Cornhole

Yes, this is like backyard cornhole, except the pros have rules—boards 27 feet apart, bags six inches square and 16 ounces apiece—and are good at it. Chas Tower told me that the best practice 10-20 hours per week and can sink 20-30 bags in a row, without distractions.

ACL pro Maya Cupp of Warren, Mich. (left) vs. Christy Woodell of Fenton, Mich.

Preparing for a toss.

Family fun.

Chas heads Blue Collar Cornhole. They make bags and boards and organize American Cornhole League-sanctioned events around Michigan. In his own words: “I became addicted to Cornhole the very first time I played about 9 years ago. The Boards were sketchy, the bags were worse, but we had a blast playing with our friends. I made it my mission to build better equipment and keep the good time with friends going.”


I wondered about the name and if that said anything about the culture of competitive cornhole. There was a pretty even distribution of young and old, men and women. They all seemed like pretty regular folks and like they might have gotten into cornhole the same way Chas did: at home and with friends. For kicks. Maybe that’s what’s blue collar about it. You can dress it up with all the prize money and sponsors and officialdom you want. You’ll never take the good times out of it though. And if you somehow did, you might as well pack it in and call it a day because it wouldn’t be worth it anymore.

Which isn’t to say that you can’t also take it seriously. A few days after we ran the story, a reader emailed in to take issue with us calling these the “first annual Michigan State Cornhole Championships.” Actually, we never called it that. I’d already cleared that up with Chas, who’d specified that these were the first championships to be officially sanctioned by the American Cornhole League, not the first ever. I wrote that in my photo and video captions, the reporter in her story. I guess we still weren’t clear enough, or the reader was just used to defending cornhole from people who thought it was cute: “I’m not sure how ‘first annual’ was first thrown around but eve noted Blue Collar guys know it’s not true. There have been 3 previous state championships that ran 2016, 2017, and 2018…Whenever I see ‘first annual’ it discredits the accomplishments of our previous champions.”

Saginaw, MI
February 2020

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