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How the King of Cornhole started

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King of Cornhole!
King of Cornhole!
American Cornhole Organization
 

So, how did the “King of Cornhole” start? Here's an exclusive article from Matt Gray, who works at the American Cornhole Organization.

A co-worker from Kentucky told me about the game in 2001. I played the game at a friend's party in 2002. It gave me the idea to borrow something from the past to push forward into the future. I worked at WKRP-TV Cincinnati. The Monday after the party I approached my boss about doing a weekly cornhole called the King of Cornhole.

The show concept was patterned after a local bowling show I watched as a kid called the King of TV Bowling. Every week players would play a tournament. The winner of the tournament would move on to play the reigning king. My boss wasn't interested in doing the show and the idea went on the back burner. Meanwhile, I continued doing recreational events with my company Gamemasters (Doug Hopkins is also co-owner). The KOC was always in the back of my mind.

I've always approached alternative sports from a television background. Imitate the other pro leagues that allow viewers to follow players throughout the year rather than at one event. I want fans to follow Matt Guy and Steve Vanderver all year and not just at one event.

In the summer of 2006, I decided to do the show through my company Gamemasters. With the help of a few friends and buying airtime on the station, the King of Cornhole was born. We did five episodes, awarded $1,000 a week and it started a new journey.

Doug and I shared a vision of doing what other professional organizations do. Nascar has the race for the Sprint cup. PGA has the race for the Fedex Cup. AVP has the Crocs Cup. I've always felt the King of Cornhole was about the chase for the crown. How do players get to the KOC? Earn CornyForty points at pro events. Make the CornyForty and you go to the KOC. It's pretty cool to see how this original vision is now a reality.

Doug and I met Frank through Rick Taylor. I first met Ricky Taylor at the Century Inn during the first week of qualifiers for the KOC. He would not stop talking about American Cornhole. One night after a tv taping at Hippo Joe's, he took Doug and I out to his pickup truck to sell us on how great the ACO product was. Doug and I thought the product was first class. A couple weeks later Doug and I met Frank.

At the time, American Cornhole was just a products company. But Frank was looking beyond products and he approached Gamemasters to run cornhole events. However, Doug and I were more interested in continuing our vision of the KOC.

We soon discovered Frank's vision and our vision were one in the same. In 2007, Doug and I made the decision to move forward with a relationship with Frank and the ACO.

Matt Guy, having recently won the ACO Nationals in December 2006, was awarded the title of King of Cornhole. He's held the crown ever since.

The last three years have been an interesting ride. We're always trying to improve the sport, while also providing a fun atmosphere for people who enjoy the game."

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