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The Origins of Cornhole
 by: Dave Roth

The Cornhole game.

Either 1) you love the game or 2) you've never heard of it. Yes, Cornhole is that addicting. A couple corn tosses and you're begging your friends for information on where to buy or build your own Cornhole game boards and beanbags.

If you really haven't heard of Cornhole, it's relatively simple game. There are two teams, each with 4 beanbags, and two boards. The cornhole boards are set facing each other, 27 feet apart. Team 1 stands at Team 2's board and tosses the beanbags to their own board, trying to toss the beanbag into the cornhole. Next, Team 2 takes their turn, tossing towards their board, trying to get more points than Team 1.

A bag that lands on the board is worth one point; a bag in the hole is worth 3 points. When both teams have thrown their 4 bags each, the lower team's score is subtracted from the higher team's score. The difference in scores are the points that the higher team gets. For example, if Team 1 scores 4 points and Team 2 scores 7 points, then Team 2 gets 3 points for that round (7 points minus 4 points.) Twenty-one points wins the game.

But just where did this simple game with the odd name get started? Many debates have ensued about who actually started this corn-filled-bag tossing game.

The two most heavily debated theories of origin are Germany and Cincinnati, Ohio.

One story says Cornhole was invented in the 1300s by a German farmer. The Cincinnati story says it was started on that city's west side.

Still others suggest Cornhole really did start in Germany, but was brought to Cincinnati, a theory supported by a large German population there.

All very plausible suggestions.

Is it really plausible that it wasn't until the 1900s that people started tossing a bag or rock into a hole? It might even have roots farther back than Germany, actually, but perhaps in a slightly different version.

It would seem even the most ancient of civilizations around the world could have created a similar tossing game. After all, when you don't have a Toys R Us store to go to, where do you find competitive entertainment? Mancala is another popular American game that has ancient roots, requiring only rocks and holes dug into the ground.

After all, Cornhole is known by several different names. The "Cornhole" name is offensive to some, as it is also a derogatory word in some places. They call it Bags, Baggo, Corn Toss, Bean Bag Toss, and even Hillbilly Horseshoes.

Wherever the truth of Cornhole's origin lies, it's American roots do seem deep into Cincinnati, Ohio. Now it's a popular tailgating game and has spread around the country and is even being taken into other countries like the UK and South Africa!

You'll find Cornhole at many a family picnic, reunion, backyard BBQ or holiday gathering. It is also popular at company picnics, bars, and tailgate parties. And for the diehards, you can even find tournaments in many cities.

No matter who tossed the first bag into the first cornhole, the game is taken very seriously. Try it, and we know you'll be addicted, too.

About The Author

Dave Roth runs SC Bean Bags, a website devoted to the game of cornhole. The site offers Cornhole bags, sets, and directions for building your own set.

The author invites you to visit:


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