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Cornhole tournament at New Sarum Brewery brings out Panthers fans, raises money for charity

SALISBURY – Rowan County’s fan club for the NFL’s Carolina Panthers merged tailgating staples this weekend — beer and the game cornhole — to raise money for a good cause.

New Sarum Brewing Company in downtown Salisbury hosted Cheer City Riot and Mise En Place Food Truck on Sunday to have some fun and raise money for the Roaring Riot Foundation, which provides Panthers experiences for fans in need. The expected contribution from this event was about $2,500.

There were 32 teams on Sunday tossing beanbags in the double elimination tournament. In cornhole, teams receive points by tossing beanbags onto a wooden board or into a small hole drilled into the board.

Prizes up for grabs on Sunday included local gift cards, merchandise and tickets to a Panthers game. The winner for the day was team Stove Pipe, made up of Cameron Pressley and Duncan Clemmer.

Connor Smith was competing with some of his friends Sunday afternoon. A lifelong Panthers fan, he was drawn to the tournament by an ad on Facebook.

“We love cornhole. We love football. We feel like it’s a cool thing to do and support a good cause,” Smith said.

Most game days, Smith and his family and friends get together to eat, drink and play some games.

The event, organized by Dillon and Kelsey Brewer, is the third Cheer City Riot tournament. It took a break during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the plan is to continue hosting tournaments during the Panthers’ bye weeks in addition to one every summer. So far, Cheer City Riot has raised about $10,000 for nonprofits.

Cheer City Riot has partnered with New Sarum and plans to be at the brewery for every Panthers game. The partnership means something to New Sarum Brewmaster Andy Maben.

Maben moved here from Milwaukee, but he was a Panthers fan before he even got to North Carolina and later attended Catawba College. Maben said his dad was 75% Buffalo Bills fan and 25% Pittsburgh Steelers fan.

Maben was a big fan of defensive play, and when defensive end and linebacker Kevin Greene left the Steelers to play for the Panthers in 1996 Maben decided he was going to pull for the new team instead.

“I’ve been that way ever since,” Maben said.

He is a longtime member of Roaring Riot, which is affiliated with the Rowan County group. When Maben heard a chapter was coming to Salisbury, he got in touch with Dillon Brewer because he wanted New Sarum to be its local bar. New Sarum brews beer for the Panthers as well.

“It was almost a necessity,” Maben said. “For me it was like, ‘this is a no brainer.'”

Maben said events like this Sunday’s cornhole tournament help people understand drinking beer can be a social and community activity that gives back.

“It’s a product we are making that is about social gathering and community,” Maben said. “What other way to convey that than doing charity events and bringing like-minded individuals together.”

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