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Boomerang athletes return to Albuquerque

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Boomerangs will descend on Albuquerque later this month accompanied by visitors from nine different countries.

The athletes are making their way over the seas for the annual World Boomerang Championships being hosted this year by the U.S. Boomerang Association at Balloon Fiesta Park.

David Hirsch, a member of the association board and the tournament director, said Albuquerque is an ideal location for the event, which will have about 60 participants. There will be individual and team events, with two teams from the United States.

There are several categories that will test the players’ skills, such as how far they can throw, how long they can keep a boomerang aloft, accuracy, speed and the ability to catch the apparatus in different ways – such as with their feet or behind their back. Hirsch, who has been throwing boomerangs for 53 years said most people don’t know throwing boomerangs is a sport.

“We are a small sport,” he said. “You throw something away from you and it comes back to you. The physics of it is amazing. It’s like magic squared.”

The association held the national championships here in 2013. Hirsch, who lives in Dallas, said a few years ago the Albuquerque Convention & Visitors Bureau reached out to him and asked him to consider choosing Albuquerque for one of the group’s events. When it came time to choose, Hirsch knew Albuquerque would be the perfect spot and the committee agreed.

“Albuquerque has a beautiful field,” he said. “We need a place with no trees, poles or lights and a good, level field. I love New Mexico. Albuquerque has a funky, urban vibe with an Old West feel.”

Boomerang athletes from all over the United States, Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland will participate in the multi-day free event that is open to the public. Spectators can visit the park July 21-22, 24, 27-28 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and July 29 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visitors can take free boomerang lessons and purchase affordable, official boomerangs at the field.

The current national champion and event co-organizer, Daniel Bower, will compete in the world event as both an individual and on the U.S. team. Bower, who lives in Washington state, fell in love with the sport when he was just 13 years old. He said a man came to his school and showed students how to throw a boomerang. Less than a year later, Bower, now 32, was entering competitions. He said he enjoys the camaraderie of the small sport and that it’s continuously challenging.

“No matter where you go in the world, the wind will be different,” he said. “Even if you’ve gone there before, it will be different. You have to adjust.”

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