Title:
Yard game apparatus and method
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A tossing game and method for throwing a plurality of bola-type projectiles at a target is described. The bola-type projectiles are preferably a pair of golf balls interconnected with a prescribed length of flexible rope. The target includes a rectangular base with a plurality of vertically-stacked tiers, each of which has two vertical supports and a horizontal target member that is horizontally smaller than the horizontal target member of the tier therebelow, creating a “wedding cake” profile. The bolas, when tossed correctly at the target, strike and wrap around a horizontal target member of the tiers, and thereby score a point value assigned to the horizontal target member. The top tier is assigned the highest point value. The middle tier is assigned a lower point value, and the horizontal target member of the bottom tier a lower point value still. Optionally, for bolas that land completely within the boundaries of the rectangular base, a still lower point value may be scored. The players are grouped into two teams of one or more players each, and each team is provided with a plurality of bolas of a distinct color. Each team takes turns tossing all of its bolas towards the target, and when all bolas have been tossed for both teams each team's score is calculated. In this manner, play continues until either team exactly reaches a predetermined winning point total. During a turn, if a team tosses all of its bolas and the resulting score exceeds the winning score, that team's tosses on that turn are ignored.



Inventors:
Peters, Vernon D. (Port Angeles, WA, US)
Application Number:
10/861686
Publication Date:
12/08/2005
Filing Date:
06/04/2004
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B63/00; A63B67/00; A63B9/00; A63B69/00; (IPC1-7): A63B63/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CHIU, RALEIGH W
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Mr. Vernon D. Peters (Port Angeles, WA, US)
Claims:
1. A tossing game for throwing a plurality of bola-type projectiles from one or more prescribed distances at a target situated on a generally flat horizontal playing surface, the projectiles each comprising a pair of weighted elements interconnected with a flexible member of a prescribed length, the target comprising: a generally rectangular base of substantially rigid linear elements interconnected with L-shaped corner connectors, the rectangular base having a pair of upright support T-connectors fixed centrally along each of two longer sides thereof; a plurality of tiers, each tier comprising a pair of upright supports for holding a horizontal target member with the L-shaped corner connectors, the horizontal target member including a pair of the upright support T-connectors, the upright supports of a bottom-most tier being held in the upright support T-connectors of the rectangular base, the upright supports of each other tier being held into the upright support T-connectors of the tier immediately therebelow; and a top tier comprising a pair of the upright supports for holding a horizontal target member with the L-shaped corner connectors, the upright supports of the top tier being inserted into the upright support T-connectors of the tier immediately therebelow; whereby with the horizontal target members of each tier being assigned a point value, one of a plurality of players may toss one of the bola-type projectiles over the playing surface to contact one of the horizontal target members so that the projectile becomes temporarily attached thereto, thereby scoring the point value assigned to the one contacted horizontal target member.

2. The tossing game of claim 1 wherein the substantially rigid elements, L-shaped corner connectors and T-connectors are all made of PVC plastic.

3. The tossing game of claim 1 wherein each tier is shorter in length horizontally than the tier that supports said tier directly thereunder.

4. The tossing game of claim 3 wherein the plurality of tiers comprises three tiers, the bottom tier being horizontally generally equal in length to two smaller sides of the rectangular base, a middle tier being horizontally shorter than the bottom tier, and the top tier being horizontally shorter than the middle tier; and wherein the upright supports are all generally the same height.

5. The tossing game of claim 4 wherein a plurality of the horizontal target members with the upright support T-connectors is assigned a different point value in an outside zone defined between each of the L-shaped corner connectors and the nearest upright support T-connector than as between a center zone defined between the two upright support T-connectors.

6. The tossing game of claim 1 wherein the rectangular base defines an area of the playing surface that is assigned a point value for a bola-type projectile that lands fully within the rectangular area.

