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Some people run marathons or 5Ks in the name of charity. Not Neil Stough and his friends. They prefer a more laid back (but just as competitive) method of supporting a good cause.

With that thought in mind, the Emigsville man and a bunch of friends hatched a frothy festival a few years back: the York Beer'Lympics.

"We saw it as an untapped resource," Stough said of the unusual way to raise money for charity.

The brew fest, complete with various drinking games, started with just his friends. Now in its fourth year, the beer-drinkers version of the Olympics has grown to include 12 teams of four members.

It has raised about $4,500 for charities.

The latest version of the games kicks off in July, and there are still openings for teams.

The games: Just like the Olympics, York's drinking version tests competitors in six different talents.

Standard drinking games include beer pong and flip cup, and there's a beer can toss and an obstacle course.

Then there's the three-legged bartender.

Harkening back to the children's game the three-legged race, two team members have two of their legs tied together and must navigate an obstacle course to deliver cups of beer to their team members. The team with the quickest time wins.

Winners of each game and the overall winning team receive handmade medals Stough made from the bottoms of beer cans.

Each team member is clad in a unique uniform, and teams have names such as the Chuggernauts and 2 Live Brew, a play on the 1980s hip-hop group 2 Live Crew, Stough said.

"It's a great time and it definitely evolved over the years," he said.

Charity: All money raised during the Beer'Lympics goes to charity.

During the first and second years the games were held, money was donated to an organization for autistic children and the York County SPCA, respectively.

Last year, it raised $2,800 for the Pennsylvania Veterans Foundation. Money from this year's event will also be donated to that organization, said Ryan Griffin, an organizer and Marine veteran.

Though a beer-drinking contest can raise eyebrows among some members of the community, Stough and Griffin said they take steps to keep the atmosphere calm and safe.

Participants must have a designated driver, and there are safeguards in place to make sure someone hasn't overdone it during competition, Stough said.

"Everyone's in good spirits. It doesn't get out of hand at all," Griffin said. "We just go and have fun."

The York Beer'Lympics will be held at 3561 Liverpool Turnpike in Emigsville starting at noon on Saturday, July 18. Registration starts at 11 a.m.

The cost is $40 per team, and all money goes to the Pennsylvania Veterans Foundation.

Spectators are welcome.

For more information or to register, go to yorkbeerlympics.webs.com.

— Reach Greg Gross at ggross@yorkdispatch.com.

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