Cornhole

Cornhole is a game popular among Amish in some communities. I played it once in Ohio at an Amish birthday cookout. I’d say it’s got elements of horseshoes and shuffleboard to it.

If you’re not familiar with cornhole, it’s pretty simple. You’ve got two slightly elevated boards with a medium-sized hole towards one end of each board. You place them some distance apart and take tuns tossing bags toward the target. The surface of the boards is slick enough to allow the bag to slide when they land on it.

You can land the beanbag directly in the hole–a direct hit–or land it just in front, where if you’ve thrown it skillfully enough, the bag will slide forward into the hole. You get 1 point for having a bag anwhere on the board at the end of the round, and 3 for each bag you land in the hole. You can also use your toss to knock your opponent’s bag off the board. Not sure where the name of this game originates, perhaps dried corn was or is used as stuffing for the bags?

Here’s an ad for a cornhole board maker in Indiana (found in The People’s Exchange Amish ad paper). I got a kick out of some of the designs, which you can guess by their themes are marketed to a certain Amish clientele (how about that “Elk Slayer” board):

Cornhole Amish Game

Any fans of this game out there? And besides Holmes County, Ohio and northern Indiana, have you seen it in other Amish communities?

Cornhole is just one of those pleasingly old-fashioned-seeming pastimes that just seems to fit the Amish. Though I wonder if there isn’t a Cornhole iPhone app yet.

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    27 Comments

    1. Richard from Amish Stories

      I remember when games were so very simple like this one is, and now it seems most need something high tech and flashy to have some fun. Maybe its time for me to dust my yo -yo off and hit the road, and i wonder if i can still do ” rock the baby”. Richard

      1. Yo-YO

        Well done Richard, talk about a device I haven’t thought of in ages. I certainly went through a few of them as a boy. Do kids today have a clue what a yo-yo is..? I’m just going to say what I said about cornhole: I bet there’s an app for that ๐Ÿ˜‰

    2. Corn Hole became popular in Pinecraft this winter. The last few years they played a few times, but this past winter it was every day and at times two games going.

    3. Karen S.

      I live on the Eastern shore of Maryland and this game is huge here. We have cornhole tournaments, some sponsored by volunteer (thats all we have here) fire depts. as fund raisers, etc.

    4. It sounds like fun – kind of like a carnival game. That would be nice for a backyard get-together or something like that. For $90, they better be fun. HA HA

    5. Matt from CT

      >. Not sure where the name of this game originates,
      >perhaps dried corn was or is used as stuffing for the bags?

      Oh boy…how to put this delicately for polite company…I’ve got to think the name started as a joke by folks who grew up with the same slang words I did, but then it might’ve been continued innocently by folks who didn’t “get the joke.”

      Think about the days before toilet paper when corn cobs were stocked in the outhouse. And then where you would use that cob. Cornhole is a rather crude slang term for that body part.

      1. OldKat
        1. Lattice

          Matt!!!

          Now, when taking aim, I shall never again view the target the same!

      2. So the lesson would be if it’s too old for anyone to remember where the name came from, it becomes acceptable in polite company ๐Ÿ™‚

        I actually poked around a little online and there seems to be all sorts of conflicting origin stories for this game, some involving actual bags of corn, some involving medieval Bavarian villagers, some involving the Cincinnatti Bengals. I guess a truly captivating game is always shrouded in a little mystery.

        http://www.cornholecornhole.com/the-secret-history-of-cornhole

        Apparently another name is “Hillbilly Horseshoes” which I think has a nice ring to it.

    6. OldKat

      I see this game played by A LOT of people, of all ages, at college football tailgates; which we do anywhere from 6 to 12 times per season. Some have simple setups, others have elaborate designs. Either way it is very popular.

    7. Linda

      The Cooking & Such magazine also has an advertisement for corn hole sets. These are from Loysville, PA, $89 plus UPS shipping, with different decal designs available. It includes 2 boards, 8 bags and instructions. They accept credit cards at 717-789-3288.

    8. Tom

      Corn hole is a popular game in the south, there are tournaments and actual organized teams that compete competitively. This game is also popular with students at South Eastern Conference football games. (College Football)

    9. Alice Mary

      Different name, same concept

      My daughter’s brother in law (Nate) brought a very similar game to a family outing last July 4th, and everyone loved it. The only difference that I could tell was that his had some prof. sports teams’ (or college team’s?)names on it. I didn’t hear anyone mentioning “cornhole”, but I’ll let them in on it now, for sure! It’ll make the game more memorable (I think I’ll send Nate Erik’s explanation of the name’s origins!)

