By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Bags Fly
Cornhole Tournament Benefits Best Buddies
cornhole 1
Matt Gauthier with niece Claire Allen while riding in the Best Buddies: Hearst Challenge. Gauthier began cycling in the annual event at the invitation of his wife Christine, co-captain of Best Buddies Team Gallo/G3. The team will host an inaugural Cornhole Tournament locally on Saturday, Aug. 10. Photo Contributed
cornhole 2
Best Buddies Team Gallo/G3 at the finish line of the Best Buddies: Hearst Challenge. The Valley-based company has been an active participant and donor of the event for over a decade. Photo Contributed

Cornhole is about to make its way to Oakdale.

The poplar family barbecue, bean bag throwing game will make a stop at the Orange Blossom home of Kristy and John Marcella on Saturday, Aug. 10. The Marcella’s, however, will not be hosting the games as a private party, instead they have opened their property to Team Gallo/G3 to host the inaugural Best Buddies Cornhole Tournament.

“We try and get after two major fundraisings a year,” Christine Gauthier Gallo, team member and co-captain of Best Buddies Gallo/G3 Team, shared. “This year the cornhole is new to us.”

The tournament will be a four game round robin style event open to the public. Participants are encouraged to register with a partner, however teams will be formed for those who register solo.

Gauthier shared the team decided to entertain the idea of a tournament when she was first approached by a family member who participates in cornhole at the competitive level.

“Did you even know that stuff is pro?” the co-captain inquired. “There’s pros, it’s like a huge sport. This is all new to us.”

Best Buddies is an international 501c(3) non-profit dedicated to raising funds and providing opportunities for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). According to its website: “It is the world’s largest organization dedicated to ending the social, physical and economic isolation for the 200 million people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).”

Gauthier said she first became inspired to become involved with the organization along with her employer E&J Gallo because of her niece Claire Allen. She first took to a bike with husband Matt for the Best Buddies Challenge: Hearst Castle. Each year the Gallo team participates in the cycling event which travels from Carmel to the San Simeon finish line.

“Gallo donates to the charity each year and if the team raises so much they match that amount,” the co-captain said of the company’s commitment to the cause.

She noted that while the cornhole fundraiser is being led by the Gallo/G3 Team the funds raised will go directly to Best Buddies.

“We just take it upon ourselves to help raise more money than our entry into the Hearst Castle (run/cycle event),” she said. “We want to give more.”

The Aug. 10 fundraising tournament event is limited to 152 players, yet space is still available. An entry fee of $60 per person includes: entry, continental breakfast, barbecue lunch, drinks, beer, wine and live music. Spectator tickets are also available for a $20 donation which also includes food and drinks.

The team has set a goal of raising $15,000 for the event.

Gauthier shared she’s hopeful for a good turnout for the inaugural fundraising event, stating, “Without the people we can’t raise the funds, right? I need registrations.”

The competition is open to all levels of players.

“It’s powerful to be a part of it (best buddies),” Gauthier continued, choking back tears of pride. “I wish I could do more, I really do. I think about my niece.”

She said there is a joy in seeing her niece and others with IDD accomplish goals and raising money for the cause means the Gallo team is making a difference.

The inaugural Best Buddies Cornhole Tournament will be hosted on Saturday, Aug. 10 at the Marsella’s Barn, 13480 Orange Blossom Road, Oakdale. Check-in will be from at 10 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and ‘Bags Fly’ at 11 a.m.

Registration is open at (search Best Buddies Cornhole Oakdale). For additional information, contact or