7. The tossing game of claim 1 wherein each weighted element of each of the bola-type projectiles is a golf ball, each golf ball including a partial aperture for receiving an end portion of the flexible member and held therein with adhesive.

8. The tossing game of claim 7 wherein the plurality of bola-type projectiles is an even number with half of the golf balls being one color and the other half of the golf balls being another distinct color.

9. The tossing game of claim 7 wherein the plurality of bola-type projectiles is an even number with half of the projectiles having a flexible element of one color and the other half of the projectiles having a flexible element of another distinct color.

10. A method for a plurality of players to play a tossing game comprising the steps of a.) providing a plurality of distinctly colored bola-type projectiles to each team, a team consisting of one or more players, each projectile comprising a pair of weighted elements interconnected with a flexible member of a prescribed length; b.) providing a target comprising i) a generally rectangular base of substantially rigid linear elements interconnected with L-shaped corner connectors, the rectangular base having a pair of upright support T-connectors fixed centrally along each of two longer sides thereof; ii) a plurality of tiers, each tier comprising a pair of upright supports for holding a horizontal target member with the L-shaped corner connectors, the horizontal target member including a pair of the upright support T-connectors, the upright supports of a bottom-most tier being held in the upright support T-connectors of the rectangular base, the upright supports of each other tier being held into the upright support T-connectors of the tier immediately therebelow; and iii) a top tier comprising a pair of the upright supports for holding a horizontal target member with the L-shaped corner connectors, the upright supports of the top tier being inserted into the upright support T-connectors of the tier immediately therebelow; c.) situating the target on a generally flat horizontal playing surface; d.) from a prescribed distance away from the target and facing toward a shorter side of the rectangular base, tossing one projectile towards the target; e.) upon the tossed projectile wrapping around one of the horizontal target members, adding the assigned point value of the one horizontal target member to the score of the team tossing the projectile; f.) upon the tossed projectile falling completely into the rectangular area of the playing surface defined by the rectangular base, adding the assigned point value of the rectangular area to the score of the team tossing the projectile; g.) taking turns between players and teams such that all of the plurality of projectiles are thrown; h.) repeating steps d) through g) until a predetermined winning score is reached by a winning team.

11. The method of claim 10 wherein the step h) is replaced with h) repeating steps d) through g) until a predetermined winning score is exactly reached by a winning team; any scoring that exceeds the predetermined winning score in steps e) or f) is ignored.

12. The method of claim 10 wherein the a step of ff.) upon the tossed projectile falling partially into the rectangular area of the playing surface defined by the rectangular base, adding one-half of the assigned point value of the rectangular area to the score of the team tossing the projectile; is inserted after step f).

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to outdoor yard games and, more particularly, to a bola-type projectile tossing game and target and method of playing same.

DISCUSSION OF RELATED ART

Outdoor games with a target and a throwing bola are well known in the prior art. A throwing bola is a pair of weighted elements such as balls or bean bags connected with a rope or other flexible element. In such games a participant stands a predetermined distance away from the target and, while holding one of the weighted elements of the bola, tosses the bola by swinging the other weighted element in the direction of the target. Such an action typically imparts a vertical spinning motion to the bola which, when striking a horizontal element of the target, causes the weighted elements and rope to wrap around the horizontal element of the target. Bola-type games are popular partly due to the high probability of the bola wrapping around the target successfully, even if the toss is slightly off-target in either horizontal or vertical directions.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,487,419 to Welbourn on Dec. 11, 1984, is an example of one such outdoor bola-type game. Such prior art device is a game that includes a plurality of one-piece targets each with a single horizontal target member. The horizontal target member described includes a plurality of vertical undulations for having a variety of different scoring options, with each undulation representing a different point value. For example, tossing a bola onto the center-most horizontal undulation may result in a higher point value than a successful engagement of the bola with an outer horizontal undulation. While such a target is more entertaining and challenging than a simple linear target member, it does have the drawback of having only one horizontal cumulative length of target zone for the engagement of the projected bolas. As a result, such a target is often too challenging, in that multiple throwing attempts may be required for securing the engagement of a bola to the target. Further, such a target is necessarily comprised of a single length of bent metal rod or tubing, which is relatively expensive to form, and which must be formed for insertion into the ground in order to stand upright. As such, upon removal, dirt or mud is often attached to the target and can cause inconvenience when placing the target into a vehicle or other area where dirt or mud are undesirable.

