The next great Olympic sport? It could be cornhole

Kenny Mayne calls The Ocho to get some clutch cornhole action. (1:27). The viral video of a BABYBEL CHEESEMAKER was posted on YouTube Taco Bell manager received her own trading card. Television made a chemical engineer a regular. Doug Flutie's Batmobile was restored by a former bread truck driver. Two long-time friends fell in love. It's cornhole. Rosie Streker stated, "I certainly fell in love with cornhole which is kinda goofy." "But cornhole, it's such a huge part of our lives -- it truly is our life." Cornhole basics: How do you play? Cornhole scoring doesn't differ from many other backyard, park, or camping games. The American Cornhole League says: SCORING Bag on board = 1 point Bag through hole = 3 points Bags that land on the ground and do not go into the hole or onto the board are not counted. Bags that are not attached to the board or touching the ground do not count. Only 1 point is awarded for each bag that remains in the hole. At the end of each round, cancellation scoring is used. After eight bags have been thrown the score is calculated using the bags that are still on the board but have not gone into the hole. If Team A has 4 points while Team B has 3, Team A will receive 1 point. A game is played up to 21+ For going beyond 21, there is no win-by-two or bust rule. Cornhole is more than a game for the Strekers and many others. It can make complete strangers friends. Friends can become family. Davis, Rosie's husband said that he has thousands of friends who know each other by their first names from all parts of the country because of this game. "A common space for many people with different backgrounds, ages, and skills who would never have met otherwise. This network of friends has become an exponential resource for many. Cornhole was a pastime of bag-tossing five years ago. It was confined to backyard cookouts and church festivals, as well as state fairs. Stacey Moore, an entrepreneur, saw the potential for so many more as she scanned the cornhole boards that were scattered around the parking lots near NC State football games. Moore stated that cornhole is very social. Anyone who enjoys socializing and meeting new people will gravitate towards it. "But, people wanted cornhole to be taken more seriously than other tailgating games. "I was convinced that it could be elevated to a legitimate business opportunity, and a legit sport." Moore created the American Cornhole League in 2016. It had 10,000 players at its beginning, with a few hundred tournaments, and a total prize pool of $50,000. The ACL has more than 100,000 registered players. They host approximately 25,000 tournaments each season. Due to sponsorship deals with brands like Johnsonville, Bush Beans, and most recently DraftKings, the ACL has seen its annual payouts rise to $500,000 and is now offering live betting lines for cornhole matches. ACL tournaments aired on ESPN last summer for seven weeks consecutively, totaling 28 hours. They occupied airtime that was not available to the major sports leagues, which had suspended their seasons due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Friday's ACL world championship in Rock Hill (South Carolina) will be broadcast live on ESPN2 in prime time. It is the culmination of fifth annual ESPN8. The Ocho day. The film was inspired by 2004 hit movie "Dodgeball" (earlier in day, ESPN2 would carry championship competitions in everything, from arm wrestling to air guitar to Putt Putt and pinball). But cornhole's underdog story may not be overshadowed by its growing popularity among both those who watch and those who participate. Moore predicts that cornhole will be able to compete in the Olympics within the next ten years. Moore admitted that it was a very ambitious goal and probably only a small percentage of succeeding. However, Moore is optimistic about the timeline. "But if I had been told five years ago that we would be where we are today and grow the way that we have, that would have been a very low percentage." Daymon Dennis, an ex-cheesemaker, was a viral sensation after calling his shot. American Cornhole League TREY RYDER is THE voice of cornhole and idolizes Kirk Herbstreit. Jeff McCarragher refers to Ryder, his broadcasting partner as "cornhole's Tony Romo" because Ryder is able to accurately predict the location of a bag and explain why it should land where it does. Ryder uses a telestrator as a way to emphasize his point. Ryan Smith, who was a defensive back at James Madison and is now a top pro in the ACL, said that it is strange to hear someone else on the broadcast telling you what you're doing. "But that's a man who loves his job and puts so much effort into it. Ryder, who has been playing cornhole since highschool a decade ago with his father Eric at a minor league game in Charlotte, discovered it. "Cornhole can be a very easy game to master. It's also very, very difficult for anyone to be great at it. Trey Ryder, cornhole TV analyst "We got taught a lesson real quick," Ryder said. "Cornhole can be a very easy game to master. It's also very difficult to be great at. We got our feet firmly on the ground. They continued to play in local tournaments together until Ryder left for Clemson to study chemical engineer. Moore, Eric and Ryder had both founded the ACL by the time Ryder graduated. Ryder admitted that he was skeptical about the budding league. "But my father kept telling me, this is going to make a difference. 2017 was the first year that ESPN started airing cornhole. This meant that the ACL needed commentators who were familiar with the game. Ryder, who was naturally shy, had worked as a teacher's aid in a physics undergraduate class. Ryder auditioned and taped a three-minute pitch via his phone with the help of his father. He was soon calling national cornhole tournaments on television a month later. Ryder, now 26, said, "Yeah I was scared you know-what-less." "But I got rolling once I got into the tournaments, because I was just discussing what I knew." Ryder, whose family and friends signed a cornhole board at his wedding instead of signing a guestbook, is a good player of cornhole. He is constantly updating the sport's vocabulary as new strategies and shots are developed. Ryder has used phrases such as "bully bag" or "V-block" to keep the sport's lexicon current. His most memorable call was Daymon Dennis' "And-1", as Ryder called it. It is somewhere in between Babe Ruth calling his shot and the Immaculate Reception. Dennis announced on television two years ago that he would bump another bag off the backboard while sliding his own bag