Dennis “Wally Sr” Walikainen
Wally has long been a major contributor to the promotion of disc sports. He has dedicated many tireless hours as a member of national organizations such as the USA Guts Board of Directors and the Hall of Fame Nomination Committee, as well as serving as International Frisbee Tournament Director, IFT Field Marshall, and Curator of the International Frisbee and USA Guts Hall of Fame.
Helping others has always been at the forefront of Wally’s actions. Leveraging a skill set honed while earning his PhD in Rhetoric and Communication, he has always strived for open communication within the Frisbee community. By taking advantage of online platforms beginning with the gutsfrisbee-l e-mail listserv and evolving with technology to include his creation of the International Frisbee and USA Guts Hall of Fame website and Facebook page, Wally has facilitated the open exchange of ideas on Frisbee in general and Guts in particular. In addition, he has lent his expertise to the creation of historical documentaries including the video “History of Guts Frisbee 1969–2015” as well as a comprehensive History of Guts Frisbee being compiled for the approaching 60th Annual IFT. For more than three decades, Wally has written press releases and appeared in television interviews and radio spots promoting Frisbee events.
Success can often require money, so Wally has led a number of fundraising efforts. He created a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation to support International Frisbee Inc. initiatives and is currently working with Calumet Township and the Michigan Humanities Council to obtain a grant to cover the cost of an informational kiosk at the Calumet Colosseum that would provide visitors with historical information on both Frisbee and ice hockey. Over the years, Wally has assisted in many notable fundraising efforts for worthy causes such as Japanese tsunami victims, Wounded Warriors, Farm-Aid, and local youth Guts players. Recently $2,200 was raised through his GoFundMe page to help offset travel expenses for Keweenaw area players who will be competing in the 2016 WFDF World Ultimate and Guts Championships in London, England.
Wally continues to form and maintain strong relationships with sponsors and partners. His commitment to local efforts was instrumental in bringing the International Frisbee Tournament to Agassiz Field and the International Frisbee and USA Guts Hall of Fame to the Colosseum in Calumet. His Hall of Fame groundwork started in the 1980s, and due to his perseverance, the USA Guts Board of Directors and the State of Michigan have formally recognized its current home.
Anyone who knows Wally and has seen the passion he displayed during his 1974–2010 run as a Guts Frisbee player will tell you that his many successes should come as no surprise. As both player and leader on teams like Al’s Halfway, Diamond Mike’s, Paul’s Bar, The Library Bar, Smiling Carrots, Blind Mules, and Monte Carlo, Wally has always been a fierce and highly respected competitor. All of his teammates, friends, and family would agree that his selection as the 2016 Bradshaw Award recipient is extremely well deserved.