A Brief History of Cornhole


You may or may not have heard of the lawn game called Cornhole. It is a popular game, particularly in the Midwest. Although no one is exactly sure when the game was first developed, we’ll present a brief history of Cornhole.

There are many games which are similar to cornhole which have been around for hundreds or even thousands of years. Cornhole has several similarities to the game of horseshoes. It has been shown that horseshoes was played during Roman times and was a popular game. However the history of Cornhole is not nearly as long or famous cornhole distance.

In addition to horseshoes, cornhole is also very similar to washers and other popular camping and tailgating games. A lot of these games have very similar scoring rules and most who pick up one game can easily be taught to play another.

It appears that the modern game of Cornhole began in the city of Cincinnati, Ohio. It is believed that the game was started by a farmer named Jebediah Magilicutty who lived in the 1800’s. He is believed to be one of the first cornhole players along with members of his family.

Supposedly Magilicutty noticed some boys throwing rocks into groundhog dens as a form of entertainment. He then decided to approximate this activity by taking a door and affixing it to the ground at an angle. He then drilled a hole into the upper end of the door.

Instead of rocks, he fashioned small cotton bags which were stuffed with dried corn. The goal of the game was to throw the stuffed bags at the door and try to get them to slide into the hole at the far end.

The game evolved over the 19th century into a standardized format. The cornhole boards were specified to be 2′ x 4′ with a 6″ hole bored near the upper end of the board. There are two boards used per game spaced twenty seven feet apart.

For the cornhole bags, many people may substitute the dry corn for beans or other types of material because corn may rot eventually. While many cornhole boards are made of wood, manufacturers are now making plastic boards because wood can warp or rot over time, especially after being outside in adverse weather conditions.

This standard is still followed today and is the same format used in sanctioned tournaments as well as regular recreational play. Cornhole began to get noticed as a sport and grew in popularity when people started to use the game as a pastime during Cincinnati Bengals games. This began around 1999 and has continued to grow in popularity ever since.

As the popularity grew, it became introduced in many more areas of the USA. It is a popular backyard game and can be easily learned and played by just about anyone. It is now much more than just a tailgating pastime.

Competitive play and regularly scheduled tournaments are sponsored all over the US. And players come from all over to compete in the King of the Cornhole tournament. So while this game doesn’t have thousands of years of history, it has evolved fairly quickly in America and taken its place as an important pastime here.

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