Welcome to Boston Cornhole! Our goal is to increase the presence of the exciting, fun game of cornhole in Boston and the Northeast. Boston Cornhole promotes the game of cornhole with the organization of Leagues, Tournaments, and Special Events at local venues.
For more information, write us at email@example.com or call us at (857) 225-2302.
ACO Season XII Hole-I-Day Bash - Pawtucket, RI - Monday, December 12th at 7 PM
Boys & Girls Club of LMV - Salisbury, MA - Saturday, January 21st 2017 at 12 PM
Amesbury Rotary - Amesbury, MA - Saturday, January 28th 2017 at TBA
South Shore Country Festival - Marshfield, MA - Saturday, May 20th 2017 at 12 PM
Is cornhole strong in red states, blue states, or both?
Let's face it, the 2016 Presidential Election has redrawn the Electoral College map with a little more red than we are accustomed to seeing. Well, there has also been some change in those beautiful, blue states in the Northeast with an abundance of cornhole! Three years ago, there was only a handful of places to toss some bags during the week in New England. Fast-forward to today and south of Boston, you can play cornhole every day of the week and on some days, there are two tournaments in the same town. And if the Commonwealth's Education Department is reading these recaps, don't be surprised to see charter schools for adults on the ballot next year! But, let's stay focused because all this cornhole is really a good thing...
With all these pitching options, the player can decide when, where, and with whom to play. If you consider yourself to be an ace player, you may be in search of Bring Your Own Partner (BYOP) contests. If you just enjoy playing or are new to the game, you will probably gravitate towards blind draws. Geography also plays a role in where you may choose to play. Why drive an hour to toss bags when you no longer have to? Why purchase a $25 ACO membership from me, when you can play a mile away without one?
Even with the game continuing to grow, a player's market makes it a bit challenging for tournament organizers and venues looking to profit off of the cornhole revolution. If you are asking players to pay more than $5 to play on a school night, you may need to become a HOLE lot more creative to remain competitive on a weekly basis!
The Best Format is...
Like politics, there is not a unanimous answer and everyone has an opinion. Perhaps I need a guest writer for this one as I have never had too much success with weekly events and the map above is evidence that I've been wrong before. Nonetheless, I have my opinions and this is my propaganda platform, so here is my three point plan!
1. Low or No Entry Fees
The model has been there for years with bars that host karaoke or trivia. There has never been a cost for embarrassing yourself with a microphone or displaying your command of random facts. Cornhole does not need to be any different, but usually it is. Players are spending money on food and beverage, give them their entertainment for free! A "play for free" model did work in the 3rd Ave Burlington tournaments and led to several NEW players. And no, $5 is not too much to ask.
2. Establish a Format for Everyone
All cornhole players are not created equal. If you plan to keep everyone happy, you should abandon cornhole now! However, if you want to appeal to a large audience, then you should adopt a format that appeals to all skill levels. Blind draws are simple and one of the fairest formats out there. A good player can win with anyone and the luck of the draw may take a novice to the winner's circle; there is no better feeling! Most weekly events in the area with competitive players are blind draws which is a good thing. However, other formats can work as well. Even if New Hampshire may be JV Massachusetts, the Fall 603 Cornhole League had 36 teams from all walks of life play for ten weeks. That's more on a weekly basis than most Massachusetts and Rhode Island groups combined! Contact Shon or Brian to learn how to fill your parking lots with vanity plates.
3. Modest Prizes
Read my lips, "No big payouts!" I realize this approach may not win me many votes, but I'm sticking with it! A big cash payout may draw headlines and get people in the door for a few weeks...until the money overshadows the game. Make it about the money and it will be about the money. If and when sponsors come on board, there will be plenty of money to win at bigger tournaments. But, be careful what you wish for because those Red States are watching... For weekly events, it may seem counter-intuitive not to market cornhole to people who have been playing it for years. But, I would counter that the larger market is new players. And wouldn't the masses prefer an approach that does not cater to the top percent? Oh, wait...
Are secret tournaments a problem in MA?
I recently had a potential client ask me for suggestions on attracting people to a tournament. My response was to anonymously post it online and then don't mention it again, never! Obviously, the client was a bit befuddled, but if you've been in the cornhole game long enough, then you realize that this may be a legit strategy. Introducing the secret tournament, an under the radar event, usually with a cash prize, that may not necessarily be known to the cornhole community. And the higher the stakes, the more likely a secret tournament monger will keep things under wraps. Is it anyone's responsibility to help others find tournaments? No, but in my opinion, the collateral damage caused by excessive sneakiness, undermines the growth of the game and causes dissention among the ranks. Let's not pretend that playing in secret tournaments is a cardinal sin, but here are some reasons why you may want to think twice...
