Team USA and International Competitions
History of Modern Team Play USA Boomerang Teams and the History of the Modern Sport While the boomerang has existed for nearly 15,000 years in Australia, boomerang throwing as an organized sport began in the 1970's in Australia and the United States. A national fellowship of throwers in Australia formed the Boomerang Association of Australia in 1970. In the United States, the boomerang movement was triggered in part by a milestone article on boomerangs in a 1968 Scientific American, and nurtured by the Smithsonian Institute which sponsored yearly educational workshops in the making and throwing of boomerangs. The United States Boomerang Association was formed in 1981. Now the sport is practiced worldwide, with International Team Cup Challenges and World Team and Individual championships held every two years.
In November of 1981, a U.S. Team of 10 boomerang throwers went to Australia to challenge the Aussies in their own native sport on their home turf. It was the first such international competition in history. To the surprise of many, the upstart Americans came away victors by sweeping the three-test series. The Australians came to the U.S. in 1984 and evened the score, winning the Lands' End Boomerang Cup.
In 1985 a four-man World Cup team from the U.S. traveled to Paris, France with Chet Snouffer and Eric Darnell finishing one-two in the first ever individual world championships. A promotional tour of the coastal regions of France ensued, introducing thousands of French to the sport in what remains the most exciting and professional promotional tour to date.
International Team Championships began in 1987, with five U.S. Teams and two European Teams competing in the States. Team Midwest featuring Gary Broadbent, Chet and Gregg Snouffer, Chuck Smith and Jacques Sabrie won the inaugural Team Cup. In May 1988, a three man World Cup Team from the U.S. traveled down under and won the Australian Bicentennial Boomerang Cup. Chet Snouffer, Eric Darnell and Barnaby Ruhe comprised the 1988 World Cup Team. Aussie Rob Croll won the 1988 individual world championships. Later that year in August, the U.S. sent two teams to the second International Team Championships in France, Germany and Switzerland, and came away with the top two spots again.
In June of 1989 the Third Annual International Team Cup was held in Washington DC, with the U.S. in 1st, 3rd, and 4th, and with Germany clearly announcing their arrival as an international force in second place. American Chet Snouffer regained the individual world title on the final day of competition.
In April 1991 the U.S. swept first and second at the 4th International Team Cup/World Championships in Perth, Australia. In the individual competition, the U.S. took first and second, with American John Koehler winning the world title.
In August 1992 the U.S. teams did it again in Hamburg, Germany, taking first and second place ahead of three powerful German teams, the French, and Australia. German Fridolin Frost won the World Championship for individuals.
The 1994 World Championships were held in Tokyo, Japan. The Japanese have taken to the boomerang craze with a passion and raised the pomp and circumstance to an all-time high with elaborate opening and closing ceremonies. A highlight included lighting the tournament flame with a blazing boomerang thrown across the Olympic-style torch. A possible foreshadowing of Sydney?s 2000 Olympics? In competition, American Chet Snouffer regained the World singles title a record third time, as the American team swept the three test series winning the world championships ahead of Germany, France, Switzerland and Australia.
Germany stunned the US by winning the 1996 Worlds in Christchurch, NZ. Australian Rob Croll won the Individual World title for a second time.
The 1998 Worlds in Saint Louis saw the Germans repeat ahead of USA. Fridolin Frost won his second world championship in individual competition.
The 2000 Worlds returned to the homeland and Melbourne, Australia. Here the Germans won their third consecutive world championship. While most countries have team try-outs every other year, the "Young Guns" featuring Fridolin Frost, Gerrit Lemkau, Oli Thienhaus, Gunter Moeller, and Harold Steck actually kept their core throwers together from 1996 to 2000 showing that sometimes it's best not to mess with success! Swiss phenomenon and World Record Holder in Distance throwing, Manuel Schutz wins the World Individual Championship.
In 2002 Team USA's "Dogs of Boom" regained the title for the Yanks. Gregg Snouffer began coaching a newer, younger US Team and the youngsters began to gel and become able to make another run at the Germans. However, in 2004 in France the Germans were at it again and gained their 4th world title! Reorganized as the "B Motions" the former Young Gun members began a new chapter in Germany's already impressive resume by winning another hat trick of three world titles in a row, taking the title in 2004, 2006, and again in 2008 in Seattle! In Seattle, Fridolin Frost won his 3rd World Championship, tying Chet Snouffer.
The USA got back in the swing of things in 2010 with a great victory in Rome, Italy. In 2012 the World Cup was held in Brazil, the first time in South America! The Germans regained the title of World Champions with USA second. A blended international team actually finished first in the tournament, but could not become "World Champions" since they did not represent a given country, but rather an all-star team from countries that could not field full teams on their own.
In addition to the International circuit, the U.S. also hosts its annual National Championships, and occasional U.S. Team Championships to further team play and build for future international competitions. Three dozen regional tournaments are held each summer across the US. Based upon boomerang sales estimates, there are now hundreds of thousands of recreational boomerang throwers across the U.S. and the numbers escalate annually. Recent coverage on ESPN, MTV Sports, Adrenaline TV, The Tonight Show, and in print media nationwide adds to the continued growth of the sport.