      I was planning on suggesting the kids buy my husband one for Father’s Day.

      This was a fun post, Erik!

      Alice Mary

    10. Lester

      Huge cornhole tounament here in downtown Phoenix billed as the World’s Largest back in Feb. Was a fundrasier for a charity. I built my own. Love the game. Might start up a league here in Sun City, AZ

    11. Lisa

      Cornhole is also popular among RV owners here in the south. If you walk into most any campground you’ll find at least one group playing. It seems that most all NASCAR fans that come to the race here in Bristol, TN have a game set.

    12. MaryAnn Pepe

      The cornhole

      Being an artist, I was asked to paint an action figure on a corn-hole for a mom to give to her son for a present.For the life of me, I had no idea what in the world this was! My friends were perplexed too but we thought the mom was pulling my leg about some kooky thing that didn’t exist. Thanks to this article, I know that it was legitimate and I lost out on the commissioned job to where I could have made some extra money. And now that I think of it, I did play this game a few times back in the day…many years ago but just didn’t know what it was called at the time.Now that I know,does anyone out there need a corn-hole game painter? LOL

      1. MaryAnn that’s a pretty funny story. Hey maybe you ought to give that number in the ad a ring, those boards look like they could use some color ๐Ÿ™‚

    13. Alice Aber

      We didn’t have boards that looked that fancy and I think the name was different but we were playing this very game a couple of weeks ago at a church picnic. Seemed like a lot of fun.

      Blessings, Alice

    14. Lattice

      We’ve played it as long as I can remember. It comes out at nearly every cookout and family gathering. And if people hang around much longer, the ROOK cards come out!

    15. Felicia

      My family is an RV family so we love playing this game and, like Lisa, I have seen this quite a bit while on our various camping trips down here in the south!! Like Richard, I believe a lot of “family gaming” has gone by the wayside for technology, but I tell you what, if you want some good old fashioned fun that brings a family together with lots of laughter, invest in one of these games. If you are industrious in any way, it would be real simple to build one of these games out of plywood and make sew some bags with rice, beans or EVEN CORN!! The hours of fun fellowship with family and probably friends that want to join in, would be well worth the time to put something together. Realizing what the Amish and/or Mennonite groups are all about, unity and community, you can see why this is a fun game for them and not a bad lead to follow!!!! Give it a whirl!!!

    16. Susan

      Cornhole

      Cornhole is a very popular game at tailgates. My son made a Phillies version. That was the first time I had heard of it.

    17. We used to play that when I was a kid. It’s fun!

    18. Jen V

      Cornhole is very popular at outdoor gatherings among the non-Amish communities of central Ohio, where I live. It’s possible to buy themed cornhole sets around here at flea markets. It makes me wonder if it originated with the Amish populations in our area and spread to us? There are quite a few smaller Amish settlements within 10 minutes of the town where I live. I occasionally see buggies during the week of Amish families doing their shopping at Aldi and Walmart.

    19. Debbie Welsh

      Was just reading something about the Amish in Kentucky and came across an advert for Cub Run Days ( Cub Run is near Munfordville in south central KY ) on Sept. 22, 2012, where they mentioned having a cornhole tournament!

    20. Lindsay

      In Chicago it is a tailgate/bar game. I often see groups drinking beer and playing this game. However I had never heard it referred to as “Cornhole” before!

    21. Theresa F

      Corn Hole game

      Our family just returned from another great vacation in Holmes County, Ohio. We were privileged to spend a week this time. We played Corn Hole with our Amish friends. The cabin we rented also provided a Corn Hole set for each cabin so we practiced there, too! We went to a swimming beach/recreational/camping area nearby and found that they had permanent corn hole games set up in the ground there. I guess you have to ask to borrow the bags but the base is stationery. We also saw advertisements for Corn Hole tournaments with prizes up to $1k. We all had alot of fun playing. Might have to look for a set around here as they are too big to carry home with us and a car full of people and yummy Amish pastries!

    22. Keep it Simple

      I think that’s what’s missing in life. Some of the simplest things can bring so much joy to others. A set of cornhole boards are present at any family get together I am a part of. OH… and there’s definitely an app.