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U.S. Open Footbag Championships Saturday, July 07, 2007

Pat Keehan (right) watches as P.T. Lovern puts the bag over the net July 7 at the 2007 U.S. Open Footbag Championships in Portland, Ore. Lovern and Jack Harris, representing Oakland's Chaos Footbag Club, defeated Keehan and David Bernard 2 games to 0. Keehan also plays for Chaos, Bernard is from Portland.

It is pretty routine for visitors to Pioneer Courthouse Square to see a group of people kicking around a little beanbag. So routine, that most people hardly take notice.

Sunday, they will be hard to ignore. Some of the best footbaggers in the country will be on stage in downtown Portland, showing off their moves at the U.S. Open Footbag Championships.

Footbag—often known by the brand name "Hacky Sack"—has long roots in Portland. In fact, it was invented in Oregon City in 1972. Today it is a global sport, with strong followings in Europe and Australia, as well as North America.

Competitive footbag includes two distinct sports: net and freestyle. The net event is similar
to volleyball, where players try to score points on the other team. Freestyle is the artistic side of the sport, where players try to show off their tricks with the sack in a routine choreographed to music. You can read more about the different styles here.

The annual U.S. Open is organized by Portland's Sole Purpose Footbag Club. This year's event is being held at two venues: Pioneer Courthouse Square (freestyle events), and Willamette Park (net events).

David Bernard III of Portland attacks July 7 in his doubles match against P.T. Lovern (left) and Jack Harris of Chaos Footbag Club.