Another such bola tossing game is described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,308,956 to Reid on Oct. 30, 2001. This device teaches a target having a plurality of horizontal target members, each of which can be adjusted in size horizontally to provide a varying degree of challenge to the players. Further, each horizontal target member may be adjusted vertically with respect to a horizontal playing surface so that a variety of skill levels can be addressed with the same target apparatus. Various embodiments of this prior art invention include horizontal target members that are of varying lengths to create additional challenge, but such embodiments require side support members that bend towards or away from each other depending upon the length of the horizontal members. These varying embodiments do not include adjusting means, and as a result the purchaser of such a product must decide in advance what embodiment of the game will be most entertaining. Such a device further has the drawback of being relatively expensive to manufacture, and the angled side supports tend to disadvantageously deflect the hurled bolas, preventing them from engaging the horizontal targets. Since the bolas rotation is typically in a vertical direction, target support structures necessarily are vertical in order to eliminate such deflection of the spinning bolas thereby.

Other bola-type tossing games are available in the marketplace. For example, a game marketed under the name “Hang 'em High” and offered by YeaYeah, LLC of Milwaukee, Wis., includes a target made of three horizontal targets made of PVC pipe, and attached to a PVC pipe support structure. The targets are collapsible into smaller sections for easy transport and storage, and provides relatively quick and easy assembly. Such a game, while inexpensive to manufacture, only provides provision for vertical accuracy, and does not include any provision for horizontal accuracy in throwing such as does the Welbourn prior art.

Therefore, there is a need for an inexpensive bola-type tossing game that includes an easily assembled and disassembled target, such target providing target zones of varying difficulty in both horizontal and vertical directions, but in such a manner as to promote the successful engagement of a vertically spinning bola as opposed to deflecting same. Such a needed device would be durable and yet inexpensive to manufacture. Further, such a device would be compact when disassembled, facilitating storage and transport thereof. Still further, such a device would allow potential scoring if a bola fell onto the ground within a prescribed area, making the game fun for children who may not be able to toss a bola onto one of the horizontal target elements. The present invention accomplishes all of these objectives.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present device is a tossing game for throwing a plurality of bola-type projectiles at a target situated a prescribed distance away from a plurality of players. The bola-type projectiles are preferably a pair of golf balls interconnected with a prescribed length of flexible rope or cord. When thrown correctly, the golf balls of the bola orbit around each other in flight and have a high probability of wrapping around a horizontal target member that is struck by the flexible rope.

The target includes a rectangular base, preferably comprised of PVC pipe lengths interconnected with common PVC pipe L-connectors. The base centrally supports preferably three vertical target tiers, a bottom tier, a middle tier, and a top tier, each tier supported by the next lower tier with a pair of common PVC pipe T-connector, except for the bottom tier which is supported by the rectangular base and also with a pair of common PVC pipe T-connectors. Each tier includes a pair of upright supports that hold a horizontal target member. Preferably the horizontal target member of the top tier is shorter in length than the horizontal target member of the middle tier, which itself is shorter than the horizontal target member of the bottom tier, creating a target with a shape described as a “wedding cake” profile.

The horizontal target member of the top tier is assigned the highest point value, such as ten points. The horizontal target member of the middle tier is assigned a lower point value, such as four points. The section of this horizontal target member that is directly below the top tier, however, and located between the top tier supports, may preferably be assigned a slightly higher value, such as six points, due to its more central location. The horizontal target member of the bottom tier may be assigned two points. Optionally, for bolas that land completely within the boundaries of the rectangular base, a single point may be scored for this “base hit.”

