Man: He thrives off of the spirit of competition; he fixates on sport and boasts of his many conquests; he cherishes the “bro time” (periods in which a man and other men isolate from the other gender and bond); he likes beer...
When all of these loves of men combine into one, the word for this (at least in Dubuque) is “Mantastic.” Over the weekend, the annual Mantastic event set upon the Tri-States for the ninth straight year.
And, bro, it was awesome.
“Really, we’re just a bunch of juveniles,” said Jeff Adams, 40, who has organized the Mantastic event for the last five years.
The annual get together blends four “manly” sports — golf, bean bags, bowling and a home run derby — for a two-day, team-based stretch in which the winners take home a cash prize.
But for Adams, it’s not about the money. Rather, the Mantastic is meant to celebrate manly things, an opportunity for guys to be guys, bond and compete.
“It’s not to make money, it’s just to have fun,” Adams said.
Twenty-one two-man teams entered this year’s competition, some traveling from as far as Indiana to attend. The home run derby and bean bags tournament took place on Saturday and the event wrapped up with a two-man best-shot golf tournament at The Meadows and three games of bowling at Creslanes on Sunday.
The winner of each event scored 21 points. This year, Luke Althaus and Ken Kauffman (also known as “Team Subway”) edged “Team Teds” by two points, scoring 71 overall for this year’s top prize.
It’s the third time in six years that Team Subway has won Mantastic.
“I play a lot of softball and bowl every year and I figured it would be something fun to do,” said Kauffmann, 33, of Dubuque. “You come out and show your skills in each event. When you win the event it makes you feel pretty good.”
Team Subway scored in the top seven in all four events. “Wolfpack” took first in the home run derby, “TRC” topped the bean bag tournament, “Loaded Grillers” won the golf outing and “FBL” was top dog in the bowling competition.
But, while bragging rights were surely given, Mantastic stands more to unite men in the manliest ways, in spite of competitive drive.
In other words, it’s all about fun.
“You get all your buddies out, play sports like we normally do, drink and have fun,” Kauffman said.”
In previous years Mantastic has had as many as 30 teams. Adams said he doesn’t advertise and much of the turnout is the result of word of mouth.
Yet it continues to draw competitors from throughout the Midwest, not just the Tri-States. Several teams this year hailed from the Chicago area. Adams is hoping it’s a sign of more growth to come in future years.
As this year’s Mantastic wound to a close, the athletes parted ways. Some of them may not see each other until the next competition next year.
But when they descend upon Dubuque again, it will be just like old bro times.
“Everybody here knows that they’re not going to be rich doing this,” Adams said. “They all do it just for fun.”