‘Freedom Fest’ Tourney Honors Friend Killed In Car Accident

2017 LT Freedom Fest Memorial Tournament

Duluth, Minn. A high-speed crash six years ago took the life of one person, while seriously injuring three others.

The life taken was that of Tim Stephenson, a caring person whose favorite thing to do was playing ultimate Frisbee.

Every year since his death, Tim’s teammates and friends remember him by hosting a ultimate Frisbee tournament in his honor.

Tim “LT” Stephenson was a loving son, brother, and uncle who carried himself with dignity — gaining the utmost respect from his peers.

“At the end of the day when he got off the field, cleats were off he was your best friend. He’d be your fiercest competitor but your best friend on the sideline,” said Bill Stafford, friend and teammate of Tim.

When playing the game he loved, his energy brushed off on his teammates.

“He would always hustle and would always bring his cleats on no matter what kind of mentality to the game,” Stafford said.

That game was ultimate Frisbee.

Tim played for the “dingwop nation”  — a Duluth based team.

“When he played and walked the sidelines, he had a look on his face that you never saw because it meant so much to him,” said Tim’s mom Selma Stephenson.

“Everybody fed off his energy and just really tragic to see him go and his spirit lives on with us. We try to play as if he was there with us on the field as hard as he would have played,” Stafford said.

It was a tragic accident that took Tim’s life June 3, 2011. Tim and three buddies were heading home. The driver exceeded speeds of 90 miles per hour before losing control and striking trees.

“I had to call Jeff and Tim’s two brothers.” Selma said.

“It was tragic, I was in college and I got phone call after phone call after phone call,” Stafford said.

Tim’s best friend and niece said it best, according to his parents.  “She made a comment to her mom and dad after the funeral and said I know why Tim is gone. God needed another player on his ultimate Frisbee team,” Selma said.

For 6 years now, as Tim plays above, teams from the U.S. and Canada embark on the quest to become the “LT” Freedom Fest Memorial champions, and also learn why this tournament is so important to so many people.

“The cool part about this tournament is being out here to be able to tell those stories and remember “LT” and inform people about his life, his legacy and what he means to us and why we are here playing this tournament,” Stafford said.

His parents, although wishing Tim was still with them, spend this weekend every year knowing Tim’s legacy lives on.

“For us, right now, this is our day,” said Jeff Stephenson, Tim’s father.

“Dealing with it I this way and getting together with these guys knowing that they loved him.” Selma said.

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