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Fun and a hole, all in one
Next time youre at a football game, familiarize yourself with the game of cornhole
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Jeromie Gilmer sets up his cornhole game. - photo by Tom Reed

Throwing a corn-filled bag into a hole doesn’t seem all that exciting.

But mix this corn-toss game with a bunch of friends and maybe a cold beverage and you have a game that may become addicting.

The game cornhole has been popping up all over college campuses, tailgate parties, NASCAR races and in front yards for the past few years in the South, according to Mike Whitton, the creator of the American Cornhole Association.

"It started in Cincinnati, the best we can determine, but there are many, many displaced (Ohio State University) Buckeyes that live everywhere, particularly the I-75 corridor," Whitton said. "It has really spread through the Sun Belt — Florida, Georgia, Alabama and the Carolinas, Tennessee ... it is just wildly popular."

Whitton and his sons created the American Cornhole Association about five years ago after a family reunion in Ohio.

"I went back to Ohio for a family reunion in 2004," Whitton said. "My nephew called me and he said, ‘Uncle Mike, we are having a family reunion, so come back and we’ll play cornhole.’ And I told him ‘I don’t know you that well, son.’"

At the family reunion, cornhole quickly became an addiction among the men.

"My sons and I played all night, literally ... until about 7 a.m. the next morning," Whitton said. "We thought if the rules were just the same from place to place it would be really great."

You have probably seen the game played at a sporting event — namely University of Georgia football games — but didn’t realize it had a name.

Or, you’re still wondering — what the heck is this?

"A buddy of mine in Albany had one, and we were together with a bunch of college guys for the weekend and he brought it and I became a cornhole fan," said Jeromie Gilmer, who has been playing the game for two years now.

"Then my wife got me one for my birthday last year — I painted it red and black."

Cornhole is played for a certain number of innings individually or with a doubles partner.

"I think it is just about the camaraderie," Gilmer said. "Most times unfortunately drinking beer and hanging out with the guys, it’s like horseshoes or anything else — just something to pass the time when you are hanging out."

Cornhole is similar to horseshoes except you use wooden boxes — called cornhole platforms — and corn bags instead of horseshoes and metal stakes.

Contestants take turns pitching their corn bags at the cornhole platform until a contestant reaches the score of 21 points. A corn bag in the hole scores three points, while one on the platform scores one point, according to http://www.playcornhole.org/.

Cornhole platforms are available on eBay, www.hillbillygames.com or if you e-mail Whitton through the American Cornhole Association Web site he will send you instructions on making you own game at home.

"It can be a drinking game; the kids at a lot of the colleges have started playing it the way you play beer pong ... if you don’t get any points on the board you have to take a drink," Whitton said.

So, you might as well familiarize yourself with the game, Gilmer added; he’s seen an uptick in people playing it recently.

"You can’t go to a football game or a NASCAR race and not see a man playing."

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