Cornhole Boards

The History of Cornhole: An Awesome Game with An Uncertain Origin

 

It’s a feud that rivals the Hatfield’s and McCoy’s: the McGillicuddy’s versus the Kuepermann’s…versus the Native Americans…versus Cincinnati football fans.

History of Cornhole

Who created cornhole?

Where did it come from?

How did it begin?

And why doesn’t the corn inside the bags pop in the sun?

The available information surrounding the beginning of the popular tailgate game is murky at best, and contradictory at worst, making the history of cornhole a veritable mystery.

However, in this article, I will explore some of the possible origins of the game and attempt to answer some of the important, burning questions you must have about how cornhole was created.

Read here: The 7 Most Asked Questions about Cornhole Boards

Did Native Americans Invent Cornhole?

Some say the history of cornhole dates back to the Native Americans who inhabited the Midwest region of the United States.

Rumors of games involving dried animal bladders filled with beans being tossed at holes in the ground indeed sound a lot like modern cornhole, but no one has ever been able to produce concrete evidence that this game was ever played.

However, it’s certainly not out of the realm of possibility; other sports that the Native Americans are credited with creating include soccer and lacrosse – perhaps they played an early version of cornhole too, and it was picked up by the colonists who settled in North America.

Some Believe Matthias Kuepermann Invented Cornhole

We now travel back to the 14th century, where legends state that a Bavarian villager named Matthias Kuepermann crafted the first set of cornhole boards and bags.

The legend goes that he was walking through a field, when he came upon a group of children tossing rocks into a hole in the ground.

Being a stand-up citizen, Mr. Kuepermann was concerned that the children may get hurt throwing rocks. He returned to his workshop and used leftover materials to create a rudimentary cornhole board, and filled a sack with beans to replace the rocks.

He introduced this game to the village children, and it allegedly exploded in popularity so much that German people migrating to the United States brought the game with them on their journey.

Again, this is a reasonable story without definitive proof; many families in Ohio have German heritage, so it is possible that cornhole was a family tradition for many in the Midwest that more recently gained national attention.


Jebediah McGillicuddy: Yet Another Contender for Inventor of Cornhole

Here’s where things get a little touchy.

Kentuckians claim that a farmer from their state, named Jebediah McGillicuddy, invented cornhole with materials he had around his farm, as a game to pass the time with his friends and family.

He soon discovered how popular the game was and made more sets for people in the community.

Cornhole exploded in popularity (especially in the Midwest) and it grew into the revolution we see today.

Now, this version of the history of cornhole is a slight variation from the general consensus that cornhole originated in Ohio.

However, given that the two states border each other, and that Kentucky also had a significant German immigrant population, this story is not drastically different than the previous two.

Plus, given that Kentucky is the home of the 7-time ACO tournament champion Matt Guy (who happens to be a major fan of Slick Woody’s), they’ve got another tie to cornhole fame!

Matt Guy



 

How We Ended up with Modern Cornhole

And so we’ve come to modern cornhole, the popular tailgate game that so many of us enjoy.

But wait – what’s the history of cornhole? Who really invented it?

The truth is that we will probably never know for sure.

However, after scouring the Internet, I’ve come to the conclusion that all three stories very well could be true.

Think about it; tossing rocks into a hole is not a particularly complex game design.

It’s entirely possible that more than one person or group of people had similar ideas about rock tossing, and that those games developed separately, converging in the Midwest where those groups of people came together. That is the one fact that is not disputed: modern cornhole has its roots in the Midwest, and specifically Ohio.

Check out this blog:  The 5 Perfect Occasions for Custom Cornhole Board Sets

Cornhole player Slick Woodys

Cincinnati football fans are credited with bringing the first cornhole set to tailgate games, and it truly did explode in popularity from there.

While cornhole can be seen at a variety of events in the Midwest including graduation parties, weddings, and family get-togethers, it is nationally known in the realm of tailgating. It is gaining popularity nationwide (the national tournaments are now featured on ESPN) but no one denies the overwhelming presence of cornhole in the Midwest.


After reading this article, I hope that you have a better grasp on the history of cornhole, and all the strange connections that have lead to the modern version of the game. While no ancient cornhole fossils have turned up to lead us to the truth of cornhole history, the rumors and legends paint a picture that can help us understand where the popular game has come from.


Oh, and the corn doesn’t pop in the heat of the sun because it would have to be about 450 degrees Fahrenheit outside before the kernels would pop. We tackle the important questions here at Slick Woody’s.

Corn filled bags vs. Resin Filled Bags.  Check out this fun blog article on cornhole bags.





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Katherine Reolfi

Katherine Reolfi


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