Usually quieter during the winter months, the Fort Wayne Sport Club was brimming with activity on a recent February evening.
The group hosted their annual Corn Hole and Euchre Tournament, attracting nearly 100 members of the public looking for fun times, good food, and warm companionship.For a cost of just $15, folks could come into the club, located at 3102 Ardmore Avenue, and play either in a Corn Hole tournament or a Euchre match, while also enjoying a buffet of food, and the club’s cash bar.
About 16 people played Corn hole – eight teams of two – and roughly 40 were ensconced in the Euchre games – 10 tables of four players. The event stretched from about 5 p.m. to about 11 p.m., said Phil Wisniewski, the club’s Entertainment Chairman.
“It’s a lot of fun and friendship, but it’s basically a fundraiser for us,” Wisniewski said, “It helps us pay for a lot of stuff we need around here.” He noted that past tournaments and this year’s event have helped pay for new doors and windows for the building, and new tabletops and chairs in the club’s barroom.
Food served to the hungry crowd included hot dogs, hamburgers, a wide array of condiments for both (including sour kraut), vegetable trays, potato and tortilla chips, chili and cookies.
“It’s fun; it’s camaraderie; everybody knows everybody. You get together, you have some food, and you have some beer,” said Kevin Warren, the club’s Head Trustee, who’s been a club member about 20 years.
The event has been going on for about the last 10 years, Wisniewski said, and is one of the few times the club is open to the public during the winter. Although the club does have a Fish Fry on the fourth Friday of each month, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., with the next one happening on February 22, he said.
Also new to the club this winter is the group’s First Annual Mardi Gras celebration, which will take place on March 23 at 8 p.m., Wisniewski said. For a $20 admission, that event will offer a DJ, decorations, masks, beads, performers, and “celebrations,” according to the club’s flyer.
The club also soon will be hosting its Community Garage Sale, on March 8 and 9, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with the club’s roughly 325 strong members donating items to be sold. All profits from the sale then go to the club.
During the summer months, the club is usually buzzing with activity, hosting an array of soccer matches on the huge outdoor fields that skirt the club building. The games host a wide age range of players. In fact, Erick Siela, one of the night’s Corn hole players, said he spends a lot of his summer evenings refereeing soccer matches there.
“I’ve refereed a lot of matches here at the club,” said Siela, a 35-year-old plumber from Columbia City, who said he’s donated some plumbing work to the club. “And then, you kind of get into the social aspect of it. And that’s really the best part.”
Siela said while he’s competed in – and won – euchre matches at the event in the past, this was the first night he’s ever played Corn hole. Unfortunately, his team lost their match.
But it didn’t dampen his enthusiasm for the event in the slightest, he said.
“I’m just coming here to give back,” Siela said. “It feels great to do this and be a part of the community. It’s totally worth it.”