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Jamie Graham, Hamlet Native, Wins World Championship of Cornhole

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HAMLET — Very few people can say they have won a world championship; nonetheless, an accomplished 19-year-old Jamie Graham arrived back in his hometown of Hamlet Monday afternoon after claiming the World Championship of Cornhole this past weekend.

The championship tournament, hosted by the governing body of cornhole, the American Cornhole Organization (ACO), was played in Owensboro, KY from July 25-29.

Graham defeated Ryan Windsor in the ACO World Singles Championship Winners Bracket Final to claim the title of World Singles Champion at the World Singles Season XII event.

At the age of 16, Jamie Graham played his first game of cornhole with his cousins at a family reunion. He immediately fell in love with the game and began playing on a regular basis. He began competing in the same year as he started and continued on to win his first tournament in Foley, AL at age 17, then on to win a major in Kenansville, NC.

At the age of 18, Jamie won another tournament in West Virginia, then another in his return to Kenansville. He went on to win the State Championship in June 2017, which led him to win the ACO World Championship of Cornhole this past weekend.

 

Jamie gave his brother, Steven Graham, a special thanks for being an inspiration to him as well as encouraging him to play cornhole. He said Steven was there for all his games.

Jamie also mentioned a supportive cornhole group called #BIG4 which consists of Trevor Brooks, Tyler Poythress, Jay Corley, and himself. He said, “They have been there from the beginning, and they are much more than just a group to me.”

He continued, “It feels good to win, and all the dedication finally paid off.”

Graham will continue to play with the American Cornhole Organization in future events. For more information about the American Cornhole Organization, visit americancornhole.com.

Poythress will have to wait to be ‘King’

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Wilson native named ACO Player of the Year but ties for 7th at ACO’s World Singles Championship

OWENSBORO, Ky. — Tyler Poythress will have to wait at least another year to lay claim to the coveted American Cornhole Organization “King of Cornhole” title.

The Fike High graduate, coming off Player of the Year accolades in the ACO regular season, took the No. 1 overall seed into Saturday’s ACO double-elimination World Singles Championship at Owensboro Convention Center.

But after winning his first four matches to reach the quarterfinals of the winner’s bracket, Poythress stumbled and won one losers bracket encounter before running into a familiar foe in No. 18 seed Caleb Avery — one half of the brotherly tandem that eliminated Poythress and teammate Jay Corley in Friday’s ACO World Doubles Championship en route to a third-place finish.

Poythress fell behind early against Avery and never led, falling 21-9 to end his tournament and tie his best-ever singles finish of seventh in three trips to the event.

In defending his No. 1 seed in the first half of Saturday play, Poythress defeated No. 128 Noel True of Kentucky, No. 65 Sean Short of Ohio, No. 97 Robert Morris Jr. of North Carolina and upstart No. 112 seed Trellis Cisco of West Virginia in the opening four matches. Poythress faltered against No. 25 seed Jordan Langworthy of Kentucky and was sent to the losers bracket, where he knocked out another Kentucky player in No. 14 seed Phillip Haydon.

However, with fellow Tar Heel Avery in wait, Poythress could not find the big inning against Avery’s clutch pitching. Poythress had an opportunity to get at least five points back at one juncture, but on his final throw of the inning, Avery hit an “air mail” shot that knocked two of his own bags in the hole and foiled any built-up momentum.

North Carolina’s Jamie Graham, as the No. 94 seed, defeated No. 5 Ryan Windsor of Illinois in two games to win the King of Cornhole crown for Season XII and finished the tournament without a loss. It’s the first King of Cornhole win for a North Carolina player in the event’s history.

Matt Guy, owner of seven of the ACO’s 12 World Singles championships and the No. 2 seed behind Poythress, was halted in the loser’s bracket final by Windsor.

Local team heads to cornhole world championships as No. 6 seed

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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) Whatever you call this bean-bag tossing game — cornhole or bags — it’s moved beyond it’s humble start at backyard barbeques and tailgating parties.

A tournament group meets at Soaring Ridge Wednesdays, and the guy at the mic is Toby Smith, currently one of the country’s top-ranked players.

“I’ve seen a lot of cities that I would never have seen otherwise just to throw a beanbag,” Smith.

Cornhole’s got a competition component, with $30k on the line at the American Cornhole Organization’s World Championship. Smith heads to the main event Thursday with partner Steve Wimmer, up against hundreds of other teams.

“[I’m] hoping to win the whole thing,” Smith said. “We’re going in as the number six seed, so why not? Our chances are as good as anybody’s.”

