So forget about the sinister slang expression that you may have
learned on the back of the school bus during your wonder years. This
act of cornholing, which has also been referred to as bean toss and
soft horseshoe, is more like horseshoes in that the team is trying to
lob an object at a designated area. However, instead of using
Seabiscuit’s footwear and stakes, the players employ beanbags and a
wooden board with a hole in it.
Two teams, with either one player or two, hurl a bag 27 feet at a
board with a six-inch hole. Getting the bag inside the hole earns the
team three points; landing the bag on the board is good for one point.
The game ends when one team reaches 21 points. A team wins when they
have scored the best of three games, also called a match.
Cornhole originated in Cincinnati as a tailgating event, yet its
surging popularity now means the game is played everywhere, said Jamie
Joss, a New York state agent for the American Cornhole Organization
(ACO). Yep, such a beast really exists.
In fact, cornholing has become a million-dollar industry. It can be
played by all ages and genders, explained Joss, and requires no preset
skills, which explains why the game is so inviting. “It has created a
little bit of a cult following that is becoming more mainstream,” said
Joss, who allowed that his cornhole playing has become somewhat of an
Since it can be played anywhere, you’ll often find the cornhole
sport at corporate outings or outside during lunch breaks. In fact, it
has become part of one group’s warm-weather daily routine on the
Syracuse University Quad.
Meet the moviemakers: Cornhole: The Movie writer-director Timothy Clarke and
producer Elaine Mello-Clarke with their baby daughter visit the cornhole contest during their Central New York stay.
As for Cornhole: The Movie, it was made to enlighten people
about the game and show people the obsession with it, says Elaine
Mello-Clarke, the producer and lead actress. A graduate of Corcoran
High School and SUNY Oswego who now works in Los Angeles, Mello-Clarke
portrays Gina “The Gun” Rosenstones. “I’m mean and I dominate,” said
Mello about her character, “I’m sort of a bitch.” Actor Dew plays Jimmy
“Bags” Menetti, who shares some unfortunate history with Gina regarding
a previous National Cornhole Championship. It was filmed in a
mockumentary style a la This Is Spinal Tap because
writer-director Timothy Clarke (the producer’s hubby) wanted to inform
people about the competitive nature of cornholing, albeit in a humorous
According to Joss, there are millions of cornhole players but they
toss under the radar. Still, the local league, CNY Cornhole, organizes
tournaments throughout the summer, such as the one that took place June
20 at Quaker Steak and Lube. Upcoming events include two showdowns at
the Inner Harbor, West Kirkpatrick and Solar streets: the WAQX-FM 95.7
(95X) BBQ Chowdown Tournament on July 25, and the Great Chicken Wing
Fest Tournament sponsored by WTKW-FM 99.1 (TK99) on Aug. 20 and 21.
Throughout the summer, cornhole contests will also be held on most
Mondays and Thursdays at Woody’s Jerkwater Pub and Grub, 2803 Brewerton
To join CNY Cornhole and find out about the tournaments, call (303) 476-9226. Tickets for the screening of Cornhole: The Movie
at Eastwood’s Palace Theatre, 2384 James St., cost $10 for adults and
$8 for students and seniors. Mello-Clarke will also be on hand for a
question-answer session. For more information, call 463-9240.