Points are based on how teams place in the tournament matches. To maintain professional status, a player must participate in at least two professional tournaments a year, as well as rank in the top 64 players. To qualify as a world champion, a player must rank in the top 40. As an added bonus, champions are given the honor of having their own official ACO trading card.
Waiting in line to collect his winnings was a former champion Jay Dodson and his assigned partner. They'd never met before, but he couldn't have been more proud of their winning match.
Dodson, who is well known in the cornhole community, began his career by playing horseshoes with his grandpa. Building on those skills and a work schedule change more amenable to practice, Dodson was able to devote more time to his new sport. With three years of professional play under his belt, he owns a 2010 championship along with doubles partner Brandon Hill.
Forsee, like Dodson, has been playing cornhole for three years. When asked how he trained for these major tournaments, he said he practiced every day and played every weekend in tournaments back home in Cincinnati.
Professional cornhole players practice with regulation ACO equipment. Boards and bags can be purchased from the ACO website, explained Wayne Young of Eastern Shore, Maryland. This way, a player becomes familiar with the weight and feel of the six-inch square, sixteen-ounce bags used in sanctioned tournaments.
The humidity Friday night did not provide ideal playing conditions, observed West Virginia ACO representative Dale Shobe of Point Pleasant. The moisture prevents the bags from gliding smoothly on the cornhole boards. Rainy conditions would make playing nearly impossible. Since the regulation equipment is purchased by the players themselves - costing upwards of nearly $430 - it is up to them to manage their own equipment, rain or shine.
Shobe beamed with pride as he looked on the field of cornhole players. Opening his arms wide, he said, "It's like a family."