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Friday, May 24, 2019

Sports > General

Cornhole tournament attracts 30 teams

Jan 7, 2019

By Ed Townsend - reporter/photographer

By: Ed Townsend | Democrat
The Liberty Elks Cornhole Tournament directors and tournament champions are, from the left, Liberty Elks tournament organizer Joe Maxwell, tournament champions Kyle Knibbs and Mike Sperano, second place champions Taylor and Corey VanKeuren and Liberty Elks tournament organizer Rick Levine.
LIBERTY -- Cornhole, the popular tailgating and backyard BBQ game is now a professional sport with a league and the popularity of the sport was more than evident on Saturday at the 1st Annual Cornhole Tournament hosted by the Liberty Elks at their John Street lodge.
Organized by Liberty Elks members Joe Maxwell and Rich Levine the Cornhole Tournament attracted 30 two-member teams from the local Sullivan County community and Elks lodge members from Liberty, Monticello, Middletown and Ellenville.
The organizers of the tournament, believed to be one of the first in Sullivan County, indicated they were really surprised by the huge turnout and the competitive level displayed and indications are that they are planning another tournament possibly the weekend before the Super Bowl.
The lodge was also open and sold wings and finger food along with beverages.
Winners of the tournament received $225 for first place and $75 for second place.
Champions of this tournament were Kyle Knibbs and Mike Sperano from Pine Bush while second place went to Taylor and Corey VanKeuren of Liberty.

Mike Sperano displayed a very professional stance and pitch during the competition and noted following his win that, “we don't play a lot and usually it's a backyard BBQ type of play and we mimic each others style of play.”
“We play one-on-one in the backyard and any tournament we enter we watched to learn what was the best way to throw the bag,” Sperano said.
The competitive level of the tournament was quite evident when some players even had their own two-sided Pro-Level bean bags that feature Duck Cloth on one side so the bag can slide and Premium Suede on the other side when players want the bag to stick.
The entry fee was $15 per team with $10 of each registration fee going to the prize money and the remainder going to fund local Elks charity funds.
The sport of cornhole playing field consists of two cornhole boards slightly elevated on one end with the boards being 27 feet apart and there are pitcher's boxes on the right and left side of the board where the players stand and throw the bags. The players feet must remain within the pitcher's box at the time of releasing the bag otherwise a penalty takes place.
Each player will play with four cornhole bags and players must pitch the bags with an under-hand release. Players take turns pitching the bags (one player at a time) until each player has pitched all four bags.
Part of the game is cancellation scoring whereby the points of one player cancel the points of his or her opponent and using this method only one player/team can score in an inning. The team that scored points in the previous inning has the honor of pitching first in the next inning.
Team points are added in each inning to add to the team's total score and the game is played until one player or team reaches the score of 21 points. Points are only scored if the bag goes into the hole or lands on the cornhole board. Bags landing in the hole counts for 3 points and bags landing on the board counts for one point.
The popularity of this game is in part that the sport is now a professional sport with a league (American Cornhole League (ACL), a TV contract with ESPN and prize money up to $1 million this season and comprehensive rankings of players.
The man behind the business of cornhole is ACL CEO Stacey Moore, who honed his cornhole game at North Carolina State football tailgates where he created different types of brands to try and figure out how to capitalize on the tailgating lifestyle.
Cornhole was the activity that drew the most attention with Moore's tailgating business, so he went all in on the game, which features two platforms (cornhole boards) with a hole at the top of each, spaced 27 feet apart. Players throw bags -- originally filled with corn but now typically plastic resin -- to try and land on the board or in the hole.
Sausage company Johnsonville serves as the primary sponsor of the ACL and expansion plans call for taking the league to Canada, Australia, Sweden, Germany and Japan via the World Cornhole League.
Some talk following the Elks' successful tournament was the possible formation of a Cornhole League in Sullivan, Orange and Ulster Counties.

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