‘Cereal-Bowl’ tournament charity bracket benefits Rochester food pantry

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The “Cereal Bowl MMXXII” is the third of the “Head2Head” matchups for charity.

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — It’s the playoffs. For cereal… And for charity. Johanna Lester has organized another “silly” tournament with the Instagram handle “head2headmadness.” The Cereal-Bowl MXXII (2022) is the latest in a series of tourney-style brackets that aim to find out which is best, all for charity. The name of course comes from the Super Bowl, even if it more resembles another kind of March basketball tournament.

Participants from the community, along with significant input from Lester and her co-organizer Matt Cook, came up with the for cereal after seeing the fierce debate that sparked from their previous brackets of “Best Celebrity Eyebrows” and “Best Celebrity Moustaches.” These started in 2020, which at the time was mostly a welcome distraction, but now it’s evolved into a charity endeavor.

Their second head to head matchup — the one for the moustaches, the winner of which was bass-voiced cowboy Sam Elliot — were also for charity, as the competition raised hundreds of dollars for Gilda’s Club of Rochester. They’re looking to raise $600 for the People’s Pantry in the South Wedge.

“It’s very silly; it’s so silly,” she said. “We thought moustaches and eyebrows were silly. And now that we’re sort of knee deep into cereal, it’s becoming an even greater depths of lunacy. We’re plumbing (the depths) but it’s also super fun.”

But getting to a small number of cereals to vote was no easy task. When Lester and Cook came up with this idea, they went on the Wegmans, only to find that there over 250 kinds of cereal available at the grocery store chain alone. They had to rank a most of them based on criteria that included, but wasn’t limited to:

“Like how it tastes in milk, how it tastes dry, brand, identity, durability, ‘eat-ability,’ do you want to have another bowl,” Lester said. And from those categories:

“So we did a few play-in rounds… And we started with 38 winnowed it down to 32,” Lester said. “Then we built the bracket so we randomized all the cereals using a randomizer app to give them seeds within the regions, and that we built the bracket.”

But, not every cereal is made equal; so from those final 32, Lester and Cook broke them down into categories: Fruity and Frosted, Chocolate/Cinnamon/Honey, Healthy, and Heallthy-ish, each with 8 in category.

While the initial round of bracket submissions and donations are over, you can donate any time by following the Venmo link on the Instagram page. You can also see the full brackets, as well as voting in the competition through Instagram Story’s poll function. There you can also see the winner, which will be unveiled the week of February 13.

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