1. Winning isn't everything....except when there's $200+ on the line! Growing up, we are taught that winning isn't everything, preach that to our children, and then throw it all out the window if there's a chance to make a quick buck by tossing bags. The secret tournament is all about limiting competition and winning. Secret tournaments may make you feel like a winner, but play in enough of them and others may think you're really a loser!
2. Drama and more drama...the one thing that every bag tosser can probably agree on is that there is too much drama in cornhole. Nothing screams cornhole treason more than seeing your "buddies" championship pose stream across your news feed. But, there's an easy fix to this...if it starts out a secret, keep it a secret! Boasting on facebook won't double the prize money!
3. Research shows that the prevalence of secret tournaments and the number of shitty 80s hair bands touring New England are directly related. We need to keep tournament money out of the hands of the people who like this music! If you find a tournament, share it!
4. Competition is needed to improve....ironically, the biggest perpetrators of secret tournaments seem to be the best players. Those that can handle the competition, often prefer not to have it. How can we improve if the best don't want to play the best? I'll be the first to say "I told you so" when the Southerners come to Fenway next May with their awful grammar and eat our lunch again!
5. Charities...are for charity, not a cornholer's part-time job (well, it's my part-time job), but you get the point. The majority of the weekend tournaments are fundraisers. It's great that you are willing to spend a day playing for charity, but it would be better if you brought 20 of your cornhole friends with you to support the cause. I have yet to see life-changing money be awarded at a charity event, but the work some charities do may very well be life-changing. Think about it...
Tournaments on tap in Pawtucket and Hyde Park this weekend...
Burlington joined the party this summer...
ACO Season XII kicks off Labor Day Weekend!
Is something missing in Rio...
From the pool to the balance beam, it's been Olympics overload this past week. However, with some of these more obscure sports getting some PR, shouldn't cornhole be shown some love!? Just think of the dozens of people who would tune into ESPN3 to watch it. Well, I don't see cornhole becoming part of the games anytime soon, but that doesn't mean that we can't pretend. If Rocky Woods was to have an opening ceremony, I could see it going something like this...
1. Boston Cornhole - entering the stadium first would be John Moran carrying the BC flag. John completes 75% of his ring walk prior to marching back to the beginning and starting over because "that's the format people want".
2. The McCabe Delegation - with possibly the largest delegation and a few generations in tow, bearing the family crest would be the state champion, Rachael McCabe!
3. Southbridge Cornhole - Joe Masareth is up next proudly waving the Southbridge flag...with Jose right behind him barking out orders.
4. Ocean State Cornhole - Tim Foster is the fourth to enter the arena with his kidnapped partner behind him in cuffs.
5. Rice Baggers - Lance bears the Viet Cong flag as the token white guy.
6. 603 Cornhole - Silence as the NH folks boycott Rocky Woods due to the level of competition.
7. The Cornhole Company of Cape Cod - The Blue Lobster that was recently caught gets the honors to accurately represent the 1 in 2 million odds of someone from The Cape winning this tournament.
8. Team Grew/Prew - Last but certainly not least, Ron Lincks leads out one of the pre-tournament favorites with his index finger raised high to the sky to clearly indicate how many times this team lost last week in Pepperell.
Fortunately, the Rocky Woods Cornhole Festival will have more at stake than bad jokes. I would say that "Team of the Year" honors is a dead heat right now. The Lance/Pigeon duo opened the year hot, Showtime are the MA State Champions, and Team Grew/Prew showed last week that they can win outside of Bridgewater. And on top of pride, there are some very good payouts! Let's not also forget the singles competition. We can only hope that the cornhole drama plays out on the boards tomorrow and some must-see grudge matches come to fruition! Bags fly at 11 AM!
The Champs in Lawrence, Scott and John
This past Saturday marked the inaugural trip to Lawrence to host the Bags for Boobs Tournament to benefit the Breast Cancer 3-Day Walk. Hosting tournaments is a good gig and days like Saturday make for a special day...here's why...
New faces in a new place...
If it seems like it's always the same teams that win Boston Cornhole events, it's because it's true 90% of the time. While we love our top dogs, their absence this weekend made for a wide open field. Nonetheless, my pre-tournament favorites of Dave Scott and Kevin Lowry soon found themselves in the driver's seat with an undefeated run to the finals. But, if this duo expected a happy ending in Lawrence, it would have to wait until after the tournament. Scott Pelletier and John Macleod, avenged an earlier defeat to complete the double dip and cruise into victory lane. Footnote: these France-themed boards are the same ones that Lowry and yours truly were double-dipped on earlier in the week in Burlington.
Familiar faces in a new place...
While I may not have known them by name, I recognized several faces including some that competed at Fenway, in Amesbury, the guys from the Winner's Circle Cornhole Club, and my new friends from Shirley (not the one who barks). Also in attendance were the 3rd Ave Burlington stalwarts, Zach and Caleb, with their better halves who may actually be better cornholers as well! Welcome to the circuit, hope to see you all at future events!
