Cornhole has gone mainstream. You can't walk a block on Folly Beach or Sullivan's Island these days without seeing some gaggle of dudes and their bikini-clad partners shamelessly showing off their cornholing skills right out there in front of everybody.
When cornholing makes the news in South Carolina, it tends to be more about a man and a horse than a beanbag toss, but that's all about to change. The American Cornhole Organization (ACO) is taking the sport to the next level with big money national tournaments. There's even a film coming out this year, Cornhole: The Movie, in the same vein as the Vince Vaughn-led Dodgeball.
The cornhole premise is simple: Toss a beanbag, er, cornbag at a board with a hole in it. Land on the board, you get one point. Land in the hole, you get three. Four tosses each turn, per player, or team of two, and first one to 21 wins.
It's quintessential beer-drinking fun, but with the wrap-the-saggy-nuts-around-the-railing game quickly gaining momentum, cornhole enthusiasts knew it was time to organize.
The ACO ranks cornhole players nationally, and the Palmetto State's Jason Schwab, a high school math teacher in Newberry, currently sits 16th in the U.S. standings. Although Schwab has reached as high as number five in the national ranks, he's limited by living in South Carolina. In Cincinnati, where cornholing was created and remains a favorite pastime, the pros get constant practice. Schwab simply doesn't have enough partners.
"It's hard to motivate yourself to go out and throw by yourself. Two years ago, I did it all the time, but I kind of got burnt out from it, especially since I was still able to finish near the top in most tournaments I played in," says Schwab. "Today, the competition is getting tougher and tougher, so I'm going to need to light a fire under myself."
Schwab began a cornhole club at his school and recruited more than 100 students to participate. He wears his pro jersey on cornhole days, and his kids love hearing about his successes at tournaments.
Schwab suggests folks skip the plastic imposters and make a homemade set of boards out of plywood. And then, of course, adorn them with a tiger paw, an angry cock, or any other logo of your choice — even a frikkin' buckeye. Schwab also recommends "starting with at least one six-pack of your favorite beer." He adds, "Some people claim they play way better while drinking, so there's only one way to find out."
Most importantly, know your terminology before you toss. A "cow pie" is a bag that lands on the board (one point), while a "Drano" is a direct hit through the hole (three points). Look out for a "back door," when an opponent lands a "Drano" past a blocker "cow pie" you've left on the board. If you leave a "hanger" on the lip of the hole, you can always still knock it in or even land a "gusher" or "double deuce": four "Dranos" in one round.
With the ACO growing and competitor American Cornhole Association boasting 20,000 members, it's important that Charleston take seriously our role in the greater cornhole movement. With a steady stream of Buckeyes still migrating to our state, defeat on our own shores is hardly acceptable. Check out cornholetournaments.com for the latest pro contests around the state, grab your significant other and some confidence-lubing suds, and get to cornholing.