The popular game of Cornhole also known as Tailgate Toss, Bean Bag Toss, Doghouse or just Bags is actually a sport being managed and organized by the American Cornhole League (ACL). The ACL concluded its 2017 season with the Championships Of Bags (COBS 2017) Main Event. COBS 2017 was held at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort in North Carolina between July 18th and 22nd 2017 with over $50,000 in cash prizes distributed to players of all skill levels. Players from all over the country attended the Main Event for 5 days of fun and intense competition. The Finals of all primary events were televised LIVE on ESPN 2 on “Championship Saturday” for the nation to view and enjoy. The added ESPN 3 coverage of events over Friday and Saturday provided plenty of excitement and fun for Cornoholics of all ages around the country and new fans alike.
The Event officially kicked off on Tuesday July 18th 2017, with the $3K Women’s Singles that resulted in Jenn Vanderver playing the defending Champion from COBS 2016 season - Christine Papcke in the Championship Match and winning it 21 – 16 on national ESPN broadcast to take home the Women’s Championship for COBS 2017. Christine Papcke - her opponent in the Championship Match lost to Jenn Vanderver in her 2nd matchup of the Winner Bracket to end up in the L-Dog Bracket having to win 5 straight matches against some of the best in the country.
The Women’s Singles was followed by $3K Open Senior Singles that consisted of some of the best cornhole players aged 55 and over in the country against each other. Phillip Haydon started off with a close game against Bobby Mumper, the Veteran cruised through to the Championship Match in the Winners Bracket beating Brian Lynn who made it to the last year’s Championship Match along the way, his Doubles Partner and close friend Daymon Dennis ended up in the L-Dog Bracket after losing to Mike Schaffer in 3rd Round of the Winners Bracket, only to fight his way back into the Championship Match to take on his close friend Phillip Haydon. Phillip knew he had the upper hand as he only had to win one Game in the final, but the determination of Daymon Dennis came through for him on Championship Saturday when we won 2 straight games (21 – 10 in Game 1 and 21 – 9 in Game 2) throwing lights out against Phillip Haydon to take home the open Senior Singles Title for COBS 2017.
Junior Singles kicked off on Tuesday as well at the same time as Women’s Singles in the Ballroom of the Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort showcasing the young talent that are part of the new younger generation of Cornhole players. With no fear or intimidation playing any part with the Junior Players of this growing sport, Jamie Graham breezed through the Winner Bracket to the Championship match while Josh Holland stumbled in his Winner Bracket Final against Jamie Graham to end up in the L-Dog Bracket Final having to play one more match against Alex Lippard to setup a rematch and a chance for redemption in the Championship Match on Saturday that was aired on ESPN. He came out red hot in the Championship Match against Jamie Graham knowing he had to win 2 in a row with a blistering 21 – 0 win to force a Game 2 which is also comfortably won 21 – 7. One thing that we can all be sure of with all the Junior players – the skill level to compete at the highest level of this sport combined with the lack of fear when playing on the big stage makes for a lethal combination that current players will need to keep an eye on in years to come.
The ACL Elite Only Blind Draw kicked off Tuesday night which matched up the best of the best (Top 64 in the ACL Season Standings) in a Random Blind Draw Double Elimination Format. Most people expected 1 or 2 Power House Teams but as luck would have there were plenty of power house teams that had a realistic chance of winning it all in the ACL Elite Only Blind Draw Event. Matt Guy was teamed up with Mike Schaffer played some tough competition in the Winners Bracket to make it into the driver’s seat of the Championship Match while their opponents Brain Lynn and Adam Hissner also made it all the way to the Winner Bracket Final only to lose to Matt Guy and Brian Schaffer and end up in the L-Dog Bracket. They managed to pull off a close win in the L-Dog Bracket Final to setup a rematch against Matt Guy and Mike Schaffer for a chance at redemption by double-dipping in the Championship match up on Saturday. Mike Schaffer and Matt Guy took home the ACL Elite Only Blind Draw title as Brian Lynn and Adam Hissner came up short under the bright lights and lose (21 – 11) on ESPN.
