KNCO, Kane's to hold penny pitch fundraiser for Nevada County United Way
'In the first year, I struggled to get four sponsors. I wanted eight last year but got seven. I have 11 sponsors this year and I didn’t have to struggle.' Joe Hevia, founder of the penny pitch fundraiser
For the third consecutive year, a penny pitch fundraiser will be held this month at Kane’s Restaurant in downtown Grass Valley.
The KNCO & Kane’s Penny Pitch has raised more than $7,000 in the past two years for the United Way, said Joe Hevia, the founder and director of the competition. The goal for the June 19 event is $5,000, he said.
“In the first year, I struggled to get four sponsors. I wanted eight last year but got seven. I have 11 sponsors this year and I didn’t have to struggle,” Hevia explained as he charted the fundraiser’s evolution.
Meagan Timpany, the executive director of the United Way of Nevada County, said fundraisers like the penny pitch are taking on increasing importance for an organization that distributes fund to 20 area non-profits.
“The need is even greater than usual because of the economy and the impact on the pledge payroll,” she said.
United Way raised $249,500 last year, just short of its goal of $250,000. This year the organization hopes to raise $300,000, Timpany said.
Hevia expects as many as 190 players will pay $10 apiece for a chance to get their name added to the penny pitch trophy that sits at Kane’s Restaurant on East Main Street. Last year, 140 registered for the penny pitch.
No training or special skills are needed to advance in the single-elimination tournament, according to the organizer.
“Anybody can do it. In the first year a 10-year-old boy came in fourth. He beat me in the third round,” said Hevia, who said he’s been pitching pennies for five decades now.
The object of the game is to throw a penny and have it land as near as possible to a wall. Hevia said a perfect shot is called “leaner,” a rare feat that occurs when the coin stands on its edge and leans against the wall.
“I’ve seen that less than 20 times in 52 years,” he said.
Teams with up to six members will be formed for the KNCO and Kane’s United Way fundraiser. Hevia said those who register as individuals will be assigned to a team.
“We’ll do a lot of mixing and matching,” he said of the teams.
Once the competition starts around 1 p.m. the contestants will keep tossing coins until there is a winner. Each player will get three pennies to toss and the one that lands closest to the wall belongs to the winner of that round.
“In the end, we’ll be picking up 3,000 pennies from the sidewalk,” Hevia said.