Cornhole: More Than a Tailgate Activity

If you ask the average person what they know about cornhole, most will say that it’s an activity that they enjoy playing before another sporting event.

What if I told you cornhole has its own sporting events? Meet the ACL, or American Cornhole League, which had its ACL Pro Shootout Championship at Daily’s Place last month.

Professional cornhole is a sport I never realized could be so entertaining to watch, not to mention the great community of people who participate in it and manage it. I had the pleasure of getting to talk with ACL Commissioner Stacey Moore, who is clearly very committed to getting the sport more mainstream.

“The idea actually [of creating the ACL] came from tailgating… I saw people playing cornhole way more seriously than any other tailgating game,” he said. “I got to know that there’s a lot of strategy around it and a lot of people who are really passionate about it.”

Moore decided to use the popular tailgating game to create a way for people to show off skills that were previously just party tricks and create a highly enjoyable sport. The league gives players the chance to earn money and supplement their lifestyles by doing what they love.

“They clearly dedicate their lives to this craft,” Moore said, referring to the hours players spent practicing and perfecting their games. “Some of the younger players have even invented new shots, and that’s one of the coolest things that’s become a part of our sport.”

It is interesting to see how much strategy and variation there can be between different players, with all of them utilizing a particular playstyle.

Prior to the finals of the Pro Men’s Singles Shootout, I spoke to Frank Modlin and Adam Hissner. Modlin uses a more gentle, arcing motion, while Hissner uses a quick, powerful motion.

I asked Modlin how he would try to attack Hissner’s strategy to which he replied, “Adam is typically a more defensive player, and he likes to throw up a lot of blocks…honestly, I just want to try to exploit any missed blocks, any blocks that he sends to the left or right, I’d like to shove them further out of play.”

When I asked Hissner the same question, he said, “At this point, I just want to score points early and then tighten it up in the rest of the game after that. Ten rounds [of play] is tough for all of us, so hopefully he misses, and I don’t!”
Hissner ended up beating Modlin in an extremely close game that came down to the last bag thrown.

As for the ladies singles finals, reigning singles world champion Cheyenne Renner took on 2020 doubles world champion Sam Finley.

After a nail-biter with many lead changes, Renner took home first place. It was a great match and even more amazing to see how supportive the two players were, as they practiced together pre-game and congratulated each other after the match.
Although the players are always duking it out against each other, they have formed a close-knit community, and you can see them fist bumping each other after one makes a good play.

The event also included an exhibition match up between Jaguars legends Todd Philcox and Larry Smith, who were paired with ACL pros. It was a surprisingly intense match with Smith’s team taking a 12-0 lead before Philcox and his partner stormed back to win it all.

ACL Professional Cornhole’s tagline is “Anyone can play, anyone can win.” The best way to tap into one’s cornhole skills is to sign up for local tournaments and get involved with the sport. Who knows? Maybe the ACL’s next Pro Shootout Champion could be from Duval.

About EU Jacksonville

X
X