In play, the players are grouped into two teams of one or more players each. Each team is provided with a plurality of bolas, preferably three, of a distinct color. Each team takes turns tossing all of its bolas towards the target, and when all bolas have been tossed for both teams each team's score is calculated. The assigned point value for the horizontal target members is awarded for any bolas that have wrapped therearound. For those bolas that have either directly landed within the rectangular base or that fell from the target tiers first and consequently landed within the rectangular base, both of the golf balls of the bola must land within the rectangular base in order to be awarded the “base hit” point value. Optionally, however, half of the “base hit” point value may be awarded if one of the golf balls lies outside of the rectangular base.

In this manner, play continues until either team exactly reaches a predetermined winning point total, such as fifty points. In the event a team tosses all of their bolas and the resulting score exceeds the winning score, that team's tosses on that turn are ignored.

The present invention, as described, is both highly entertaining and yet challenging for both very young and older players. The game is easily broken-down by manually pulling the PVC pipe lengths out of the various connectors so that all of the components may be held within a nylon draw-string bag, or the like, and easily transported or stowed. The allowance for a point award for bolas that do not engage the target, but rather land on the ground within a rectangular “base hit” target range provides additional enjoyment for both younger players who may not be able to throw the bola onto a horizontal target member, and also older players who use the “base hit” scoring to approach the winning point total with more accuracy. Such an improvement is not possible with bola-type throwing game target designs of the prior art. Still further, the present game rewards both vertical and horizontal accuracy in bola tossing, which also is not found in the prior art except with dart-type target games, which are typically unsuitable for use by younger players. Other features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following more detailed description, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, which illustrate, by way of example, the principles of the invention.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a preferred embodiment of the device, illustrating a target and a plurality of bola-type projectiles of the invention;

FIG. 2A is a top plan view of a preferred embodiment of the bola-type projectile of the invention, illustrating golf-ball type weighted elements;

FIG. 2B is a top plan view of an alternate embodiment of the bola-type projectile of the invention, illustrating bean-bag type weighted elements;

FIG. 3 is a front elevational view of the target of the invention, the rear elevational view being a mirror image thereof; and

FIG. 4 is a left-side elevational view of the target of the invention, the right-side elevational view being a mirror image thereof.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

The present invention is a tossing game for throwing a plurality of bola-type projectiles 70 from one or more prescribed distances at a target 10 situate don a generally flat horizontal playing surface 15 (FIG. 1). The projectiles 70 each comprise a pair of suitable weighted elements 71, such as golf balls 74 (FIG. 2A) or bean bags 76 (FIG. 2B). The weighted elements 71 are interconnected by a length of flexible member 72, such as a cord or nylon rope. It has been found that a flexible member 72 of a length of between 15 and 20 inches is optimal for successfully engaging the target 10 while still being relatively easy for even young children to toss. Said flexible member 72 is fixed to each golf ball 74 with adhesive, an end of the flexible member 72 being inserted into an aperture 75 formed partially into the golf ball 74. Alternatively, when the weighted elements 71 are bean bags 76, each end of the flexible member 72 may be tied to a portion of each bean bag 76. Preferably an even number of projectiles 70 are included, with half of said even number being a color that is distinct from the color of the other half of said even number of projectiles 70. As such, two teams can each be assigned the same number of a distinct color of the projectiles 70. Either the weighted element 71 or the flexible member 72 or both may be colored.

The target 10 includes a generally rectangular base 18 of substantially rigid liner elements 20 interconnected with L-shaped corner connectors 80. Such rigid liner elements 20 are preferably common PVC pipe lengths, although wood dowels or the like might also effectively be used. It has been found that ¾″ PVC pipe having a outer wall thickness of 3 mm, such as PW Eagle's “Schedule 40” 480 PSI ¾″ cold water PVC pipe, works adequately. Smaller gauge pipe and even ½″ wooden dowels tend to break when struck by the spinning golf balls 74 of the projectiles 70, and as such are not suitable for this use.