To join the US Boomerang Association, log on to www.usba.org . Support USA Boomeranging and enjoy the quarterly newsletter, receive regular email updates, and all the benefits of USBA membership.
USA Champions and more
USA National Champions
The USBA began hosting annual tournaments in 1982 picking up where the Smithsonian Resident Associates' Program left off after a decade of annual boomerang events that began in 1970. Fittingly, it was Australian Bob Burwell who won the event in 1982 to start things off right. Here are the annual champions since then...
1982 Bob Burwell, Australia in Washington, DC
1983 Chet Snouffer, Ohio, in Washington DC
1984 Dennis Maxwell, Australia in Delaware, OH
1985 Larry Ruhf, Massachussetts, in Sacramento, CA
1986 Barnaby Ruhe, NYC, in Atlanta, GA
1987 Chet Snouffer, Ohio, in Cuyahoga Valley, OH
1988 Chet Snouffer, Ohio
1989 Chet Snouffer, Ohio in Gunnison, CO
1990 Chet Snouffer, Ohio
1991 Chet Snouffer, Ohio
* Editor's Note: From 1992-1995 The US decided to rename the all-comers tournament the "US Open". "The US OPEN" served as the day-before qualifier for the top 12 to qualify for the "Nationals" the next day.
1992 US Open Chet Snouffer
1992 Nationals Chet Snouffer, Ohio
1993 US Open Chet Snouffer, Ohio
1993 National Champion Chet Snouffer
1994 US Open Champion Chet Snouffer
1994 National Champion Chet Snouffer
1995 US Open Champion Chet Snouffer
1995 National Champion John Flynn, Vermont, in Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN
1996 Chet Snouffer, Ohio, in Virginia Beach, VA
1997 Stevie Kavanaugh, Washington in Delaware, OH
1998 Rob Parkins, Massachussetts
1999 Gregg Snouffer, Ohio
2000 Chet Snouffer, Ohio, in Canton, OH
2001 Nobu Iizuka, Tokyo, in Delaware, OH
2002 Gregg Snouffer, Ohio
2003 Adam Ruhf, Amherst, MA
2004 Matt Goleanor, Nashville, TN
2005 Matt Goleanor, Nashville, TN
2006 Harold Steck in Atlanta, GA
2007 Daniel Bower, Seattle, WA
2008 Harold Steck, CT/Germany in Dallas, TX
2009 Daniel Bower, Seattle, WA, in Delaware, OH
2010 Daniel Bower, Seattle, WA, in Eau Claire, WI
2011 Richard Bower, Seattle WA, in Canton, OH
2012 Richard Bower, Seattle, WA, in Nashville, TN
2013 Takeshi Honda, Japan, in Albuquerque, NM
World Team champions
1981 USA vs Australia, in Australia
1984 USA vs Australia, in USA
1987 International Team Cup, in USA
USA Team Midwest
1988 Australian Bicentennial World Cup
1988 International Team Cup, in Europe
1989 International Team Cup, in USA
USA Team White
1991 World Championships, in Perth Australia
1992 International Team Cup, in Hamburg, Germany
Team USA Blue
1994 World Championships, in Tokyo, Japan
1996 World Championships, in Saint Louis, USA
German Young Guns
1998 World Championships, Christchurch, NZ
German Young Guns
2000 World Championships, Melbourne, Australia
German Young Guns
2002 World Championships, Kiel, Germany
2004 World Championships, Charlesville, France
Germany B Motions
2006 World Championships, Japan
Germany B Motions
2008 World Championships, Seattle, WA, USA
Germany B-Motions, 2. USA Rad, 3. Swiss, 4. USA Confluence 5. Japan Samurai, 6. USA Black Rabbit
2010 World Championships, Roma, Italy
2012 World Championships, Brazil
World Individual Champions
1985 Paris, Chet Snouffer (USA)
1988 Albury, Rob Croll (AUS)
1989 Washington, DC Chet Snouffer (USA)
1991 Perth John Koehler (USA)
1991 World Indoor, Gregg Snouffer (USA)
1992 Hamburg, Fridolin Frost (GER)
1994 Tokyo, Chet Snouffer (USA)
1996 Christchurch, Rob Croll (AUS)
1998 Saint Louis, Fridolin Frost (GER)
2000 Melbourne, Manu Schutz (SUI)
2002 Kiel, Manu Schutz (SUI)
2004 France, Manu Schutz (SUI)
2006 Japan, Fridolin Frost (GER)
2008 Seattle, Fridolin Frost (GER)
2010 Rome, Alex Opri (GER)
2012 Brazil, Manu Schutz (SUI)
2012 World Champions-Germany
World Champion Team Germany holding the 1981 Uncle Toby's Oats perpetual World Cup Trophy for the 7th time. The 2012 WBC was held in Brazil.