The First Frisbee Competition? Lincoln, 1957


You may have had one of these as a kid, a classic Wham-O Frisbee. Nebraska played a role in the history of this popular toy. In 1957, Lincoln hosted what was apparently the nation’s first organized Frisbee competition. Kylie Kinley writes about it in the new issue of Nebraska History News. (Click here to see the entire issue. The Frisbee story is on p. 11. See also “From the Collection” on p. 12.)

With forty contestants and five hundred spectators, the first United States Frisbee Match took place on November 2, 1957, at East Hills Country Club in Lincoln.

The event’s name was a bit of an exaggeration. It wasn’t official. It was the idea of a 26-year-old named Bob Howey, who told Sports Illustrated that “since it was his tournament, he and his buddies from the Diamond Bar and Grill could call it anything they wanted to.”

Every sport has to start somewhere.

—David Bristow, Associate Director for Research & Publications

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One Response to The First Frisbee Competition? Lincoln, 1957

  1. Scotty says:

    Great story but not sure if it is accurate. I have a flim of a Wham-O sponsored FLYING DISK National Tournament from 1957 and at this time Wham-O had not changed the name of the Frisbees from their original name the Pluto Platter. There was no mention of Frisbee on the giant banner in the background or on the trophies which are dated 1957, So either Wham-O put on a contest in Dec the month after this Nebraska one and still had not changed the name to Frisbee, and for some reason Bob Howey used the name Frisbee first? Also in the film there are multiple obstacles like hoops to fly the frisbee thru, and moving targets to land the frisbee in. I think Bob Howey just happened to get a story in Sports Illustrated and neither knew there had already been a frisbee contest in Ca. If you wish to see the footage i write of, here is the link..

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