Fifth Annual Catfish, Corndogs and Cornhole benefits Mercy Health Foundation

by Nancy Peevy (nancywpeevy@gmail.com) 366 views 

Catfish, Corndogs and Cornhole fielded 125 teams to raise money for Mercy Health Foundation.

Small bags of corn flew across the grass at Mercy Hospital in Rogers on Friday (June 16) at Catfish, Corndogs and Cornhole as approximately 1,000 people showed up to raise money for the Mercy Health Foundation.

The fifth annual event, presented by Whytespyder, benefits an organization each year striving to improve the quality of life in Northwest Arkansas, said Charles Kochel, Whytspyder director of marketing.

“We think Mercy is going above and beyond the call of duty. The Foundation is educating people in Northwest Arkansas on how to be healthy. And, when I say we focus on a better quality of life, health is the main thing,” Kochel said.

Cornhole, also known as bean bag toss, corn toss, baggo, or bags, is a lawn game in which players take turns throwing bags of corn at a raised platform with a hole in the far end, according to the fundraiser’s website. Twenty-one points is a winning score.

Mercy’s tournament was double elimination and followed the official cornhole rules and regulations at http://www.playcornhole.org/rules.shtml.

“We have found that there’s a competitive world of cornhole where people actually travel to tournaments,” said Clark Ellison, Mercy Health Foundation regional vice president.

Players selected whether they were a competitive or an amateur team. First place competitor’s prize was $500, and $250 for amateurs. At Friday’s cornhole tournament, 125 two-person teams paid $50 to play. General admission to the event was $10 per person, with children under 12 getting in for free. Organizers hoped to raise $25,000 from the event, with 100% of the proceeds going to Mercy Health Foundation. The money will be spent on the hospital’s greatest needs, as decided by the Foundation’s board of directors.

Charles Kochel (left), marketing director for Whytespyder, and Clark Ellison, Mercy Health Foundation regional vice president, stand together during the Catfish, Corndogs and Cornhole fundraiser.

Kochel said with 125 teams, this year’s event is twice as big as previous years, which only fielded about 60 teams. The team at Whytspyder agreed that if 100 teams turned out this year for the event, Mercy could be the benefiting organization again in 2018, Ellison said.

With so many teams, Friday’s cornhole tournament may have set a record.

“We were looking at the Guinness Book of World Records to see what the largest cornhole tournament has been and somebody reported back that it was 150 teams. We are researching to see if we could claim it as the state’s largest cornhole tournament,” Ellison said. “I don’t think we have a lot of competition!”

Microsoft brought seven teams to play at the tournament, each with a creative name like “Maized and Confused,” “The Corn Identity,” “Son of Pitches,” “Shuck Dynasty,” “Corn to Be Wild,” and “Sack to the Future.”

“We said, ‘cornhole, bag toss’ and everybody said, ‘That’s a great idea!’ And it’s for a good cause, Mercy Health Foundation,” Vic Miles, global account executive for Microsoft, said. “None of us are from this area and so we moved our families here…and so having Mercy here gives us a chance to have outstanding health care in a somewhat rural community. … It adds to our quality of life.”

Miles said the Microsoft group used the tournament as a team building event, and the teams have been practicing regularly in preparation.

“Being technical people, it’s interesting. We were thinking about trajectory and drag and loft and how we’re going to get it in the hole,” he said.

Miles said Cornhole has a nostalgic quality for his team.

“It reminds us of our youth. From farm to suburban backyards. Whether horseshoes or croquet, the quick pace and the element of luck are a winner every time,” he said.

Top sponsors for the event included McCarthy Building, Advantage Sales, Coty, Crossland Construction, CDI, Acosta and Flintco.

The Microsoft team at Catfish, Corndogs and Cornhole. They used the fundraiser as a team building event.

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