Residents of rural Sullivan County know the often cold, bleak winter months are made more bareable by tossing fire hose gaskets.
The month of January heralds the beginning of another season of the local "ring toss league" - an unusual pub game popular in the area since the 1970s.
Since 2006, when three members passed away from cancer, the league has held a fundraising tournament.
This year's tournament and raffle took place on a Sunday afternoon in late February at American Legion Post 601 in Sonestown.
The fundraisers have supported a number of causes over the years, but the funds raised this year will go to assist the needy in the area, said league President Kelly Johnson, of Forksville.
"We'll help anybody in the county who needs it," Johnson said. "Like when (someone) is sick and in the hospital ... With the price of gas, traveling back and forth, it gets quite costly."
The fundraiser last month drew 16 teams with three players each who competed in an afternoon-long tournament.
Each team donated items for the raffle with an eclectic assortment of gift and food baskets, fishing poles and more practical items, like pliers and Turtle Wax.
In league play, teams compete in dual matches on Tuesday nights. A match consists of three games, and each game has seven innings.
A player shoots five rings per inning, and the shooter who scores the lowest each game is dropped from the team total.
This year, the league has eight teams of six players each, with the Dushore, Forksville and Sonestown Legion posts each hosting two teams. The others were based at The Barn in Eagles Mere and the Birch Creek Tavern in Mildred.
Although secretary/treasurer Rick Martz, of Nordmont, has league records dating back to the mid-1990s, the first players of Sullivan County league are largely unknown.
Charlie and Carol Schrader, of Mildred, began playing in the late 1970s at Mary's Wonderbar, now closed and are thought to be the longest playing league veterans.
Ring toss already was popular in the area when they took up the game.
"Once you get started you won't stop," said Charlie. "It's a stupid game, but it's fun. It's a good senior citizens' game."
"It's good for all ages," added Martz. "Years ago I was in the top five (scorers). Now I'm in the bottom five."
It is thought that the first boards were English-made and purchased from Sugarman's Market in Wilkes-Barre, but none are factory-made today.
Martz builds the circular, 13-hook boards by hand to a consistent pattern and sells about 30 a year for $55 each, he said.
He has shipped the boards to Brazil and addresses all over the United States along with packets explaining the game's rules.
The rings tossed during the games are fire hose gaskets, which Martz said he buys "by the hundreds"
Players use a number of tossing methods to get their rings onto the hooks nine feet away.
Some throw underhand, and some use a Frisbee-like wrist flick, but the prevalent style is similar to throwing a dart, where one uses the thumb and forefinger to shoot the rings at the board without any end-over-end rotation.
Ringing five 13s-a perfect inning-is one of the game's hardest feats.
"I've been playing ten years and I just rung five 13s this year," said Jedediah Miller, of Benton. "A lot of people have never done it."
"It's a unique and unskilled game," said Johnson.
"We have a good time with everyone getting together," added Martz.