David Knorr and Duane Burnside were returning from their first cornhole tournament fundraiser, held at a Charlotte pub almost a decade ago, when the former had an epiphany.
“To be honest, it wasn’t the best run event, and I turned to Duane and said, ‘We could do it so much better,” recalled Mr. Knorr, branch partner of The Knorr Group of Alcova Mortgage in Harrisburg.
Explaining that interest in the lawn game had exploded by that time, the longtime friends and neighbors began making plans to hold their first cornhole fundraiser in their shared hometown. Though it was a relatively small affair, their inaugural tournament still raised $2,000 for a local organization, and galvanized their decision to make the event an annual tradition.
Fast-forward nearly a decade, and their Bags in the ‘Burg Cornhole Tournament, which is celebrating its ninth anniversary next month and always benefits a local charity or family in need of financial assistance, consistently raises between $8,000 and $9,000 each fall.
To date, their event has raised more than $65,000 total, a figure that includes considerable contributions from an assortment of sponsors, including fellow Harrisburg Business Network (HBN) members.
Save The Date
The ninth annual Bags in the ‘Burg Cornhole Tournament is scheduled for Saturday, October 5, and will run from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. The event will feature food and alcohol, both of which are available for purchase, as well as music, children’s activities and an assortment of vendors.
The double-elimination tournament starts at noon and will be played on 11 sets of boards spread out between the parking lot and lawn that sits between Three Monkeys Tavern and Grill and the Rocky River Coffee Company at Harrisburg Town Center. If it rains, the tournament will be moved indoors to Hickory Ridge Middle School.
Though the early registration deadline has passed, teams of two interested in competing for trophies – and bragging rights – can still sign up for $75 per team at www.harrisburgncbusiness.com/bags-in-the-burg. Same-day registration is also accepted, though organizers prefer that teams sign up as early as possible.
While there are no cash prizes — all raised money goes to charity — the first and second place teams will go home with trophies.
Co-sponsored by the HBN and Harrisburg Town, Bags in the ‘Burg typically features between 40 and 50 teams, and all proceeds are donated to a worthy cause. Mr. Knorr notes that HBN board members have the difficult task of screening potential recipients, explaining that most are deserving of their support, though only one can be chosen.
Sadly, members did not have to look far to find a recipient this time.
Organizers are raising money for Elisa Hoffmann, a 49-year-old Harrisburg resident who has been battling Alzheimer’s disease since 2014. She and her husband, George, who owns Dri Touch Carpet Cleaning, are in need of in-home care services and medical supplies, according to Mr. Knorr.
He explained that the disease, for which there is no cure, runs in Ms. Hoffmann’s family. Her father suffered from Alzheimer’s for a decade before passing at age 56. Prior to being diagnosed just before her 43rd birthday, Ms. Hoffmann, who has her master’s degree in special education, taught at the Jay M. Robinson High School in Concord.
“She’s now confined to a wheelchair and in need of certain items,” Mr. Knorr said. “We’re going to cut them a check, and they can use it for whatever they need.”
Shooting For $10,000
Though incredibly successful, Mr. Burnside notes that they have been unable to surpass $10,000 in donations – a mark that they are hoping to finally hit this year.
“We’ve come close, but haven’t been able to get over it,” said Mr. Burnside, who owns Burnside Pest Control. “For whatever reason, we can’t seem to get there.”
In addition to the tournament registration fees and ticket sales from lottery tree and 50/50 raffles, Mr. Knorr and Mr. Burnside rely on the generosity of a number of local businesses, many of which are, like themselves, members of the HBN, a local professional business networking organization, www.harrisburgncbusiness.com.
Mr. Knorr estimates that approximately 75 percent of proceeds come from sponsors, a list that includes Three Monkeys Tavern and Grill, which donates all profits from its food sales during the tournament.
Hitting the $10,000 mark would be especially meaningful for Mr. Knorr and Mr. Burnside. They shared that next year’s tournament – the 10th annual event – will be their last as organizers.
They intend to hand over the reins to others, explaining that it takes a lot of work to plan and orchestrate such an undertaking.
But they also agree that it is totally worth the effort.
“I don’t think we’d still be doing it if not for the charity part,” Mr. Knorr said.
“That’s what makes it all worthwhile,” Mr. Burnside added.
Cornhole For Beginners
For those unfamiliar, the winning team is the first to score 21 points.
Each player starts with four bags, and receives one point for each one that lands on the board – referred to as a “woody” – and three points for every bag that lands in or is knocked through the hole by another bag – called or “cornhole.”
The Bags in the ‘Burg Cornhole Tournament follows the cancelation scoring format, meaning that points accrued by one player cancel those scored by an opponent. Therefore, only one team can score points each round, or inning.