The July 20-21 weekend was one Chris and I had been looking forward to for a long time. Hats, Hops, and Hucks is a hat tournament near Santa Cruz that has been held annually for the past 22 years. For the first time on this trip we weren’t going to be the only ones who didn’t know everyone else on our teams.
Hats is not your run-of-the-mill hat tournament, however. It’s a three day event where your entry fee covers the tournament, dinner Friday and Saturday night, breakfast Saturday and Sunday morning, and plenty of Boulder Creek Brewery beer. But here’s the catch: In order to partake in these festivities, you must always be wearing a hat.
Rule number one of Hats, Hops, and Hucks is that you are not a player without a hat. If you catch or throw a disc without a hat, it’s a turnover. If you make a defensive play without a hat it doesn’t count. If you take off your hat during breakfast at the Highland Park Senior Center, the seniors will ring a bell and everyone will boo you. And standard baseball caps don’t count, so you better get creative.
Year 22 of Hats was themed, “Make it a Double” so all teams were named something that would normally be preceded with double. Chris played for Entendre, which fell in defeat on Saturday to my Jointed team. Unfortunately, neither of our teams had what it took to make it to the finals, so we found ourselves seated comfortably high up on Heckle Hill.
It was, without a doubt, the most fun final I’ve ever watched, with hecklers throwing out lines that would please even Carl Koepke. One of my teammates even got involved with a crucial hat D late in the game, where he_stuffed_a_disc_in_his_hat_and_threw_it_onto_the_field, connecting with a thumber mid-flight that would have resulted in a point. In the end, Up came up a little short, falling to Dog Dare Ya on universe point, 18-17.
After the final, everyone gathered for the award ceremony where prizes were given away to the champions, spirit winners, and to the person with the most creative hat. My favorite award, however, was given to our friend Jo-Jo, who we met at a pick-up game the previous Wednesday. Jo-Jo received a crown hat for being the only person to have attended all 22 Hats, Hops, and Hucks Tournaments.
We’ll be featuring Hats in our next episode, so you’ll be able to see everything we’ve described above. For now, however, we decided to give you a sneak peak of the opening ceremony for the awards show. That way, you can see the kind of competition you’ll be going up against in the near future at Hats, Hops, and Hucks.