Wrapping up jam-packed event list to kick things off on Tuesday included the Big Open Blind Draw #1 that had the Scott’s (Scott Lane and Scott Tedder) in the driver’s seat matching up against Ronnie Hillman and Dave Wright in the Championship matchup. Ronnie and Dave took the first game 21 – 18 forcing a decider which the “Scotts” won comfortably 21 – 8 to close it out. The $1K Women’s Blind Draw saw Melissa Cody and Jenn Vanderver end up in the Championship match up against Allison Heine and Veronica Johnson with some amazing matches along the way that were broadcast on Facebook LIVE. Jenn Vanderver and Melissa Cody ended up winning the Championship match up 21 – 7 to take home the Women’s Blind Draw.
Events on Wednesday kicked off with the $2K Mixed Doubles that saw the power couple of Steve Vanderver and Jenn Vanderver end up in the Championship match in the driver’s seat against Jimmy Allegra and Crystal Mann who were also red hot in the Winners bracket until they lost a close on against the power couple 21 – 7 to end up in the L-Dog Bracket. They had one of the most exciting matches broadcast on Facebook Live against Christine Papcke and Adam Hissner in the L-Dog Bracket Final to setup a rematch against Steve and Jenn Vanderver on Championship Saturday. Steve and Jenn were determined to close it out on Saturday on the main stage broadcast on ESPN 21 – 12 to win the Mixed Doubles title for COBS 2017.
Wednesday also saw the $2K Open Senior Doubles for players ages 55 and over being played out in the Main Event Center at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort. The Veteran team of Phillip Haydon and Daymon Dennis were on the same team a day after they were matched up against each other in the Open Senior Singles to breeze through the Winner Bracket with one close game in the Winner Bracket Semis that barely saw them get over the line against Trellis Cisco and Roy Fields (21 – 20) to end up in the Winner Bracket Championship match. Trellis Cisco and Roy Fields would end up losing to Haseeb Habiban and Steve Sileo 21 – 16 in the L-Dog Bracket to make their way into the Championship matchup. Haseeb and Steve had nothing but tough matches in the Winners Bracket until they lost to Mike Schaffer and Rex Uhrig (21 – 13) only to setup a rematch with them in the Loser Bracket Final to redeem their earlier loss and make it back into the Championship match against the veterans Phillip Haydon and Daymon Dennis. They will need to thank Phil and Daymon who were the ones to beat Mike and Rex in the Winner Bracket Final (21 – 2) to enable the rematch to happen. All the stars were aligned on Championship Saturday for the Veterans Phil and Daymon that saw them win 21 – 10 and take home the Open Senior Doubles Title for COBS 2017. Daymon increased his tally of Wins on Championship Saturday to 2 after having won the Open Senior Singles against his team mate and friend Phillip Haydon while Phillip Haydon notched up in the Champions column by winning Open Senior Doubles Title.
Junior Doubles saw the pairing of Jamie Graham and Josh Holland go undefeated and win the Junior Doubles Title (21 – 3) after having to play each other for the Junior Singles Titles against each other. The final score does not do justice to how talented Harlee Culpepper and Duncan Clemmer are in this sport, 2 of the young up and comers in this sport that players will need to keep an eye on in the future. One of the most incredible sights you will see in any sport also took place in this event that saw 15-year old Dayton Webber throw lights out against some of the best junior in the sport. In case you are wondering, Dayton, an amputee is an amazing individual that shows there no limits and excels in any number of outdoor activities – be it hunting, dirt bike racing or the game of Cornhole.
The 2nd Big Open Blind Draw saw Jamie Graham and Brian Roth beat June Breakfield and Bret Guy twice in the Championship Match. June Breakfield and Bret Guy had some stiff competition and were tested on multiple occasions on their way to the Championship Match, while Jamie Graham and Brain Roth coasted to the Winner Bracket Final to lose 21 – 12 against June Breakfield and Bret Guy. They made sure they won the L-Dog Bracket Final to setup and rematch and double-dipped June and Bret in the Championship match to take home the victory.
The final event of Wednesday shows that the sport of Cornhole can be applied by anyone at all ages and levels making the 70+ Senior Singles one of the unique and exciting events to watch. Chic Roth barely lost his first matchup against Linson Funderburk 21 – 19 causing him to battle it out in the L-Dog Bracket all the way to the Championship match and setup a rematch against Linson. He redeemed his earlier loss by double-dipping Linson (21 – 16 and 21 – 8) to take home the 70+ Senior Singles Title for COBS 2017 season.
