What started as a children’s game on the West side of Cincinnati has caught-on like wildfire across the U.S. Attracting players of all ages for friendly backyard fun, the game of cornhole is now international in scope and high-level competitions are taken very seriously by those who rise to that level of competition. The game has attracted so much interest that various organizations are now utilizing cornhole as a fund raiser. Such was the case Saturday the 11th at the Train Shed for the Fourth Annual River Region Amateur Cornhole Classic to benefit the Boys and Girls Ranches of Alabama.

World class player Greg Howard of Cedar Town, Georgia, provided all the cornhole target boards for the classic again this year and says that the game “is sort of like throwing horseshoes, mixed with skeeball and bocce ball, but with corn bags and target boards.” The game looks like it can be addictive, and most people don’t want to stop playing once they’ve started. Player Lori Schmacker of Montgomery explains that the target boards measure 2 feet by 4 feet, and they slope upward so the rear of the board is 12 inches off the ground. The front of the board is about three inches above the ground. A six-inch diameter hole is situated near the back of the board, away from the player.

“The goal is to toss the one-pound, 6-inch square bags filled with shelled corn into the hole,” Lori says. “Two boards are used in the game, which are placed 30 feet across from each other. Teams of two compete with four corn bags per person, and the first team to score 21 points wins the game.” Lori also pointed out that the bags have a smooth side and a rough side, which is used in cornhole strategy. Members of the Willoughby Bags of Fire and Willoughby Sand Bagger teams explained that scoring in cornhole is simple. It was also the Willoughby teams’ first big competition. The teams are sponsored by Willoughby Roofing in Prattville. If a player’s bag lands on the board and stays there, that’s one point. A bag tossed into the hole counts three points. There is also offensive and defensive strategy involved. Willoughby team members include Tammitha Prince, Susan Rhodes, Lacey Belk, Brian Belk, C.T. Prince, and Brittany Prince.

The bags themselves have a rough side and a smooth side. The rough side helps the bag to stay put on the board, but the smooth side will allow the bag to slide on the board and possibly go into the hole, or it may slide into an opponent’s bag and knock it off the board, in which case the opponent losses one point. Some players try to toss the bag directly in front of the hole. That way, an opponent cannot get their bag into the hole without perhaps knocking your bag into the hole as well. If it does, that’s three points for you.

When the event was over, Brandon and Austin Scott from Deatsville won the grand prize of two nights and two rooms at the Perdido Beach Resort. The two hundred or so players who participated and the Boys and Girls Ranches of Alabama wish to express their thanks to the sponsors who supported the event, including Food and Beverage sponsors Chappy’s Deli, Eastside Grille, Full Moon BBQ, Peppertree Steaks and Wine, Bibb St. Pizzeria, Bama Budweiser, and Coca-Cola United. Event sponsors included Reinhardt Lexus of Montgomery, Reinhardt Toyota of Montgomery, Safellite, Acme Tile & Stone, Ira Kufferburg, and the Alabama Sheriffs Association. Court sponsors were Beneficial Planners, Parrothead Clubs of America, Bo Evans Realty, Willoughby Roofing Co., Blue Water Broadcasting, and Robco A/C. Additional prizes for 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place were provided by Sinclair’s East, Texas Road House, and Full Moon BBQ.

Roman Rauccio, Lori Ables Johns, and Christine Cline were on hand representing the Boys and Girls Ranches of Alabama. Johns reminds everyone that since 1966, the ranches have been home to more than 5,000 youth. The ranches are now located in Baldwin, Colbert, St. Clair, and Tallapoosa counties, and they operate on the kind support from corporate and private donations, and from fund-raising events such as the Cornhole Classic. You can find out more about the Boys and Girls Ranches of Alabama by calling the administrative office in Montgomery at 334 213-2071.

Contributing Writer