• The first regional ACO cornhole tournament in Tipton County was held last month at the old Brighton High School gym.

Five years ago Lynda Oglesby won a cornhole set at a local chili cook off.

She had never played the game, which involves throwing bean bags toward a board with a hole in it.

But Oglesby was willing to give it a try, so she set the boards up in her backyard and started tossing.

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“I couldn’t hit the boards and when I did they slid off,” Oglesby says.

She got a little better as time went on and she decided to enter a tournament.

“I got beat so bad,” Oglesby says with a laugh. “it was embarrassing, so I went back to the yard and kept playing and learning.”

Now Oglesby is a cornhole world champion and she is trying to grow the sport in Tipton County.

Oglesby and Maggie Geiger won the American Cornhole Organization world doubles competition three months ago in Columbia, S.C. It was her first world title after placing third last year in Las Vegas.

She hosted the first local ACO regional tournament Sept. 12 at the old Brighton High School gym with 84 people competing for titles in juniors, singles and doubles. Players from Mississippi, Arkansas, Kentucky and West Tennessee took part. There were 15 juniors (under 18) who competed, which Oglesby is particularly excited about.

“Eighty-four players, that’s big,” Oglesby says. “That’s like a major event. I’m so excited the sport is growing in our area. To have 15 compete in juniors, that’s great. I really want the kids involved.”

The second ACO regional at the old BHS gym is next Saturday, Oct. 17, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. She said everybody from pros to those just getting started are welcome to compete. You can email Oglesby at pguloglesby@gmail.com for more information.

When Oglesby started getting serious about cornhole, a lot of her friends were surprised to to hear the sport is more than just something to do at a tailgate party.

“They used to be real surprised,” Oglesby says. “They were like, ‘Are you serious? No way.’ We are so behind the northern states. Up north and in California, it’s huge with lots of big tournaments. We are catching up, though.”

In an official cornhole event, the boards are 27 feet apart and competitors take turns tossing four bags underhanded. Money can be made by the best players. Oglesby won $600 at a recent event. When she competes at an upcoming event in Florida, $3,500 will be up for grabs.

Regional events, like the one at Brighton next Saturday, are more about having fun.

“It’s for people who want to play and want to get better,” Oglesby says. “If you start playing and you can hit the board and you’re pretty decent, when you start playing competitively it only makes you better. You have to step up or you’re going to sit out. These people are stepping up. This young guys and girls, they are slinging the bag. They are fierce and they are good.”

Oglesby has plans to contact Tipton County Schools officials in an attempt to get the sport in schools.

“If you’ve never been to one you need to come see what I’m talking about. It’s a blast. It’s very competitive, but everyone is laughing and talking. You make good friends. I’ve met a lot of great people playing this sport. It’s just a big family. Everybody gets along.”

 

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