Thursdays proceedings kicked off with Competitive Doubles Event which involved all players that did not make it into the Top 64 Open Doubles Event. The championship match saw Ron Kugel and Jon Uransky in the driver’s seat against Chris Breadman Byers and Danny Williams. Chris Byers and Danny Williams lost to Mike Arrington Sr and David Gardner in the Winner Bracket Semis 21 – 9 to end up in the L-Dog Bracket and setup a rematch up in the L-Dog Bracket Final against Mike Arrington Sr and David Gardner and beat them 21 – 8 to put themselves back into the Championship Match for a shot at the Competitive Doubles Title against Ron Kugel and Jon Uransky. The Breadman and Danny Williams cooled off Ron Kugel and Jon Uransky with double dip victories of 21 – 6 and 21 – 8 in Games 1 and 2 respectively to take home the Competitive Doubles Title for COBS 2017 season.
Social Seniors Doubles event saw Bob Vonch and Allen Wingham beat Vance Moore and Jim Row 21 – 1 and go undefeated to take home the Social Seniors Doubles Title for COBS 2017 season. After the first 2 Big Open Blind Draws on Tuesday and Wednesday providing some exciting matches and champs, the 3rd Big Open Blind Draw was sure to live up to its expectations and it didn’t disappoint with 2 new champions being crowned. Lester Price was paired up with Mr. Airmails Only - Chan Hang against powerful team of Seth Eudy and Brian Lynn. Lester Price and Chan Hang had the driver’s seat in the championship while Seth Eudy and Brian Lynn lost in the Quarter Finals of the Winner bracket and went on a tear by keeping their opponents in the Loser Bracket to single digits to make it into the Championship match. Lester Price and Chan Hang proved too strong in the Championship match winning it 21 – 15 and ending it in one game.
Thursday’s events ended with one of the most exciting formats of Cornhole that brings team strategy and team play to the forefront with the 4-man Crew Cup Team Format where players from each team alternate throws. The Event Center at the Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort was simply buzzing with all players getting into intense team play that this format enables. The Social Crew Cup had some very unique and entertaining Team Names like “The Bobos”, “Corn On The Knob”, “BeefBox” to the more traditional names based on city “CharlestonCornhole” or surnames of the players “The Birds”. The final championship match had “FloRidas” led by Ryan Johnson, Will Smith, Rob Chismark and Ronnie Sue against “The Birds” led by Dillon Bird, Jarred Bird, Hattie Owle and Justin French that saw “The Birds” go undefeated and win a nail biter in the championship match 21 – 20 to close it out.
The final event of Thursday was the Open Crew cup that saw all the big names team up to form their 4-man crew that had its share of very close and exciting matches that came down to the final throw between a number of power house teams. Imagination with Team Names was on show with interesting names like “Four Horseman”, “Sexy Rexy”, “Insanity Gang”, “Who Was That”, “Stick In the Hole” and “Four Aces”. The Champs from COBS 2016 “Four Aces” lead by Scott Hurst went out early and could not REPEAT which meant we would crown new champions for COBS 2017 season. On the Winners side of the bracket “Guy Nation” led by father and son combination of Matt Guy (the No.2 player in ACL Overall Rankings), Bret Guy and Sean Short and Jay Dotson made their way into the Championship Match and put themselves in the driver’s seat while their opponents “Scrub Squad” lead by Allan Rockwell, James Baldwin, Jordan Camba (the No.1 player in ACL Overall Rankings) and Toby Smith lost early in Round 2 of the Winners Bracket to put themselves into the L-Dog Bracket and face some very close games that came down to the wire before they won and put themselves into the Championship Match. On Saturday with Crew Cup being the final event broadcast on ESPN – there was plenty of excitement and cheering from the audience for both teams that ended with Guy Nation taking home the Open Crew Cup Title for COBS 2017 season.
Thursday and Friday also saw the elimination and qualifying rounds to get into the Final 64 for both the Singles and Doubles and have a shot at $20k Singles Prize money and $10k Doubles Prize money. Competition was intense and certainly included in share of upsets that saw the COBS 2016 Dale Smith make it into the Final 64 but losing to Derek Holland in the L-Dog Bracket while Runner-up Scott Lane did not make it into the Final 64 this season. The Doubles saw the Veteran team of Phillip Haydon and Daymon Dennis make it through to the Final 64 but were knocked out early in the Finals 64 Doubles Bracket to ensure we would have a new Singles and Doubles Champion for COBS 2017 season.
