• Jaida Diaz

Cornhole: The Backyard Game that is Rising in Popularity



Cornhole boards are popping up everywhere you go—backyard barbeques, food truck festivals, beaches and lakes, bars, clubhouses, tailgating parties, and more. Cornhole offers a game that requires very little set-up and instruction, is portable, and people of all ages can play.

 

No one is exactly sure the true origins of cornhole, with several different stories circulating about how it came to be. One possible start to the game is Native Americans in Illinois using dried animal bladders  filled with dried beans or corn to toss for sport. Another claim of origin suggests that it was invented by Kentucky farmer Jebediah McGillicuddy. One version is that a German cabinet maker named Matthias Keupermann invented the game after seeing boys toss rocks into holes in the ground and filled burlap bags with corn and made wooden boxes with holes for the kids to use as a target. The most popular claim to fame is that t was invented in Cincinnati, Ohio where bags were filled with corn kernels and tossed into plywood holes. Some people add to this that they think it was German farmers settling in Cincinnati who brought the game to Ohio. Regardless of its origin, there is no doubt that it has taken hold across the United States.



While cornhole is the most popular name, the game is known regionally across the country as bean bag toss, tailgate toss, hilbilly toss, lawn toss, sack toss, dummy boards, baggo, bags, and bagz. The game is now played with regulation boards and fabric bean bags. It is very popular to order a customized board and matching bean bags for a player’s favorite sports team, band, or other interests. American red, white, and blue boards are also very popular.

 

The game can be played with two players against each other, or a team of two playing against another team. You can also play a version with eight players. The players throw the bean bags at a raised, angled board with a hole at the far end. The goal of the game is to score points by either landing a bag on the board (one point) or putting a bag through the hole (three points). One strategy is to throw your bag at the board in an effort to knock off a competitors bag. When throwing the bags, players cannot step past the foul line or else the throw does not count.


Cornhole has become so popular that the American Cornhole Organization’s World Championships of Cornhole X has aired on ESPN, receiving a large viewing audience. For more information on how to play, where to purchase, or how to locate a tournament, go to https://www.playcornhole.org/. An easy way to keep score for backyard tournaments is to download the app Scoreholio. You can also use the app to run leagues and tournaments, including collecting payments. The app will keep track of statistics to help you analyze games, and can also be used for other games such as darts and billards.

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