Anderson was born in Jamaica and has lived in Denver for several years.
“I was raised by a single mother with three children, I have one and a brother and sister. We were a close family, going to church every Sunday and school every day without skipping. I was the oldest kid, so I made it my mission not to give her a headache because she had two jobs,” Anderson added.
The colors of his native country’s flag inspired the colors he uses in his game. Players stand 15 feet apart and toss foam golf balls into numbered cups that fit into a wood paneled board. Points are earned through a rating system. The person who gets the highest score first wins and it can be played indoors or outdoors. As for the name? “Popongo means nothing. I just came up with something that’s really cool when you win. Popongo!” Anderson said, laughing.
When Anderson first came up with the idea, he tested it on himself to see if it really piqued his interest.
“I thought, okay, I’ll play this for a few hours and see what happens. It was seven hours! I started at 9 [at night] and at 4 [in the morning] I thought, I have to get up for work!” Anderson said, looking at his watch. “Well, I figured I might stumble upon something here.”
Anderson works with a friend who owns an architecture firm and a lumber shop to make all the games so everything is made in Denver’s Park Hill neighborhood.
“They’re made locally, and I bet some of these other games can’t say that,” he added, “It’s important because I feel like I’m giving back to Denver if it’s given me a home and it’s given me a home.” allowed to work for my success.”
At a time when black-owned businesses don’t get the same kind of support as their white counterparts, Anderson thinks it’s important that more people get opportunities.
“I respect only too much how difficult it can be coming from a third world country and coming here to enable those who have been here who are trying to make it happen and see what they are going through and as things can be I’m not saying black entrepreneurs don’t stand a chance, I’m just saying that in my experience it can be more difficult,” Anderson said.
It is all the more exciting that Popongo is now entering into a partnership with the Denver Broncos. “I think what the Broncos represent is the community, their fans, and their fans having a good time and having fun,” Anderson says with a big smile.
Dana Knowles is a multimedia journalist at Rocky Mountain PBS and can be reached at [email protected].
Brian Willie is Content Production Manager at Rocky Mountain PBS. You can reach him at [email protected].