Playtime; Father, son develop tailgate game.
MARLBORO - A Frisbee in one hand, a cold beverage in the other - sounds like a perfect summer pastime.
A father and son have taken these elements a step further, creating a competitive outdoor Frisbee game that combines drinking and athletic skill.
Called My Pole-ish Horseshoes, or MPH, the object of the game is to throw a Frisbee at an opponent's pole and knock down a 12-ounce beverage can - soft drink or beer - perched on top, gaining points with each hit. The first team to score 21 points wins. This is all done while holding a beverage can in the other hand.
Alan A. Casucci, founder of the public relations company Thought for Food, and his son, Eamon, 25, run the business out of their Marlboro home.
"I first played Polish horseshoes at a cousin's graduation party," said Eamon A. Casucci. "Since then, I've been playing it nonstop."
Polish horseshoes, which Alan Casucci said originated about 25 years ago on the campus of the University of New Hampshire, is a Frisbee game that involves a pole stuck in the ground and a beverage can.
The plan to create their own improved version of the popular tailgate game began in November 2009, when Alan Casucci saw his son playing with a pole and base he built himself.
"My dad said, `If you go get your master's, I'll help you start this business,'" said Eamon Casucci. He went on to earn his master's degree in finance at Bentley University in Waltham, and the pair began brainstorming ideas for their prototype. By January 2010, they had a finished product and began selling.
Their version of the game, which costs $65 and is sold online at the company's website, stands out because it has a sturdy base made of PVC pipe. Other versions of the game involve placing the beverage can on ski poles, which limits the area the game can be played on to penetrable ground.
The MPH base allows play on all types of surfaces, which is helpful for tailgating in parking lots. Additionally, the base keeps the pole upright, and it does not need to be reset often.
While MPH is popular with a college-aged crowd - the demographic most drawn to drinking games - it is also popular with families and older people, said Alan Casucci.
"Because it's played with a Frisbee, there is no generational gap," said Mr. Casucci. "Everyone knows Frisbee."
Mr. Casucci said he has sold many games to young married couples with children.
"With young kids, the parents can't go too far from home," said Mr. Casucci. "So they want to play a game in their own backyard and have a cocktail."
He said MPH is also popular with middle-aged parents who have older children and play the game together.
"It's a way for parents to stay in their children's lives," said Mr. Casucci.
The pair spent the past year traveling around the country with the game, bringing it to festivals and charity events to get feedback and make improvements to their game design, such as the formation of the base.
Game parts are supplied by an Illinois company and are assembled and shipped from the Casucci home. The company is self-funded. MPH has sold more than 500 sets online and at festivals, and they hope to soon expand into a warehouse and get the game into the retail market.
Exploring marketing strategies, the company commissioned a theme song by hip-hop artist Caligula Williams, or Cali Stylz, of Atlanta, who played the game at the 2011 MegaGate Challenge in Las Vegas. He wrote the song "MPH," which he sings on the game's website.
They also hope to break the Guinness World Record for the most people to play in a Polish horseshoe tournament at the Hudson Elks Lodge in a Sept. 24 event benefiting the Wounded Warrior Project.
CUTLINE: From left, Eamon A. Casucci, Tyler A. Casucci and their father, Alan A. Casucci, all of Marlboro, play My Pole-ish Horseshoes, a game that Eamon and his father developed.
PHOTOG: T&G Staff/TOM RETTIG