through the hole. It seemed impossible. Dennis then converted it. He finally understood what viral meant in his 50s. Dennis said, "Good grief, they still refer to it today," and had to remind everyone that he didn’t win the match. "I hear people saying, "Throw that Daymon Dennis shot. "... and-1 this thing." Dennis was employed at the Babybel factory, Kentucky for 27 years. He eventually rose to the position of head cheesemaker. His primary job was to concoct the mini wheels in red wax, which can be found in almost every grocery store. The plant hosted a cornhole tournament about halfway through Dennis's tenure. This was to raise money for a coworker with leukemia. Dennis was hooked immediately. He's now the No. He is the No. 1 cornhole player worldwide. Dennis is quick to point that he's not the best player in Kentucky. Dennis stated that Matt Guy is the Tiger Woods in cornhole. It is almost impossible to match that dude bag-for-bag. He is the greatest cornhole player ever." Play 0:16 This man sinks a cornhole shot starting at how long. This cornhole shot is perfect from 126 feet away. Guy was raised playing horseshoes in Bluegrass State and even participated in national tournaments. He saw a sign advertising a cornhole tournament while driving around Cincinnati in a bread truck two decades ago. Guy would also become addicted -- to the extent that he would search for tournaments along his route, tournaments in Florida, and tournaments to drive home on family vacations. He said that he was "basically winning enough money on this trip" to "pay for the trip." Guy has participated in over 2,000 tournaments. He teamed up this year with Doug Flutie, an ex-NFL quarterback, to win a celebrity match. This included DeVonta Smith from Alabama and Mac Jones from Tennessee, both of whom were first-round draft picks. Guy also managed to get Flutie's Batmobile back on the road. Guy's favorite doubles partner is his son Bret. After years of watching him play, he finally joined his dad at 15. Bret said, "We're only father-son team at the world championships," and that he keeps a car for their cornhole road trips. It doesn't get much better than that. The ACL was preparing for a tournament at Cleveland in March 2020, when COVID-19 became a reality in America. Rudy Gobert was positive for COVID-19 before he played in an NBA game. This set off a chain reaction of sports cancellations. This included the ACL. The ACL was able, partly because cornhole is a socially distant sport, to resume play two months later. The country was shut down, allowing cornhole to continue to grow in many other ways. This opened up the possibility for new players to enter the pro circuit. Eian Cripps was one of those who could practice while his school was closed in Ruston, Louisiana. Cripps is now the youngest ACL pro. Eian Cripps, 11, is on the pro-cornhole circuit. American Cornhole League It also included Sarah Cassidy. Cassidy played cornhole with her high school friends on Florida's beaches. She lost hours managing a Taco Bell when she found herself losing her job. So she took up cornhole again. Cassidy stated, "Nobody knew my name. Nobody knew who I was." "I just showed up." Cassidy won the women's singles title and also won a doubles title with Cheyenne Renner. Topps made a Cassidy trading cards, which are still in high demand. Ryder said that players come from all walks and have unique stories. Ryder was a son of a man whose father had esophageal cancer and returned to Ryder's first broadcast following the outbreak. It's the game's relatability that makes it so popular. Moore now wants to export this relatability overseas. Sarah Cassidy discovered the sport during the pandemic. American Cornhole League He hopes to increase the number of players in 50 countries over the next five-years. Moore admits that this goal is ambitious. Moore was also the one to secure cornhole's first major sponsorship. He randomly messaged companies via LinkedIn. Only the Johnsonville marketing rep replied; the word "cornhole", had piqued Moore's interest. Moore stated that it will ultimately come down to ensuring enough countries play competitively in order to have an international contest at the Olympics. "But I feel that our success on television gives us an advantage in terms of how quickly we can do it." CORNHOLE MAY NOT HAVE THE OLYMPICS YET. It does however have a love story. Davis Streker surprised his sister for her birthday a decade ago with Jack Johnson concert tickets. He couldn't resist this tailgating experience he had never seen before. He said, "The concert was still going on, so we stayed out there in the parking lot to play cornhole because it was my favorite game." "I couldn't stop." Rosie (far left), fell in love while playing cornhole with Davis (far right). The Streker family Rosie would enjoy a similar experience at a Miami Dolphins tailgate. Through cornhole, they became closer. It was initially bringing bags and boards to coed softball games. It eventually began to travel together to cornhole tournaments. As a joke, their friends started calling them a couple. The two would then always reply that they were just cornhole partners. Both realized that they wanted more. Davis said that she realized Davis was special after one sunset on the beach. "I was like, What better woman could you imagine being with?" The wedding reception was transformed into a huge cornhole tournament in the park. There was barbecue and beer, as well as dozens of other people who wanted to join them. The wedding koozies featured the phrase "Not just cornhole partners." The Strekers now have three children, and their immediate family has grown to include two more. After graduating from Florida State, Emory Parker moved to the area and was looking for friends. He decided to join the Strekers' cornhole team. Davis and Rosie invited Parker to live in a room that they had left vacant while he looked for a permanent place to call home. Their home became a permanent residence. Parker said that Davis and Parker were "two of the most amazing people I have ever met." "Never met two people so perfect for each other as they." Parker left the Cayman Islands two years later for work. He couldn't stay. He missed cornhole. He also missed his cornhole family even more. Parker returned to Florida and won the 2019 world doubles title alongside Matthew Sorrells. Matthew had been with Parker while he was living with the Strekers. Rosie stated, "That's what cornhole is all about." It gives people that feeling of community. It's like having a family. It's our family."

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