Businesses have a field day

With the Wichita Corporate Challenge

WRITTEN BY ADAM KNAPP

Stan works in payroll. But for one day a year, he’s the quarterback of the company’s flag football team.

Human resources specialist Melissa hikes him the ball. Stan pitches it back to the running back, Phil from the stockroom, who flings it right back to Stan.

The opposing team realizes it’s a flea flicker — a trick play — but it’s too late. Stan finds a wide open receiver in the end zone (management trainee Jaci) and throws it to her for a touchdown.

If you don’t think your company can benefit from the camaraderie of competing in the Wichita Corporate Challenge, consider this: None of these employees knew one another before forming a team, assessing one another’s strengths and weaknesses, and working toward a common goal. In the process, they had fun and probably blew off a little steam.

Encouraging employee fitness is a plus, naturally, but that’s only part of it.

“It’s major bonding time for any company, no matter what the size,” said Brian Hargrove, director of events and marketing for the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission.

“If you’re teammates, you’ve building trust in one another. Once a company participates in the Corporate Challenge, they’re pretty much sold. If (accounting firms) BKD and Kennedy and Coe have an opportunity to compete against each other in anything, they’re going to do it.”

The Corporate Challenge will be held August 9–17th. It is divided into three divisions, depending on the size of the company, to level the playing field.

The Corporate Challenge events range from bowling to billiards to basketball. There’s golf, there’s volleyball, there’s softball, there are several running events — there’s even an eating contest.

A full list of the events — most of which are held at Collegiate High School at 9115 East 13th St. N. — can be found at wichitacorporatechallenge.com.

New events: Dodgeball and corn hole

The red rubber balls may be gone forever, but the sport of dodgeball has made a major comeback in recent years. It will be played on the volleyball courts at Collegiate with co-ed teams: Each match must be started with three men and three women.

Dodgeball is a double elimination tournament.

“Apparently they have official dodge balls to use now, so I bought some,” Hargrove said. “They don’t sting like they used to.”

The other new event is corn hole. You may have played this one in your own backyard. You stand 27 feet away from a target board with a hole in the middle. Toss a bean bag on the board, and you get a point. Toss it through the hole, and you get three. Each team will have one man and one woman.

“We always get feedback from the companies that compete, and these are the events that were most requested,” Hargrove said. “We don’t mind random ideas. We like to shake things up.”

If you’re thinking about entering

Keep in mind, the Corporate Challenge is not just designed for the hard-core jocks. For every strenuous event like tennis or tug or war, there’s something low-key like table tennis or miniature golf.

This is the 13th year for the Wichita Corporate Challenge. Hargrove said the event took a hit after the economic collapse of 2008, but it’s now as popular as ever.

Hargrove can be reached for any questions at 316-265-6236, or by emailing brian@wichitasports.com. He often meets with companies in person to give a video presentation.

“Some companies take it very seriously,” he said. “But mostly, it’s a chance for them to create teamwork outside the office. And who wouldn’t want to do that?”

 
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