When can we do it again?
The venue and people were great, so let's see if we can make it happen again! While nothing is on the docket, stay tuned for more events in the area. In the meantime, be sure to visit the Boston Cornhole homepage for all the latest and greatest upcoming tournaments!
NECS and Magic Mile Championships on tap for this weekend...
The Southern States dominate the 4th Annual Fenway Cornhole Classic!
Cole Mason and Blake Sparrow
4-Time Champs Scott Lane and Chris Cuccia
Melissa Adams and Greg Stanley
Who's the best in MA? A picture is worth a 1000 words!
Last year, we held the inaugural ACO State Championships for Massachusetts in Boston. This year, we shifted the scene to the Boundary Brewhouse where Boston Cornhole hosted each Season XI Regional. With six sets of boards in play, we added three new divisions in 2016: MA Women's Singles, RI Singles and RI Doubles. Oh, and for those of you north of the border, the 603 guys are hosting the NH State Championships in June. Ok, now on to the recap!
MA Women's Singles
The Best in Season XI from Start to Finish!
Rachael McCabe has topped the podium at each regional and even made it down to a major this season. Heading into the event, Rachael was definitely the favorite to capture the title. However, the surprise arrival of Julie guaranteed that things could get interesting. While Julie does not have the ACO pedigree, the scouting report says that the lady can definitely toss some bags! Sure enough, Julie battled to the winner's bracket final to face Rachael. While it was apparent that Julie was pretty thirsty throughout the day, she could not match Rachael's hunger for the "State Champ" moniker as Rachael prevailed. And there would be no rematch as Stephanie avenged an earlier loss to Julie to face her doubles' partner in the finals. And your 2016 MA Women's State Champ...Rachael McCabe!
1. Rachael McCabe
2. Stephanie Bergeron
3. Julie Berenz
MA Open Doubles
When I named Showtime (Jose Rivera and Joe Masareth) the 2015 Team of the Year, it wasn't simply because they are nice guys. I saw a strong team that was good and that had the potential to be better! While not the favorites, it should come as no surprise that they are the 2016 MA State Champions! The Southbridge duo defeated the favorites, Lance Madden and Larry Pigeon to advance to the finals. In the finals, they fought off a spirited double-dip attempt from the Grew/Prew pairing. While they have taken several trips to victory lane, something tells me that this one probably felt really good!
1. Jose Rivera and Joe Masareth
2. Charles Prew and Tim Grew
3. Lance Madden and Larry Pigeon
MA Open Singles
Sense of Fashion: C+. Cornhole Game: A+!
You can't mention "State Champ" in Massachusetts and not think of the guy who made that title infamous. While it did not go his way on Saturday, it was nice to see Jeff Bachand return and attempt to defend his title. A year ago when I heaped praise on Larry Pigeon, there were certainly some out there who felt slighted. Fast forward a year and I don't think anyone can debate who flies the highest when it comes to cornhole in New England. The phenom went undefeated handing his doubles partner and runner-up, Lance Madden his only two losses on the day. Let's also give Lance his due as his game is way too big to fit in Pigeon's shadow! Rounding out the top three was my pre-tournament pick (by private text message), Jose Rivera and Danny Talbot had a nice run to finish in fourth place. Congrats to all!
1. Larry Pigeon
2. Lance Madden
3. Jose Rivera
4. Danny Talbot
John Moran or Superman?
Having the event in Pawtucket, I had hoped to draw a HOLE lot of Ocean Staters. While the turnout was small, that certainly didn't get in the way of a big coronation for John Moran. The Ocean State's top tosser won singles and paired with Mike Lobdell to capture doubles. Eat your heart out big bro!
Open Doubles Champions:
John Moran and Mike Lobdell
1. John Moran
2. Joe Regan
3. Mike Lobdell
Last. Tim Foster
While not everyone can win, there were definitely some impressive, blog-worthy performances out there. Let's start with Danny Talbot! As mentioned above, Talbot enjoyed a nice run to fourth place in Open Singles. Even if all the cigarette breaks did extend the tournament by an hour, it was nice to see Danny play so well! Who is Freddie Schulz? It looked as if he might go from the firehouse to first place! He knocked out some big names in singles and partnered with Board Control for a surprising fourth place finish in doubles!
The 2016 State Championships were indicative of the potential of the competitive New England cornhole scene. When we can get everyone together, it can be a really fun, competitive day. Unfortunately, we rarely see this turnout at the regional events and sometimes struggle to hit the minimums. While the game continues to grow, at this point, our championships should be region-based and not state based. MA, RI, NH and CT combined would really be a superb tournament! Until next season...
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