Pisgah drawdown breaks record

·7 min read

Jul. 1—Pisgah's drawdown, a staple of sports and culture in Canton, raised nearly $59,000 in gross receipts, a record for the annual fundraiser hosted by the Pisgah Booster Club on May 14.

"[The drawdown] is one of the social highlights of the year for the Canton community," said Pisgah Booster Club President Mark Pinkston.

PHOTO GALLERY: Pisgah Booster Club Drawdown 2022

Before the event, the booster club sells 300 tickets for $100 each. Tickets give the purchaser a steak dinner for two and a chance to win various prizes at the event.

"This year we had door prizes, a silent auction, raffles and live auction items that were donated like a golf package," Pinkston said, in addition to donations made by guests throughout the night.

The grand prize winner of the drawdown took home $5,000 this year.

The money raised in the drawdown supports boys' and girls' athletic programs at Pisgah High School by building up the booster club's general fund.

The school will often request help with events, and that's where the boosters come in, Pinkston said.

"We evaluate all requests, and try to have the money go toward capital improvements and expenditures that will get multiple years of use," he said. "We do other things as well. For state championship teams, we contribute to honoring those championship teams. We sometimes help with transportation of our teams to playoff games through chartering buses."

Pinkston said the booster club currently has about $100,000 in the bank.

"This is our primary fundraiser. It puts us in a really good place," he said, adding that much of that money is already budgeted toward certain projects.

"We lost all of our outdoor athletic fields. There will inherently be some expenditures to make to help facilitate putting those fields where we want them to be," he said.

Pinkston is referring to the devastating floods that wreaked havoc on ball fields in Canton in August 2021, including the football field at Memorial Stadium as well as the baseball and softball fields.

SEE ALSO: Floods devastate Pisgah's athletic facilities

In the end, Pinkston said the booster club is just trying to be mindful with the community's money.

"We make sure we're spending where we have to, but if we're not spending money, we're not doing anything," he added. "The community getting around this drawdown was a big deal."

Learning from the pandemic

Pinkston said the event attendance waned during the Covid-19 pandemic.

"In the past, we didn't have quite as many people that would show up to the actual event," he said. "We would have a good showing but it wouldn't be as much as it is now."

Pinkston estimated over 400 people attended the drawdown this year, one he believes it was the best event yet.

"We learned some lessons about how to streamline the event for the patrons," Pinkston said.

One of the problems the boosters dealth with in previous years was that serving food to guests took too long. This year, however, the serving went off without a hitch.

"We learned some lessons in serving. It was brought on by navigating pandemic restrictions," he said.

The booster club also offered an outside seating area that gave patrons a view through the windows and had audio wired so they could hear the drawings.

"It worked well and I think spreading people out made the whole thing flow better," he said.

Generous community

Heading into the event, Pinkston said he was worried about having enough prizes to give out, especially with record inflation affecting the country.

"We had people who stepped up to the plate. We ended up having more than we've ever had, particularly in this economy," he said, noting that they were all really good items.

Another downside to rising supply costs nationwide was that the drawdown cost more than ever to host this year.

"It cost us about $18,000 in costs and that includes prizes and supplies," Pinkston said. "We still had a record year, though, in that our profit was little north of $40,500."

Despite the costs and the rough economy, Pinkston said the community's generosity made the drawdown successful.

Pinkston said they received enough door prizes from local businesses and individuals to give one to every other person who walked through the door.

"Because of the generosity of people and businesses, we were able to have a door prize for every other ticket. A lot of people got to leave winning something. It makes the night enjoyable. It made for what some said was the best one they ever attended," he said.

Scholarships

At each drawdown, the booster club awards two scholarships for athletes, one for males and one for females.

Senior Bailey Stockton was awarded the male scholarship for $1,000.

Stockton played football and was a back-to-back Mountain 7 3A Conference Defensive Player of the Year.

SEE ALSO: Pisgah football wins WNC Sports Award

Senior Jade Green was awarded the female scholarship for $1,000.

Green played tennis for the Bears and will attend Western Carolina University in the fall.

Choosing the winners "was a very hard decision, as always," Pinkston said.

Cline Service Award

Another annual tradition is the presentation of the Cline Service Award, "given to individuals who have, over many years, contributed to Pisgah High School athletics through dedicated service and commitment," the plaque reads.

The award is named in honor of Dr. Albert Cline Jr., who was the first recipient in 2013.

A Canton High School graduate, Cline was a practicing dentist in Canton for many years.

He was a member of the Town of Canton Recreation Commission and was a founding charter member of the Pisgah High School Activities Committee, among many other pursuits.

Cline passed away in 2020 at the age of 92.

SEE ALSO: Dr. Albert Purcell Cline, Jr. (1928 — 2020)

The 2022 recipient was Cyrena Goodwin.

Goodwin was in education for over 30 years in Haywood County.

She was named Pisgah Teacher of the Year in 2011-2012, and EC Teacher of Excellence in 2008.

Goodwin also coached several teams in the area.

Even after she retired from her teaching and coaching duties, "she still finds herself leading the pack with high school Exceptional Children, and this spring even helped the Bethel Middle School Softball Team," said Heidi Morgan, Pisgah athletic director.

In addition to being a loyal Pisgah community member, she helped the drawdown run smoothly.

"Not many people, after retirement, would come back year after year to help their alma mater fundraise for their athletics, but that's the thing about Cyrena, she stays involved and extremely loyal to her school, softball and her community," Morgan said.

Morgan played softball under Goodwin from 1998-2002.

"I know that seems like many years ago, but I learned many lessons from Coach Goodwin, not just about the game of softball but also about life. She taught all of us how to be strong softball players, but most importantly how to be strong women, to stand up for ourselves and to believe that we have the power to change the future. I attribute much of my success today to her strong leadership over the years," she said.

Supporting Pisgah

The Pisgah Booster Club offers a loyalty program for community members to give to the school and its athletic programs.

The current target for funding is the high school's weight room.

Funds will repair or replace equipment that is nearly 25 years old, some of which is beyond repair, Pinkston said.

Pinkston said roughly $80,000 is needed to complete the project.

The booster club has pledged $25,000 toward the project and needs community members to help contribute.

The loyalty program offers four tiers: Loyalty Sponsor ($5,000), Strong Sponsor ($2,500), True Sponsor ($500) and Red and Black Sponsor ($100).

Each tier offers incentives ranging from a Pisgah booster hat, the donor's name on the donor board, the donor's name engraved on a power rack in the weight room and more.

For more information about the loyalty program, contact Heidi Morgan at hemorgan@haywood.k12.nc.us.