Drink beer and raise money for vets
It began, pretty much, over a few beers.
Neil Stough and Katrina Lauer were thinking of doing something for the community, specifically, doing something for veterans. Stough, a construction worker from Emigsville, doesn't run triathlons or do the kinds of things that are normally associated with fund-raisers.
He does drink beer, though. And he figured a lot of his fellow hops aficionados could be, well, tapped as a resource to raise money for a good cause.
And so the York Beer'lympics were born.
That was in 2012. The first games were held in Stough's backyard, thrown together in a couple of weeks. The Olympians, who competed in a variety of drinking games, were mostly his friends and family, maybe 50 people tops. Still, they raised $500 for the Pennsylvania Veterans Foundation.
It seemed to work and Stough and the event's board of directors set about to make the games bigger and better every year.
Last year, the event, still held in Stough's backyard, attracted between 200 and 300 people for the six or seven hours that the games lasted. They raised $5,555 for the veterans foundation. The games had a DJ providing tunes and a food stand. Local businesses donated gift baskets to be raffled off.
This year, the games spread across three backyards in Emigsville. Stough said they hope to raise $10,000.
Tashaun Dennis, a 25-year-old warehouse worker from York and a member of last year's first place team, said it's not really about drinking a metric ton of beer.
"It's about having a good time and helping out a good cause," he said. "Everybody's out there to have a good time."
Still, there are some concerns when you have teams playing drinking games that range from classics like beer pong and flip cup to new ones that Stough and his committee come up with.
"We have some very strict rules," Stough said.
For one, the beer is monitored and competitors do not have free access to it. Plenty of water is provided and competitors and others are encouraged to stay hydrated. Anyone who has been drinking cannot leave the premises, Stough said, and cabs and Uber drivers are made available for those who didn’t have designated drivers. The four-member teams are told to appoint a fifth member as a designated driver, who is rewarded with free food and soft drinks for the duration.
While the organizers encourage spirited competition, they won't tolerate fighting. Stough said it hasn't been a problem.
Neither has overindulgence.
"We have people keeping a close on things to make sure that nobody gets out of hand," Stough said. "You're not there to get completely wasted. You're there to have a good time and raise money for a good cause."
Dennis said, "Everyone's under control. There's just a small amount of beer in the cups for the games. It's not like we're chugging. We don't want people making fools of themselves. Everyone is going out to have a good time."
The teams consists of four members. Registration for teams is $40. A team captain is appointed to be responsible for the team.
Spectators are welcome. All of the money raised by food sales and raffles go to the veterans foundation.
And this rule, posted on the event's website, speaks for itself: "Some people may think puking is a valid way to win, however please make note that our refs will be watching for any vomiting. If you are caught doing this during or within 10 minutes after you have competed in an event, you will be disqualified. This rule is to protect you from over drinking. We do not promote drinking until you are sick or alcohol poisoning."
If you go
What: The York Beer'lympics
When: Saturday, July 23, noon. Team registration begins at 11:30 a.m.
Where: Neil Stough's backyard, 3561 Liverpool Turnpike,
For more information, visit yorkbeerlympics.webs.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.