Last year, Gentry Heimerman, director of young adult ministry for the Catholic Diocese of Dodge City, invited a few college students who were home over Christmas break to play a round of disc golf.
“Somehow that grew into a full-fledged benefit tournament called the Father Kapaun Classic,” he said. “People showed up from all over, excited to pile up the box of diapers entry fee. It went so well that I felt compelled to host it again in 2022.”
The Father Kapaun Classic
The event was held this past January, and the entry fee to play was a donation of 100 diapers. Thirty-three competitors — including members of the Newman Disc Golf Club — signed up for the tournament. Roughly 4,000 diapers were collected from the event, all of which were donated to Catholic Charities of Southwest Kansas to support families in need.
“Their Dodge City office is located in the heart of the city, and they intend to keep baby supplies on hand for parents who come to the door requesting them,” Heimerman said. “As a father of three, I can’t imagine the fear of not being able to afford diapers or formula for my child. It is a joy to assist Catholic Charities in this mission.”
Some of the competitors at the recent Father Kapaun Classic were Newman University students of the Newman Disc Golf Club, including senior Steven Nguyen.
Heimerman credits Nguyen with helping get the word out about the tournament and sharing details with those who were interested. In turn, Nguyen feels grateful to Heimerman for putting on the event.
“He gave us an opportunity to enjoy our sport and also serve a good cause,” Nguyen said. “Also, by calling it the Father Kapaun Classic, we felt as though it was a personal call to action since Father Emil Kapaun is one of our boys.”
For Heimerman, “This tournament brings together various passions of mine: fostering community amongst young adults, Father Kapaun and his heroic Christian witness, serving those in need, and disc golf.”
He adds, “I hope that we see more college clubs making the trip to Dodge City in the future for this unique event.”
Building a passion for disc golf at Newman
In addition to Nguyen’s participation in the Newman Disc Golf Club, he also helped create the new disc golf course on Newman’s campus.
“The course started as a hope that I had,” he explained. “During March 2020 of the pandemic, I found myself getting bored and wanting to do something. I had disc golfed before but hated it because I could not seem to throw the disc properly. But after giving it another try, I found it fun. It quickly became a passion as I would find myself daydreaming about the sport from time to time.”
Nguyen eventually contacted a local disc golf store owner, who helped Nguyen design a course for Newman’s campus.
“After trying the course layout with temporary baskets last semester, I made it my goal to provide the community and Newman students with something to do, especially since COVID is still prevalent,” he said.
Nguyen then reached out to Dynamic Discs in Emporia, Kansas, which provided him with reasonably priced baskets for the course.
“Now, with the help of sponsors, the course is paid for and is permanently installed,” Nguyen said.
The course is located in front of the library by Parking Lot A. The course is open to the public on weeknights and weekends, but open exclusively to the Newman community on weekdays until 4 p.m.
As for the Newman Disc Golf Club, “Everyone is welcome to join the club and join us for competitions if they wish,” Nguyen said. “Staff and faculty are also welcome to join. In fact, they are encouraged to join and strengthen relationships with students.”
Clubs at Newman University
Campus clubs and student organizations allow students to build communities through connections made by common interests and identities.