Cornhole: From Past time to the Pros

Devyn Shea
2 min readDec 9, 2021

By: Devyn Shea

GREENVILLE - Tossing a bean bag toward a piece of plywood with a hole cut out used to be a pastime of tailgaters and backyard barbecuers. Now, this pastime turned sport can land you upwards of a quarter of a million dollars a year.

“I got into cornhole three years ago on a Carnival cruise,” says Hunt County Baggers co-director Dario Lopez Jr.

“My son and I would play every day on the cruise so when we got back I looked into teams in the area”.

Dario is now ranked in the top 60 players in the Texas Cornhole League, and has the commemorative bags to prove it.

Cornhole as a sport has risen to popularity in the last three years, with nationally recognized leagues in the ACL and TCL heading the movement.

The TCL, or Texas Cornhole League, acts as a more local league across 5 southern state that competitors can rack up point at over 400 tournaments a year, moving up divisions at one of 4 signature Series Events to qualify for the June championship.

Serious players can earn their pro card through the American Cornhole League, who has been broadcasting tournaments on ESPN since 2017, and just secured a deal with Draft Kings earlier this year that allows live gambling on games.

Colleges nationwide have competitive cornhole teams and will compete for $50,000 scholarship money in the 2021–2022 national championship over New Year’s weekend. The tournament will be broadcast by ESPN.

Locally, the sport’s numbers are exploding.

Lopez Jr. says this last fall their Hunt County Baggers team alone sported 89 couple teams attend their local tournament. The TCL is made up of 33 teams.

Kenner Miller, a Shreveport resident, drives 3 hours one-way to practice with the Hunt County Baggers Team, participating on average in four tournaments a week in his hunt to turn pro. He gives a succinct answer on why the game gripped him as a teenager.

“The competitiveness”.

Perhaps the sports most unique attribute is the allure of all ages.

“Anybody can play it and anybody can win it,”

Says 72-year-old Nona Ballard, first year competitor player in the beginner bracket with her husband, Phillip.The couple learned of the league at their local Wal-Mart when they asked a player about the jersey she was wearing.

While they like competing, they’re passionate about the camaraderie.

“What I love about it is all these young people are so good to us,”

says Phillip. “They’re helpful, and they’ll pick my bags up and hand them to me.”

To join a local cornhole team in your area, download the “Scorholio” app or visit https://www.tclcornhole.com/regions to locate your nearest team.

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