Last year's Make A Difference Day Cornhole Tournament marked the 30th anniversary of the Hope Chest Foundation, the charity the tournament benefits.
This year's fourth annual tournament will mark the Tribune Chronicle's 10th Make A Difference Day on Oct. 27.
The newspaper is working hard to make this tournament worthy of the anniversary, with some exciting new additions to this Trumbull County fall classic.
This year's tournament will still have the standard 128-team doubles format with double elimination. The cost is $50 per team and the grand prize is $1,000, with a $500 prize for second place, $300 for third and $200 for fourth.
As usual, the tournament will be held in Courthouse Square, but it will begin at 9 a.m. instead of the usual 10.
That's because we need time to fit in the new women's singles tournament, the competitive singles tournament and the long toss event.
The women's singles event asks a $20 entry fee per player and promises a 50 percent payback in prize money. The competitive singles tournament requires a $50 entry fee and will also offer a 50 percent payback in prize money, with a minimum grand prize of $200.
The long toss event is a standard side game in most cornhole tournaments and will be held at the event for the first time this year. Contestants will pay $5 for three cornhole bags, and the prize will go to the person who makes the longest throw into the hole. That event also will offer a 50 percent payout.
Last year's tournament pitted Dale Smith of Campbellsville, Ky., and Steve Vanderver of Norwood against 2009 champion Matt Guy of Alexandria, Ky., and Randy Atha of Sharonville. Smith and Vanderver won the grand prize.
Ted Snyder, Tribune Chronicle circulation director, said 11 of the players in the 2011 tournament were top finishers in the national King of Cornhole Tournament.
This year, the newspaper expects plenty of big names again, and is waiting for a Trumbull County champion to emerge from the ever-growing pool of cornhole aces here in the Valley. Niles native Gary Lewis won in 2010, but was unseated in last year's tournament.
Proceeds from the tournament go to the Hope Chest Foundation 12 Ways of Christmas program. During the economic recession of 1981, the Tribune Chronicle started the Hope Chest Foundation to ensure that needy families had a happy holiday. In its first three years, 285 area families received help from various social service agencies as a result of donations from the Hope Chest. In the first three years of the cornhole tournament, more than $14,000 has been raised for the Hope Chest.
The charitable nature of the event has even inspired a competitor or two to take the thrill of victory home while leaving the money behind.
In 2010, Lewis donated his entire grand prize check to a 17-year-old cancer patient in Brookfield. Guy has also played in several charity events.
Make A Difference Day is a national day of volunteerism held the fourth Saturday in October and sponsored locally by the Tribune Chronicle and nationally by USA Weekend Magazine.
In 2003, the first year projects were coordinated by the Tribune Chronicle, USA Weekend Magazine honored Trumbull County Make A Difference Day with a $10,000 award for being one of the 10 best projects in the United States that year. In 2004, Make A Difference Day Ohio chose the event as one of the 10 best projects in Ohio. The Associated Press honored the Tribune Chronicle for Make A Difference Day in 2005 as the best community service project by a newspaper. Then in 2006, Trumbull County Make A Difference Day was named the national Encore Award winner by USA Weekend and received another $10,000 award.
The Tribune Chronicle cannot qualify for any more national awards, but individuals can.
Visit www.tribtoday.com and click on the Make A Difference Day link to register a project, see what projects are available and need volunteers, volunteer yourself, and print out forms, including the cornhole tournament registration form.
Participants can register up to the day of the tournament.