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Three people playing cornhole

About Cornhole

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Cornhole is a game with a rather mysterious history, but a very bright and fast-growing future. Pastimes which involve tossing bags, horseshoes, discs or other light objects at a target or into a hole are enormous in number and variety. Many pub games have developed on this principle, and you could even say there is a relationship to boules or petanque.

Some people claim Cornhole dates back to Germany in the 14th century, but it is more likely the modern game has its roots in the mid-west United States. Whether it was native Americans tossing pigs bladders filled with dried beans or farmers seeking some amusement at the end of a hard day is impossible to say.

It is clear, however, that cornhole, cornboard, corn Toss or baggo, as it is sometimes called, really raised its profile in the 1990s in Ohio, Indiana and Illinois where it has become hugely popular at barbecues and tailgate parties. The typical scenario would see a group of friends arriving at the ball game in SUVs and pick-ups. The grill is set up, closely followed by the Cornhole boards, a few cans are opened and play begins.

Regular tournaments are held all over the States and a timetable of events can be found on the American Cornhole Association website. The newly formed UK Cornhole Association now aims to fulfil a similar role here.

One of the great attractions of cornhole is that it can be regarded as a totally inclusive activity. People with impaired movement or learning difficulties can enjoy the game as much as anyone else. The throwing distance can be varied so that everyone can compete on an equal basis.

Like most popular social games, cornhole has developed its own terminology. For example, a bag that flies straight into the hole is an airmail or a swish. One that hits the board first before dropping is a slider. A Galbraith is when a player gets all four bags into the hole, while a Leprechaun refers to all four on the board but none in the hole. Like all great games the concept, rules and even the equipment for cornhole are fundamentally simple, but the game remains hugely enjoyable and endlessly challenging.

Five coloured cornhole boards
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