KOUNTDOWN TO THE KING
By Mark Rogers
The anticipation of the coming weekend is making my ankle high slush walks to the morning train bearable. For it is this weekend that my Packers play in their fourth Super Bowl and another cornhole season ends with the fifth annual King of Cornhole at the ACO World Championships of Cornhole. Life is good when the world’s of football and cornhole align.
Below is a nonsensical wandering diatribe of three renowned Kings and their “obvious” connections to cornhole. Enjoy and I look forward to meeting you all at the Horseshoe this year.
KING HENRY VIII (I am, I am)
King Henry VIII is notorious for schlopping off his wife’s heads. Everyone remembers Anne Boleyn, from the instant epic classic movie, “The Other Boleyn Girl”, but Catherine Howard also received the same fate. I was being overly sarcastic about my review of the Boleyn movie, a horrible film, however the flick did offer a nice female duo, a Miss Natalie Portman and a Miss Scarlett Johansson.
Natalie is cast as Anne B., and Scarlett plays, the hussy that steals a man from another woman, which I am pretty sure is the only role Scarlett has ever played. Talk about typecast, I don’t even think she realizes she is acting. The director just instructs her to seduce “that guy”, and the cameras role. I want to discuss Nathaniel Hawthorne’s book, “Scarlet Letter”, about now, but I have totally drifted off base. Back to my purpose.
Who is the sexier matchup with Natalie? (Okay, nothing to do with my purpose, if any, but still a legitimate topic no less.) Her and Scarlett in said Boleyn movie or Natalie and Mila Kunis in “Black Swan.” Haven’t seen “Black Swan” yet? Do it, do it tonight. Yeah, I know it’s centered around ballet, but that doesn’t matter in the least, trust me.
Time for the cornhole segue, as I attempt to align Natalie and Mila, with Matt Guy and Steve Vanderver. Not easy, no offense gents. The possible championship between these two is high, but I am not so sure that would be everyone’s dream matchup. Guy, “the Champ” and Vanderver, “V” met last year to crown the 2009 King of Cornhole. The duel went to three nail biting games with Guy eventually nudging out “V”. I know that Vanderver would love to have the road to the KOC end with a victory over “the Champ.” So would I, to be quite honest. I love a good rivalry.
However, the competition for 2010 has increased exponentially and some might want to see some fresh faces rise to the top. Matt Strzala and Dale Smith both had impressive 2010 cornhole campaigns. So two questions remain: 1) Best match-up in a Natalie movie?, 2) Best KOC matchup for 2010? Discuss amongst yourselves.
King Henry VIII epilogue – the bearded beast has been completely overshadowed by Natalie Portman, who is a lot more interesting than Henry’s split from the Roman Catholic Church. And yes, I do realize that “V” is for vendetta, the basis of another great Natalie movie. But “V”, for me, is for Vanderver and his vendetta to take the crown. “V” is my pick to click this year. (It strangely all comes together in the end.)
An Egyptian Pharaoh of the 18th dynasty that did nothing. Nada.
Check out this resume:
* Born as a result of incest
* Ruled for nine years beginning at the age of nine (primarily his advisors did the ruling)
* Died an early death at 18 due to complications of incest
And no, I do not count his proclamation to change the supreme god from Aten to Amun a resume builder. King Tut’s fame is a direct result of his remains and treasures being discovered by Howard Carter in 1922. The find was so well intact that it made for great exhibition throughout the world. Howard Carter had become the world’s best press agent.
The obvious take away from this, for me at least, is that I can spend my remaining days accomplishing nothing and be remembered forever. I am off to a good start. The trick lies in the burial, no tombstone for me. When the alien conquistadors come a’diggin’ what significance will be gained from a tombstone that everyone else has, no matter how ornate or clever? Nope, I am shoveling an elaborate underground network of tunnels in the backyard, maybe splash some hieroglyphics here and there, with an epicenter of my remains displayed in glorious fashion. Maybe slide a cornbag and a copy of “Hamlet” in the tomb, so when the future Benjamin Gates** breaks my maze, he will write in his journal,
“Surely this was a great man, Cornhole’s Shakespeare, a personality of great importance. His tomb is so fantastic that there is no doubt, this dude rocked. No one is strange enough to have done this of his own doing. No, surely, the people have honored him here.”
And booyah, everlasting afterlife fame, as easy as that!
Now let’s talk about someone who truly has a resume fit for a King (of Cornhole), one Matt Guy of Alexandria, Kentucky. Guy is no stranger to toss games, having at one time been ranked #6 best horseshoe pitcher by the National Horseshoe Pitchers Association of America.
The King of Cornhole started as a weekly television series where a tournament winner got the chance to play the Cornhole King for supremacy. The series was the brainchild of Matt Gray, who with the help from Doug Hopkins and Phill Daniel, produced the show through Hopkins and Gray’s company Gamemasters. The King of Cornhole tournament of 16 aired on television for five weeks; each show taped at Hippo Joes Bar & Grill in Cincinnati. Matt Guy won the first two weeks. After Hopkins and Gray met with Frank Geers, ACO President, they combined forces to make the King of Cornhole an annual main event.
Reviewing Matt Guy’s resume will clearly state how that idea has culminated each year since its inception:
* KOC TV Series week 1 winner – 07/07/06
* KOC TV Series week 2 winner – 07/14/06
* KOC 2006 winner
* KOC 2007 winner
* KOC 2008 winner
* KOC 2009 winner
Conclusion, King Tut versus Matt Guy – advantage Guy.
**A movie character played by Nicolas Cage who sifts through a series of absurd clues to find national treasures, while at the same time bastardizing history. I hear they are coming out with a third install though, so more power to him.
ELVIS PRESLEY “King of Rock and Roll”
Bright light city gonna set my soul
Gonna set my soul on fire
For the past three years the King of Cornhole has sung the Las Vegas tune. However, after reassessing “or reloading” the situation, the ACO made the decision to host the King of Cornhole in the Midwest this year. That is not to say the flamboyance of Vegas will not be present. Traditionally, the King is crowned and robed during his coronation and this year a pretty suh-weet ring will be given to the victor. In the not too distant future I also predict “Vegas” Elvis to make his way to the Midwest as well.
“Vegas” Elvis is possibly the most impersonated being ever. His costume has been adorned by countless posers who make a cameo at a range of events. When (not if) the King of Cornhole becomes televised, my prediction is that those looking for some face time will dress in some attention getting garb. Vegas Elvis will be on top of that list. We have seen this before at the World Series of Poker. In fact, other than going all-in against Elvis, poker players saddle up next to Hollywood celebrities. Like poker, cornhole has a low barrier to entry, anyone can sign up and play for a price. As cornhole grows, the cameras will come and the crazies will follow. Personally, I cannot wait to pitch a game against Elvis. Then I will know that cornhole has made it big.
Mark Rogers is the author of the critically acclaimed book, Cornhole: Throwing Bags in Hole. If you would like more on cornhole and the ridiculous, visit http://www.cornholebook.com to grab your copy of Cornhole literature for less than 4 Chicago beers.