The Backyard Goes Big-Time with Cornhole the Sport

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Local organization brings native cornhole game to the rest of the world.

You won't find any steroids in this sport. No contract disputes, no fights in the stands, no high ticket prices. No cheerleaders either -- but they might be working on that.

The sport is American Cornhole, a fresh face on the national sports scene. One local Cincinnati, Ohio organization is transforming this unspoiled backyard pastime into an unspoiled national sporting trend.

"American Cornhole has all the competition and fun of other mainstream sports," said Frank Geers, President of the American Cornhole Organization (ACO). "Our players are serious about the sport, but they don't take it too seriously."

The origins of the American Cornhole game are a bit of a mystery, though Cincinnati's west side seems to have a pretty strong claim. But there's no mystery about where ACO wants the sport to end up - in the national consciousness.

Geers believes it's only a matter of time because "the game is so simple, unique and addictive. Anyone can play cornhole, and once they do a pitch or two, they are hooked."

Formed in 2005 by Geers and some partners, ACO is the first and only cornhole organization with an association dedicated to standardizing and promoting the growing sport of American Cornhole. To make this happen, the organizers:

1. Established an official set of rules for the game, along with a system for handicapping and world ranking that's a bit reminiscent of bowling.

2. The American Cornhole Organization, has adopted its first standardized list of terms. "To the outside world," says Franks Geers, ACO President, "it may seem like American Cornhole players are speaking a new language. They are."Our job as governing body is to make sure people are on the same page. It's our sport's version of home plate, field goal and dribble."

3. Runs and sanctions official leagues, tournaments and special events. The organization has agreements or is in the process of finalizing agreements for games and events with Cincinnati Winter Sports Festival, Carson Palmer Cornhole Classic, Chicago based Max McCook, the Indiana State Fair, the University of Cincinnati, and others.

4. Promotes awareness and education of the game of corn hole. Carnival recently mentioned to Geers that they have witnessed the sport attracting attention in the European market on their ships. American Cornhole is also about to go Hollywood. Geers is working with a group of independent filmmakers who are producing a mockumentary called Cornhole: The Movie, about four individuals and their journey to the American Cornhole Title match being held in Cincinnati, OH.

5. Brings players together in ACO membership, a base that continues to grow. The organization started signing up members in January of 2007 and currently, boasts over 1200 members from 36 states and expects those numbers to explode by the summer of 2008 with the addition of ten more independent reps to its existing base of eleven by end of first quarter 2008.

Geers has a theory about why popularity seems to be rising so quickly.

"It's just a friendly game where people can enjoy playing for the fun of it," he said. "I've seen people play rivals in a tournament title grudge match, then join each other for drinks after the game. It's like one big Cornhole family."

About American Cornhole, LLC:
American Cornhole, LLC was formed in 2005 for the promotion of the Sport of Cornhole. The Governing Body of cornhole the sport and the sales arm of cornhole the sport are active in that goal.


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