All photos by Zachariah Bryan
Over forty teams participated in the Ballard Elks event, "Beers, bags & boards," making it the second largest Cornhole tournament in the Pacific Northwest. (Click on picture to view slideshow)

SLIDESHOW: Second largest PNW Cornhole tournament hosted in Ballard

The Ballard Elks originally planned for their event, "Beers, bags & boards," to be the largest cornhole tournament in the Pacific Northwest. Instead, they got second largest.

Over 40 teams participated in the event, while the largest tournament -- the ALS Corntoss Challenge at Safeco Field on June 23 -- had 64 teams.

"I think we should've been first," Ballard Elk member Katrina Sigurdson joked. "This has been really great … we're hoping this is the start of more events to come."

What is "cornhole" exactly? It's a bean bag toss-like game where contestants must try to get the bag through the hole in the board opposite them. As for the name, it is quite literal; traditionally the bean bag is filled with dried corn. So, corn + hole = "cornhole."

The game is popular in the Midwest and is thought to originate from Cincinatti, OH, said Brian Thiel, coordinator for Cornhole Washington.

However, there are multiple conflicting tall tales of where cornhole came from, including a German man's barn during the medieval ages, the farmlands of Kentucky and a Native American game originating in Illinois (albeit in place of a bag filled with corn they used a pig bladder filled with dried beans).

Whatever the case, there is no denying that the game has become very popular in the Midwest specifically. Thiel, who came from Ohio, said he wanted to bring the game to Washington and spread it around.

"It's a game that anyone can play," he said. "Cornhole is really about the social aspect. … You are meeting people, enjoying drinks too."

He has already garnered interest in Everett, Tacoma, and Seaside, OR. Now he hopes to bring the game to Seattle and wants to plan more events in the area.

"It's all about connecting players from all around the Northwest," Thiel said.

Proceeds from "Beers, Bags & Boards" are going to the Children's Hospital. Participants each had to pay $20 to get into the tournament.

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