 earned him $975 for his third-place finish. David Hemmeline and Ron Convers tied for fourth by shooting a 15-under 204. They each earned $730.

Without question, though, the tournament belonged to Wysocki. Even if he wouldn’t admit it himself.

After starting off by shooting an eight-under-par 65 on Friday, Wysocki said he felt like he could have played better.

“I knew after the first round I was ahead, and I didn’t feel like I played that well,” he said. “It was windy, so when it’s windy you can shoot pretty well and not know it. That’s how I felt the first day, I didn’t play super solid, but I played all right.”

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Product Review: MVP Tangent

By Steve Hill and P.J. Harmer — Rattling Chains staff

At this point, the output from the MVP Disc Sports factory has to be nearing the level of its automotive counterparts in nearby Detroit.

The Tangent, scheduled to hit stores this Friday, is billed as a slightly understable mid-range driver. With this release, MVP has knocked out four molds since October. And while most MVP fans were probably hoping for the brand’s next offering to be a distance driver, I feel confident in saying the Tangent will be more than enough to hold the devotees over.

product_reviewMore importantly, I think it will bring a lot of new MVP throwers aboard the bandwagon.

See, while MVP’s prior offerings have been enjoyable, none have been quite so effortless to work and manipulate as the Tangent. Case in point — my first throw in the field with the 170-gram, lime-green tester I was given produced an audible “holy crap.” With an easy, smooth toss, this disc got up and ran straight out to about 250 feet, gliding with ease to a soft landing almost straight in line with its release. For me, that’s a good pull with a mid.

But anything can happen in the field, so I knew I had to temper my expectations for this disc until I gave it a true workout on the course. Content to continue working with the 170-gram disc from the field, I decided to use it exclusively for a round of 18 at Brengle Terrace Park in Vista, Calif., to try and unleash all of its potential.

And, I knew I needed to have some additional perspective on how it flew. So, I took it out to the course with the Mikes, two guys I play with who are, without question, huge fans of the MVP Axis, the company’s stable mid-range. I knew that, with their bigger arms and MVP experience, they would be a good measure for how the Tangent would perform.

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College student attempts world record to raise team funds

By Steve Hill — Rattling Chains staff

Sure, a lot of disc golfers would probably say they would play 24 hours a day if they could. But if push came to shove, who would actually step up and do it?

University of California, Santa Barbara freshman Mike Sale, for one. And he’ll also be attempting to break the Guinness World Record for most disc golf holes played in a 24-hour span.

Mike Sale will attempt to set a Guinness World Record for amount of disc golf holes played in a 24-hour period.

Mike Sale will attempt to set a Guinness World Record for amount of disc golf holes played in a 24-hour period.

Sale, 18, will play disc golf from 9 a.m. (PST) Sunday to 9 a.m. Monday at the nine-hole Isla Vista Peace Course in Isla Vista, California. In order to break the record, he will need to play more than 1,305 holes.

Beyond attempting a world record, the event is also a fundraiser for the UCSB disc golf team’s trip to the National Collegiate Disc Golf Championships April 4-7 in North Augusta, South Carolina.

Sale founded the team this past fall. The team competed at last November’s West Coast College Open at Cal State Monterey Bay, qualifying for this year’s national championships.

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Ice Bowls a great way to experience tournament play on a lighter level

As clouds dotted the sky and a light breeze chilled the air on a 55-degree day in San Marcos, California, I couldn’t help but think one thing:

Not bad for an Ice Bowl.

steveSuch is the luxury that comes with Southern California living, an “Ice Bowl” in which a mild threat of rain showers makes players look skyward every few holes, then get back to business.

But, more than the weather, what I took from the 6th Annual San Marcos Ice Bowl, held January 6 at Montiel Park, was that the aforementioned business was actually quite casual, especially for what is dubbed a tournament.

Sure, there was a player meeting and scorecards were passed out. There were backups on tees and people wanting it to be quiet during a putt.

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Four disc golf goals for ’13

As I approach two years of playing this lovely sport we call disc golf, I have come to a harsh conclusion — I am just not that good.

steveI miss easy putts. My drives are still all over the place. I have more plastic sitting in a crate in my garage than I do in my actual bag, and instead of my discs bearing the names of their manufacturers, they might as well be covered with expletives, because that’s how I refer to them.

In short, I’m kind of a hot mess.

But, the promise of a new year at least gives me a little hope that 2013 may be the time for improvement. I have to hold myself to some kind of standard if I actually want to get better, though, so I am setting some goals for myself for the coming year.

Why goals, and not resolutions? Well, according to my friend dictionary.com, resolutions have more to do with determination and will than actual results. Goals, on the other hand, have a defined aim, and that is where I am going with these. Concrete improvement that I can (kind of) measure.

Plus, everyone makes resolutions. See all those people at your local gym? They won’t be there in a couple weeks. Sign up for a marathon and set a goal of finishing it, though, and you’re doing it. It’s about commitment.

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