October 28, 2016
By Luke Phillips
ATASCADERO — For nearly eight hours Saturday, the Sunken Gardens was full of competitors and spectators during the first-ever Showdown Corn Toss Tournament, hosted by the Knights of Columbus and the City of Atascadero.
As the day went on, fewer and fewer bean bags flew through the air and more boards were removed from the park as teams were eliminated. In the end, Lou Coppo, of Atascadero, and Ryan Hofmann, of Fresno, were the last team standing, defeating 31 other teams and taking home a trophy and $100 each.
“It was fun,” Hofmann said. “It was a good group of boys out here playing their hearts out and we enjoyed every bit of it. I’m glad they put it on and can’t wait for next year.”
Coppo said it was good to see the community gathered around something positive.
“We had a lot of people come out and a lot of people having fun and we had the kids area and stuff, so it was fun to get everybody out here in the center of Atascadero,” he said.
Hofmann said the duo competed for several hours and admitted that his throwing arm was a bit sore.
“We were out here throwing bags at 9:30 and we’ve been out here ever since,” he said. “So it was a long day, but it was one heck of a day. There’s some ice involved and maybe a refreshment or two.”
Coppo said that he’d like to see the event take place twice per year.
“I’d love that, that’d be fun,” he said. “The Knights of Columbus did a good job, they put together a good tournament.”
The Knights of Columbus organized the tournament and built the boards and made the bean bags along with the Atascadero Kiwanis Club.
Deputy City Manager Terrie Banish said that the city had expected a bigger turnout of teams signing up to compete and attributed the low participation to the many other events happening in the area at the same time including the Cal Poly homecoming celebration, Founders Day in Templeton and the Golden Oak Honey Festival in Paso Robles. Banish said that next year the tournament would likely be moved to the end of September to avoid conflicts with other events.
“It was our first year and we were competing with all of these other events today, but everybody really enjoyed themselves and had a great time and everybody wants us to do it again,” Banish said. “So next year we can expand it by getting more folks involved in the community, more commercial businesses involved, maybe different fire departments across our county and police and we can have a really fun cornhole tournament.”
Banish estimated that approximately 500 spectators came out to watch the tournament and two breweries — Central Coast Brewing and Tap-It — poured 107 beers, with half of the profits going to nonprofit organization Parents for Joy to further their efforts to build an inclusive playground suited to children with special needs. Half of the profits from the tournament were also donated to Parents for Joy.