CALUMET TOWNSHIP - Dennis Walikainen has been waiting almost 25 years for the creation of a Frisbee Hall of Fame, and it's finally happening in the Calumet Colosseum.
Walikainen, who is curator for the International Frisbee Hall of Fame, located on a wall in the second floor ballroom of the Colosseum, said, in 1978, what was then called the Copper Country Chamber of Commerce, the International Frisbee Association and Wham-O, manufacturers of the flying discs, created the Hall of Fame, but it really didn't have a location.
"It was just an idea," he said.
Daily Mining Gazette/Kurt Hauglie
Dennis Walikainen, curator of the new International Frisbee Tournament Hall of Fame, and Calumet Township Supervisor Paul Lehto look over some of the items on display in the Hall of Fame, located in the second floor ballroom of the Calumet Colosseum.
Some items, such as plaques, trophies, discs and other items, Walikainen said, were at first stored in the CCCC offices in the Hellman Transportation Center in Houghton. Eventually, many of the items came to be stored at his house.
However, there was always a desire to find a permanent location for the items.
"What we wanted was a place where we could have the International Frisbee Tournament and the Hall of Fame in the same place," he said.
After discussions with the Calumet Township board of trustees, township Superintendent Paul Lehto said it was agreed the Hall of Fame could be in the Colosseum, and the board even chipped in with financial help.
"We promised the first $800 to get it started," he said.
Lehto said that initial donation was to help with construction of the display, which now includes cases filled with items, plaques of Hall of Fame inductees, T-shirts and discs from tournaments.
Walikainen said the first local Frisbee tournament was established by the four Healy brothers in 1958 in Eagle Harbor, which is called the birthplace of Guts Frisbee, the type of game played in the IFT.
The first inductees into the Hall of Fame in 1982 were the Healy brothers and Walt Morrison, inventor of the Frisbee. That ceremony took place in the Michigan Technological University Memorial Union Building.
Walikainen said the tournament was in Eagle Harbor for many years, and it's also moved around, including to Calumet, Hancock, Atlantic Mine, Baraga (once), Lake Linden and Marquette.
Now, with the creation of the Hall of Fame, Walikainen said it will permanently be on the Calumet High School football field in Agassiz Park.
There are 36 members of the Hall of Fame, Walikainen said, including three women, a number which he expects will grow.
"I'd like to do a separate display on women," he said.
Most of the items on display were donated by players and fans, Walikainen said.
"The key is it's sort of grassroots," he said.
Although the display now takes up only a portion of a wall in the Colosseum, Walikainen said it probably won't stay the way it is now.
"Someday we hope to expand," he said.
There is still some fine-tuning of the Hall of Fame going on, but Walikainen said people will be able to see it soon.
"It's a dream come true," he said.