ESPN3 kicked off the LIVE broadcast on Friday showcasing the Final 64 Open Singles Matches leading up to the Championship Match on Saturday. ESPN 2 and 3 simulcast Championship Saturday and kicked things off with Open Singles, followed by Open Doubles, Women’s Singles, Junior Singles, Open Senior Singles, Junior Doubles, Open Senior Doubles, Mixed Doubles, ACL Elite Only Blind Draw, Cornhole War and finally Open Crew Cup for a jam-packed lineup of matchups for ESPN.
Singles Champion Jordan Langworthy double dipped Matt Guy to capture the ACL Open Singles Championship at COBS 2017. The Match introduced a wide public audience to competitive cornhole on ESPN2. Read the full detailed report titled “Jordan Langworthy, not Spieth, Takes the $20,000 Open Singles Cornhole Championship Presented by Johnsonville at COBS 2017” with detailed statistics on the ACL website at http://www.iplayacl.com/newsdetails?newsid=50.
The ESPN coverage and Social Media following on both Twitter and Facebook turned “Championship Saturday” into an amazing spectacle for everyone to enjoy. Make sure to get all your friends and family together on Tuesday August 8th to catch rerun of Championships of Bags on ESPN8 "The Ocho" just after midday (12:30pm) or set it to record and watch it later . Full ESPN2 and ESPN3 broadcasts canbe seen on WatchESPN for 30 days after the event at www.espn3.com in the Replays section (Event Air date was July 21st 2017 at 6pm Eastern and July 22nd 2017 at 1pm and 3pm Eastern. The article titled “ESPN may have stumbled on the next summer smash hit, and it’s…cornhole” written by Matt Yoder at http://awfulannouncing.com/espn/espn-may-stumbled-next-big-thing-cornhole.html sums up the excitement and viewership surrounding the coverage of Cornhole on National Television.
Doubles Champs Matt Guy and Bret Guy beat Steve and Jenn Vanderver to ensure Matt Guy would go home with at least 1 Title from COBS 2017. Some of the powerhouse Doubles teams included Wally Justus with Eddie Justus, Allan Rockwell with James Baldwin, Dale Smith with Lester Price, Trevor Brooks with Tyler Poythress, Jimmy Allegra with Derek Holland, the Veterans Phillip Haydon with Daymon Dennis, Matt Guy and Bret Guy, Jay Dotson with Sean Short, Shane Andrews with Danny Blanks, Mike Schaffer with Rex Uhrig, Steve Vanderver with Jenn Vanderver, Scott Hurst with Trellis Cisco and many more which provided some intense and nail-biting matches in the $10k Open Doubles. The Final 4 in the Winner Bracket had Allan Rockwell with James Baldwin playing Scott Hurst and Trellis Cisco with Allan and James winning 21 – 14 to secure their place in the Winner Bracket Finals while the other Winner Bracket Semi-finals matchup was between Father and Son team of Matt and Bret Guy playing the Husband and Wife team of Steve and Jenn Vanderver that resulted in Matt and Bret winning a close match (21 – 18) to setup up a showdown against Allan and James in the Winner Bracket Final. Matt and Bret would prove too strong for Allan and James to win 21 – 8 and secure their place in the drivers seat of the Championship match. Allan and James setup a showdown against Steve and Jenn Vanderver in the Loser Bracket Final to see who have a shot at redemption and chance to double-drop Matt and Bret since they had both played them in the Winner Bracket. Steve and Jenn Vanderver took this opportunity to close it out 21 – 10 and setup a rematch on Championship Saturday that would be aired on ESPN. The Championship match resulted in father and son team of Matt and Bret Guy closing it out 21 – 9 in 11 rounds taking home the Doubles title from COBS 2017.
All Champions and Results from Championship Saturday can be seen below:
Special thanks from the American Cornhole League (ACL) to all our Event Sponsors (Johnsonville, AllCornhole, Samuel Adams, Angry Orchard, Twisted Tea), ESPN, Tupelo Raycom, and Harrah's Cherokee Casino Resort.
The ACL staff and partners that worked tirelessly to make this event happen include: Technology Partner (AppDesignGeeks), Broadcasters (Ryan Alessio, Trey Ryder, and Chris Hursey), ACL Directors (Dave Weiser, Eric Ryder) plus Stephanie Makarowski, Ryan Szarkowicz, Pete Sulski, Shelby Ryder, and Thrilla
Finally - Thanks to all the players for participating in Championships of Bags (COBS 2017) along with their friends and family that supported them. Next season will be even bigger and better – so get in where you fit in and throw it down with us in the 2017 – 2018 season.