Corn Hole Tournament Raises Funds For Veterans

Veteran John Durrenberger, Milltown, joins his service dog Kilmer. Kilmer is from the Czech Republic and Durrenberger has had the dog for two weeks now. Kilmer is the latest dog from Rebuilding Warriors. (Photo courtesy Jackson Kiwanis Club)

JACKSON – A whole lot of bean bags were flying around during the first Jackson Kiwanis Club Corn Hole Tournament held on Sept. 30 and it was all for a good cause.

Jeff Domenick, the vice president and president-elect of the club spearheaded the well-attended event held at the VFW 4703 at 54 Magnolia Drive. He said he was looking at new, fun and unique ways to raise money for the many charities that his organization supports.

“This is our first event of this type and through a friend of mine who is a Freehold Borough police officer I learned about corn hole tournaments,” Domenick said.

In the air! Players aim high for a win during the Sept. 30 Corn Hole Tournament held in Jackson by the Township’s Kiwanis Club. (Photo courtesy Jackson Kiwanis Club)

“We are supporting Rebuilding Warriors which aids veterans of all eras, from all branches of the service. This is an exceptional organization that supplies service dogs to vets,” he added.

Jeff Anderson, the CEO and founder of Rebuilding Warriors, said his organization provides highly trained and socialized service/companion dogs to veterans who are amputees as well as those with PTSD, (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury).

“Most of our dogs are bred especially for this mission and have a highly sought-after demeanor. We provide these dogs to Honorably Discharged Veterans from any branch of the Armed Forces or from any service era meeting our eligibility standards,” Anderson said.

Jackson residents Mike Smith, left, joins Tom Sandoval during the competition. (Photo courtesy Jackson Kiwanis Club)

Anderson added that “we purchase our dogs from reputable breeders, and also rescue dogs from breed rescues and local animal shelters. These young dogs will be trained by us and have a good foundation of obedience and manners so as to easily bond with their new owner and family. We will sponsor these Wounded Veterans with their companion/mobility dog, provide training and home set up of equipment.”

“We support many veteran causes so this was a good fit for us and the community,” Domenick said.

But just what is a Corn Hole Tournament?

Domenick explained the rules and how this tournament served to raise money for their charity cause.

Teams registered at $74 in advance or $100 the day of the event and spectators paid $25 just to watch the activity and enjoy a variety and abundance of food and beverages prepared at the location.

Domenick further explained that the event has similarities to horse shoe tossing. The ‘corn hole’ is two boards set on a 45-degree angle set 27 feet apart. Competing teams toss bean bags toward the 6” diameter hole and the goal is to either get it in the hole which will result in scoring three points or getting it as close to the hole as possible that will net a team one point. The team that scores 21 first, wins.

The Cornhole Tournament hosted for the first time by the Jackson Kiwanis Club featured all you can eat food for spectators and players of the event. (Photo courtesy Jackson Kiwanis Club)

“We were hoping to have 32 teams. A team is two people. We had 29 or 30 teams. We had a lot of people here and one retired veteran who brought along his service dog named Kilmer,” Domenick said. “I am actually terrible at the game and need to practice.”

He added that prizes were awarded to the three top teams and each team member received a souvenir mug and wristband to enjoy all the food available.

“I was surprised to learn that corn hole tournaments are actually pretty popular and that there are professional corn hole leagues out there. I saw this on ESPN. It may not involve athletes as we know them to be but it is an interesting game to play,” Domenick said.

Domenick credited the day’s success to the work of several of his fellow members, including Bernadette Seda, Carley Lewis, Colleen Crawford, Carol Hordickhuk, Lou Tarantino and Fran Polito.

“Jackson is a tight knit community and this type of event brings the community together,” Domenick said.

The organizers of the event were pleased to have been able to raise money for Rebuilding Warriors which has a motto of changing “the lives of warriors one dog at a time.”

“These dogs become great confidence builders, aiding these men and women as they return to society. It will become a challenge for the participants to raise and care for these world class animals. The unconditional love given and received by these dogs will teach these warriors to ignore their own self-imposed limitations,” Anderson said.