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Charity Profile: Red, White, and Bank

On Saturday, February 22, the Park Street Complex with play host to a whole new kind of 10K.

It’s the kind of 10K for everybody who isn’t getting out of bed at 6 a.m. to run, the people who would rather measure their lives in just about anything other than miles.

This 10K has absolutely nothing to do with kilometers. Believe it or not, it has all to do with beer – 10,000 of the Pabst Blue Ribbon variety, to be exact — a PBR 10K.

The premise? It’s pretty simple: gather as many people as possible in one place to drink 10,000 PBRs, all while having a great time, hearing live music from some great bands, and banking money for a good cause.

Yeah, that’s right. Each and every one of those 10,000 beers is a beer for charity. And to think, some people try to tell you that nothing good comes from a night on the town.

The masterminds behind this brilliant plan? The Parker Lee Foundation, a non-profit organization based in Columbus with the mission of improving the quality of life for disabled and disadvantaged children in the Central Ohio area.

The group, founded in 2009, is the brainchild of Kim Lee Niswander and Joshua Parker Adkins, two friends wanting to give more meaning to their weekend drinking.

After holding their own personal PBR 500 with a few buddies back in 2008, challenging themselves to consume 500 beers during that year’s Ohio State vs. Michigan game, a plan emerged to bring the event public, to get some other people in on the action, and put a philanthropic twist on their game-time fun. From there, the group’s first fundraising charity event was born: the PBR 1K, with a tab-friendly entry fee of $30.

“Our idea is that people can go out to a bar for the night and spend way more that $30,” Niswander said. “This way, you’re not spending as much, and your money is going somewhere worthwhile. It just made sense to us, having fun with our friends and generating funds for a good cause.”

After finding success with their first endeavor into the nonprofit sector, each subsequent year the stakes grew higher.

The PBR1K grew to a 2K, which grew to a 3K followed by a 4K. After holding a PBR5K and raising a sizable amount of cash for the Short Stop Youth Center in the Short North, which works with children ages 8 to 18 to advance personal growth and development, they decided to up the ante even more: double or nothing.

With five successful PBR events already behind them – they also throw Catalina Wine Mixers with Barefoot Wines, inspired by the last scene of the movie Step Brothers, as well as other events throughout the year – the guys over at the Parker Lee Foundation have a lot more in store for their latest event than bringing in an extra 5,000 beers.

From 2 p.m. to 8 p.m., a mere cover of $30 will gain you entry, which includes all-you-can-drink PBRs and some Mikey’s Late Night Slice to soak it up and keep you on your feet.

The last beer of the night, the 10,000th PBR, the holy grail, will be auctioned off to a highest bidder – it went for about $900 last year.

Live music from Barefoot Swagger, Ryan Pope Band, Bummers, Cadaver Dogs, and one TBA headliner (it’s a secret) – will play throughout the day in the Park Street Saloon, and $10 taxi vouchers will be available courtesy of Central Ohio Safe Ride.

While finishing 10,000 PBRs among any number of people would surely garner some universal bragging rights, the event isn’t just about breaking some kind of record. Just like any 10K, it’s not all about the finish line. It’s about getting out there and making stuff happen.

“We don’t want to make it all about finishing 10,000 beers,” Niswander said. “If we don’t reach 10,000, the event isn’t going to be a failure. The goal is really about the profits being raised, which are going to be worthwhile whether the 10,000-beer goal is reached or not. Primarily, the big thing is for people to go out to a charity event, do their part, and have fun.” •

For more information on the PBR10K and the Parker Lee Foundation, visit www.parkerleefoundation.org. For more on upcoming PBR events, follow @pabstohio on Instagram and Twitter.