Cornhole Becomes a Professional Sport

Cornhole Becomes a Professional Sport

Cornhole Becomes a Professional Sport The American Cornhole League (ACL) is an official league in the US – and it works just like any other professional sports league. It has a Pro league and an Open league.

Madison does not have its own Pro league team, but it does have Mad City Cornhole. Stacey and Aaron Washa started Mad City Cornhole. For three years, it has been a place for players in the Madison area to compete in the Open League level.

Stacey Washa is also the ACL Director for Wisconsin and the North Regional Director for the Pro League. She says she and her husband Aaron started competing in cornhole in 2016. However, most professional tournaments were far away from Madison.

Aaron realized players from the area were driving over an hour and a half on weeknights just to play in local tournaments. So in August 2021, the couple started Mad City Cornhole.

Since 2021, Mad City Cornhole has attracted all kinds of players, from professionals to gold medalists. Derek Gordon has played competitive cornhole for 3 years after a friend needed an extra player for a bar league.

This past weekend, Jennica, who started playing when her husband introduced her to the game, won the gold medal in cornhole at the 2024 Special Olympics Summer Games. She says winning gold was her best cornhole memory ever.

While professional cornhole is similar to backyard games, there are some key differences. The ACL uses special stamped bags required for competitive and pro events. These bags have two different sides – a grip side to stick to the board, and a glide side to slide across it.

The ACL season runs from October to August. And Mad City Cornhole is joining in.

Stacey says starting Mad City Cornhole was something she could do with her husband, but it became much bigger. “Anyone can play and win at cornhole,” she says, from 5-year-olds to 30-year-olds, those with injuries or disabilities.

Mad City Cornhole hosts games every Monday at Pooley’s Bar from 6:15-10pm, and every other Friday in fall. Playing is open to all ages, with social play costing $5, intermediate $10, and competitive $20.

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