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Posted July 23, 2009 | Copyright © The Northern Virginia Daily
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Cornhole is becoming a summer backyard favorite

Tim Day and Phil Chaloux play a round of cornhole
Tim Day, left, and his brother-in-law Phil Chaloux play a round of cornhole on the Days' Bridgemount Farm in Mt. Jackson. Rich Cooley/Daily

Day sights in his target
Day sights in his target for a cornhole game. Rich Cooley/Daily


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Harold wrote:

We play a game called 'washers" with two woden boxes with pcv pipe in the middle. Teams of two take turns tossing t ... Read more


By Preston Knight -- pknight@nvdaily.com

MT. JACKSON -- The measuring sticks for whether an outdoor family game has staying power encompass a select few.

First and foremost, the game needs to provide opportunities for achievement for people of all ages, leveling the playing field. Next, it should require little assembly, for convenience sake. And, finally, a competition demanding only a few participants always proves beneficial.

As popular games such as horseshoes, bocce ball and Wiffle ball have become mainstays in people's backyards, one "new" game is making a late charge to become king: cornhole, also known as bags, tailgate toss, corn toss and an array of other names.

The game is new only in its growing prominence at barbecues, football tailgates and other events. According to the American Cornhole Association, the game may have originated in Germany in the 1500s and was rediscovered in the hills of Kentucky more than 100 years ago.

The fact that the association exists is testimony to the popularity of the game. Add in a YouTube song, "The Cornhole song," that has more than 430,000 views, and you can begin to surmise that the pastime has some momentum in becoming commonplace.

And cornhole measures up as an acceptable family backyard game -- teams of two, or single players, toss small, one-pound bags of corn like a softball about 30 feet toward a sloped wooden platform on the ground, earning three points for making it into a hole cut in the board or one point for getting the bag to rest on the board. The first team to 21 wins. The distance, of course, can be shortened for younger players.

"It doesn't take up a whole lot of space," said Tim Day, the manager of Maize Quest, which began offering the game last fall to people visiting the maze. "I just put [the boards] in the truck."

As a tourist attraction, Maize Quest welcomes visitors from many places. And as an expert in building corn mazes, Day, who is helping construct 30 mazes this year, travels to numerous states. Cornhole, he said, is familiar to as many people as it is foreign to others.

"A lot of people want to know if we came up with the game," he said.

Day, in fact, only heard of it last year, when a friend introduced him to it. In his highly competitive family -- with some friends, they have rented a minor league stadium and played baseball there for the last eight or nine years -- the game was an instant hit. Maize Quest then began offering it as a supplement to the maze itself, with enough boards to have four games going at once.

"You get a lot of people who've never seen it before," Day said, "and you get a lot of people who do it all the time. You can tell they do it quite a bit."

Students at Christendom College, according to its Web site, play cornhole tournaments and have special "days" of competition for the game. It can also almost be counted on as a guaranteed sight at a football tailgate.

Stores, in turn, are catching on. A Virginia Tech-painted set, for example, was found for $99 at Bed, Bath & Beyond recently.

But it's much cheaper to build one on your own, Day said.

For $50, which pays for a sheet of plywood, two 2-by-4s and the bags, you should be able to make two cornhole game sets.

Day found bags made of duck cloth -- and filled with the requisite corn -- for $1 online. Eight bags are needed for a game -- a team member tosses four each turn -- but you could get by with fewer if one broke.

The cornhole association's sales pitch as to why cornhole is the premiere backyard game is detailed: "Horseshoes require a sand pit and are hard for the kids to pitch, lawn darts require a lawn and hasn't been seen since the 70s, ring toss was made for children and bean bags are for wimps; Cornhole is the game for everyone!" according to its Web site.

Day does not go that far in endorsing the game, but he's almost always primed for a competitive match, and looks forward to offering it, and possibly weekly tournaments, at Maize Quest again beginning in mid-September.

"We've worn out the bags," he said.

For more information, visit the association's Web site at www.playcornhole.org.

1 Comment | Leave a comment

    We play a game called 'washers" with two woden boxes with pcv pipe in the middle. Teams of two take turns tossing three metal colored washers , one point for in the box, three points for in the pipe. Your opponet can cancel out your points by landing one of their washers in the box. 15 points wins.

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