July 22, 2015

A cross-section of more than 200 industry professionals, including subcontractors, owner’s representatives, design professionals and DPR employees, gathered at DPR’s San Diego office June 11 for the region’s second annual Cornhole Classic. The event featured plenty of down-home, backyard fun, friendly competition and networking – all while raising at least $16,000 for two local charities.

Photo courtesy Emily Robertson

Cornhole has become a staple in the San Diego office since it was introduced there six years ago, according to Ian Pyka, who spearheaded the effort. He said the game offers a fun way to relieve workplace stress and offers an alternative to the ubiquitous golf tournaments favored by many industry groups.

“Golf tournaments can be kind of exclusive, and there are so many of them in this industry,” Pyka said. “We wanted to make the cornhole event down home, in our own backyard, so anybody can play and have fun.”

Photo courtesy Emily Robertson

This year the DPR Cornhole Classic supported two local charities, each of which will receive at least $8,000 from the fundraiser. The Autism Tree Project Foundation (ATPF) is a charity for which DPR provides ongoing support and was also the beneficiary of last year’s event. A second charity added this year, the San Diego Art Institute’s youth program, brings art to under-resourced youth in the San Diego area. This spring DPR helped that organization convert a storage room in their Balboa Park gallery space into a small art classroom for the youth.

A highlight of the day was when DPR employee Eric Cusick shared his family’s journey with an autistic child and how ATPF has benefited his family. “That really hit home with everybody and provided a real inspiration for the whole tournament,” Pyka commented.

Based on the positive feedback from participants, Pyka sees the event continuing to grow in the San Diego region. And based on their success, cornhole is spreading to other DPR regions including Sacramento, which held its first cornhole classic this May.

“We have big plans to grow in future years, but it’s always going to be kind of a downhome, backyard, just come-have-a-good-time kind of event,” Pyka added. “I think if we continue to do that and stay focused on the real reason why we’re doing it, it’s going to continue to be a big success.”