Wimmer acknowledges that the sport, for which he’s collected twenty sets of throwing bags, is a hot topic with his wife, but he jokes about making it more than a hobby.

“We’re looking for sponsors,” Wimmer said. “Will take any sponsorship… feminine products, car rentals, anything. We’ll wear pink shirts, yellow, zebra stripes, whatever. We’re waiting for offers.”

Smith said friends and family were largely supportive of their passion project, with a little hesitation at the beginning.

“We got a couple funny looks when we said we wanted to take it on the road, but it’s working out,” Smith said.

Smith says he’d like to come back to the Wednesday night group with a trophy, and he knows his fellow players will be following their progress.

For more information, visit the Star City Cornhole Facebook page.

Cornhole. It’s coming to a bar near you

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If you’ve been to a bar, tailgate or big outdoor event lately, you may have seen people throwing beanbags at a slanted wooden board with a hole in it.

Even if you didn’t necessarily recognize it, this is cornhole, a game also known by the alternative names of bags, beanbag toss or even baggo. Cornhole, as it is officially called by most organizations, is rising in popularity. And some people are taking this traditional backyard pastime pretty seriously; a growing league of semi-professionals now tours the nation to play every weekend.

The California State Fair is gearing up to host its second annual cornhole championship on Saturday on the Miller Lite Racetrack Grandstand. Hosting two divisions – a serious one and a social one – the event currently has nine registered teams. The championship requires a $50 registration fee per team, and the winners will receive a still undisclosed amount of prize money.

The competition is held through the California Cornhole Association (CCA), which is working to promote the sport in the western region of the U.S.

Frank Geers, CEO of the national American Cornhole Organization, said the sport has broad appeal. “(We’ve got) 12-year-old girls, and we’ve got 92-year-old men pitching a bag,” he said.

Most people get into the game after seeing it played at social events, or after playing it with friends. One player at the midtown Sacramento watering hole Der Biergarten recalls playing it with his family on camping trips. A couple years later, when visiting friends at Chico State University, he found himself playing “baggo” again in their front yards and on the streets of their neighborhood. For him, the game has always been a fun way to do something while socializing.

Jill Huckels, a student at Stanford University, described her experience of playing cornhole at bars as “refreshing,” saying that “it’s nice to be able to go out to a bar and experience alternatives to just sitting at the bar counter or dancing.” She first saw cornhole at school events, but has done most of her playing in bars around Nashville.

Cornhole is played with two platforms, two sets of four bags – which are either beanbags or bags filled with dried corn kernels – and two teams made up of either one or two players. The teams take turns “pitching” the bags from an area called the “pitcher’s box.” The competitor cannot pass the line of the pitcher’s box when throwing. All four bags have to be thrown in a row before the next player can begin. Once the players (whether it be two or four) have thrown their bags, they will move over to throw from the other side. All contestants will be pitching from the same side.

There are many variations, but the most basic rules state that a team much reach or surpass 21 points to win. A bag in the hole is worth three and a bag on the wooden board is worth one point.

The origins of cornhole aren’t clear. One story attribute’s the game’s invention to Heyliger de Windt, a businessman from Winnetka, Ill., who patented a game named “Parlot Quoits,” which resembles cornhole. Another story tells of a German man who invented cornhole as a safer amusement for a group of young boys, who had been tossing rocks in holes, rather than beanbags. Several others give credit to Native American tribes who used dried beans to fill up their bags. Whatever its origins, the game has evolved and groups such as the ACA and the ACO have created rulebooks, standard measurements and serious tournaments.

These culminate in the ACO World Series, a tournament that earns victors $30,000. The ACO is hosting World Series XII from July 25 to 29 in Owensboro, Ky. Geers said that about a dozen players from California will be competing in the event.

The presence of serious tournaments aside, most people play cornhole for fun – often with a beer in the other hand.

Urban Sports Los Angeles (USLA) is a good example of this. When Jeff Ahn proposed adding cornhole to its list of recreational sport leagues to co-founder Sae Lee six years ago, Lee was hesitant. Californians had not yet given the sport much of a try, and Lee feared that they would not sign up.

Much to Lee’s surprise, 30 people signed up for the league the first year, motivated by the fact that cornhole was mostly played in bars, meaning food and drinks are also involved.

Last season, the club’s fifth, saw the highest numbers so far, allowing USLA to host a cornhole tournament for 500 people (which included non-members) at an L.A. Live event in Grand Central Market.