The target 10 further includes a plurality of tiers 12, each comprising a pair of upright generally parallel supports 30 spaced apart for holding a horizontal target member 40 with the L-shaped corner connectors 80. The horizontal target member 40 includes a pair of upright support T-connectors 82 for supporting another tier 12. The upright supports 30 of a bottom-most tier are supported by the upright support T-connectors 82 of the base 18. A top-most tier 13 comprised a pair of the upright supports 30 for holding a top-most horizontal target member 60, each upright support 30 having at a top end one of the L-shaped corner connectors 80 and being supported at a bottom end by the upright support T-connectors 82 of the tier immediately therebelow. Preferably, the upright supports 30, horizontal target members 40,60 are all common PVC pipe lengths, and the L-shaped corner connectors 80 and upright support T-connectors 82 are common PVC pipe fittings.

In the preferred embodiment of the invention, each tier 12 and the top tier 13 is smaller horizontally than the tier 12 immediately therebelow. The bottom-most tier 12 is generally the same size horizontally as a shorter side of the rectangular base 18. Preferably there are two tiers 12 and a top tier 13, for a total of three tiers 12,13 (FIG. 3).

In such an embodiment, the horizontal target member 60 of the top tier 13 is assigned a point value more than any other target member, such as ten points. The middle tier 12 is assigned a point value of fewer points than the top tier 13, such as four points. Optionally, a center zone thereof, defined between the two upright support connectors 82 and immediately under the top tier 13, is assigned a higher point value, such as six points, than an outside zone defined between each corner connector 80 and upright support connector 82, which is preferably assigned four points. The bottom-most tier 12 is assigned a lower point value, such as two points.

In the preferred embodiment, the rectangular base 18 defines an area of the playing surface 15 that is assigned a point value, such as one point, for any projectile 70 that lands fully within said area. Optionally, one-half of a point may be assigned for a projectile 70 that lands with only one of its weighted elements 71 inside the rectangular base 18.

In play, the target 10 is assembled so that the rectangular base 18 supports the tiers 12,13 in an upright fashion on a playing surface 15, such as a beach or lawn. The players group themselves into two teams, each team being assigned one color of the projectiles 70. While facing the front of the target 10 (FIG. 3) from a prescribed distance, such as 20 feet, a member of the first team tosses the projectile 70 towards the target 10. Then a member of the second team tosses one projectile 70 towards the target 10. The team with the higher point total goes first. In the case of a tie, this process is repeated with different team members, if any, until one of the teams achieves a higher point total.

Thereafter, a member from the team that has been determined to go first then tosses each of that teams projectiles 70 in turn towards the target 10. Then a member of the second team does likewise until all projectiles 70 have been tossed. The total points achieved by each team are calculated based on the point values assigned to where the projectiles 70 have landed or become engaged with the target members 40,60.

Play continues in like manner until one team reaches, and preferably exactly reaches, a predetermined score, such as fifty points. In the preferred embodiment, if a team exceeds the predetermined score on a particular turn, then all of the points scored during that turn are ignored.

While a particular form of the invention has been illustrated and described, it will be apparent that various modifications can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. For example, clearly the specific rules of play may be altered based on the skill level or age of the players, and the point values of the target components may be altered, without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention. Further, the game can be played with each team starting out with a predetermined score, such as fifty points, and points are subtracted in accordance to the scores achieved by the tosses of each projectile 70 until one team exactly reaches zero points. Still further, points may be awarded in multiples for successfully wrapping the flexible member 72 of one projectile 70 around a horizontal target member 40,60, so that, for example, a projectile that is wrapped around a target member twice or three times is awarded two or three times the score value assigned to the target member, respectively. Accordingly, it is not intended that the invention be limited, except as by the appended claims.