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The History of the Cornhole Game

Cornhole Game History

Among the ways people amuse themselves on lazy, warm afternoons, perhaps none enjoy the current popularity of cornhole.

The simple-but-compelling game, which supposedly got its start in Cincinnati, has taken on a newfound fame in recent years. Thanks to the interest of those in the younger generations, cornhole – once a little-known game played most at state fairs – can now be enjoyed at parties, parks and even in some bars with an outdoor area.

The Midwest, where the latest surge in popularity first took root, sports the most options for playing cornhole. However, interest in the game has swept across the nation.

Interest in the game has “spread like wildfire to back yards, beaches, breweries, and campgrounds across the United States,” according to the Historic Hudson Valley website.

Where the Cornhole Game Began

In short, no one seems to know for sure.

Some sources place the origins of cornhole, or a game very much like it, somewhere in Germany 600 years ago. Others claim the Blackhawk tribe played a version of the game. Still others say the game started with farmers in Kentucky.

Certainly, the game emerged this century as a favorite game, starting around Cincinnati and first spreading through the Midwest. No, the game can be found everywhere.

You might find that the game goes by another name, depending on your location. Alternative names for cornhole include dummy boards, bean bag toss, dadhole, doghouse, baggo or bags. But whatever the name, cornhole resides on the list of lawn games that include such “afternoon outside” stalwarts such as croquet, bocce and lawn darts.

Even among such well-known games, cornhole occupies a place all its own.

The Rules of Cornhole

The game itself involves throwing a bag weighted with corn or beans through a hole placed on a raised platform. A bag thrown through the hold scores three points. One that lands on the platform scores 1 point.

The first team to reach 21 wins the game

The American Cornhole Association calls for bags that measure six-by-six inches and weigh between 15 and 16 ounces. The platforms measure two-by-four feet and the hole measures only six inches in diameter. Players throw the bags from 27 feet away (the regulation distance between the bases of the two platforms). Each player throws four bags per turn.

The game can be played with two players in a one-on-one match, or in partners with two players per team.

Why has the game become so popular? Much like horseshoes, another famous lawn game, cornhole offers a chance for players of all ages to compete. Players also can enjoy the game anywhere that offers space of two platforms and an area for someone to throw a bag (called the pitcher’s box).

So give it a try. All you need is a little space, a decent ability to throw underhand and some friends to compete against!

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