HomCo Lumber & Hardware’s annual horseshoe competition is part family reunion, part feast and part fundraiser.
The Flagstaff, Arizona, store uses its Shoes ‘N Brews event to raise money to help local families whose children have serious illnesses, but also to cement relationships with vendors, employees and customers.
The tournament is competitive, the food and beer unlimited and the full day of fun tremendously popular.
Todd Callan, HomCo’s chief operating officer, got the idea for the event by socializing with other industry professionals and noticing that playing horseshoes allowed for more and better interaction than company golf outings. He has organized the horseshoe competition for eight years now.
“It’s strictly for our employees, vendors and our customers, because what I’m looking for is, I’m looking for relationships,” Callan says. “It’s like a huge family reunion.”
Callan recruits 64 teams to play horseshoes, and the competitors often make silly uniforms as part of the fun. Callan asks vendors to donate to the charity, and to cover the costs of renting the fairgrounds and providing products to raffle at the party. Each two-person horseshoe team pays $100 to compete. HomCo provides the manpower to prepare the horseshoe pits and do other setup.
The results? The 2015 event raised $12,295 to help local families who need financial assistance.
Plus, attendees have a blast every year, and Callan has to maintain a waiting list for people who want to be on a team to compete. Within two or three days of opening up signups for teams, he has a full roster.
Competition winners get cash prizes, which are typically donated to the charity.
“Everything we do is tied to the community,” Callan says. “I think it’s very important for every independent, locally owned business to give back. That’s our culture.”