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Issue Date: December 2008

The Oktobeer Games

The Cleveland Magazine drinking team writes a cornhole Cinderella story.
Matt Beargie and Andrew Rafferty
The opening ceremony was the tapping of a fresh keg.

The Oktobeer Games Festival, at Mulberry’s on the West Bank of the Flats, did not draw the world’s most elite athletes, but it did see some of Cleveland’s most competitive drinkers.

We were a long shot. More than 30 teams entered to challenge one another in darts, beer pong, foosball, Wii bowling, Connect Four, ping-pong and cornhole. But we had one advantage. Practice: With one college senior and one recent graduate, our team’s drinking-game skills were at their peak.

We began with an embarrassingly poor darts performance, but then went on a hot streak, dominating foosball and cornhole. The competition then moved from Mulberry’s gym to its bar, where we inhaled bratwurst and prepared for Wii bowling. With a drink in one hand and a Wii remote in the other, we bowled our way to a 30-pin victory.

Connect Four was a true gentleman’s duel — the drinking man’s checkers. Luckily, the errors of our more-intoxicated foes led to an easy victory. We lost in ping-pong but snuck into the playoffs as the fourth seed. An hour-long break provided enough time to kill the last keg, which we took as a blurry call to order cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon. By the time we had advanced to the championship cornhole game, our beer buzz was making it hard to see the boards, let alone throw a bean bag.

The environment was hostile. A small crowd gathered to cheer on our rivals. No one seemed to be cheering for the drunks who kept telling people they were fromCleveland Magazine.It is hard to remember how it happened, but one way or another, we lost and took home the $100 second place prize. But with a $50 entry fee covering all-you-can drink beer and a couple of brats, we still felt like winners.

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