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Badgers Cornhole team heading to Myrtle Beach for nationals

By Joel Phelps
The Arkadelphian

Four students from Arkadelphia High School will be heading to Myrtle Beach, S.C., to compete against some 250 other teams who have become involved in a backyard sport that has swept the nation.

The four members of the Arkadelphia Badgers Cornhole team headed to South Carolina for a national competition are Tucker Johnson, Matthew Porter, Tate Goodrum and Gray Manning. The nationals will be held from Dec. 31 through Jan. 2.

Corn hole teams popped up all across the U.S. during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, when sports arenas and live sports broadcasts were nil. Because corn hole — or bean bag toss — can be played by social distancing, teams took the backyard sport indoors and began broadcasting it live.

“When Covid came about it just exploded in popularity across the nation,” said Jason Hunt, who was integral in the formation of the A-Town Baggerz team two years ago. “It was the only sport allowed to be played at the national level because you could social distance while you play. It was the only sport we could watch.”

Since starting A-Town Baggerz, Hunt has been named Arkansas state director for the ACL. When Hunt isn’t busy heading the Arkadelphia Fire Department as its fire chief, he’s got his hands full with bag toss. 

A-Town Baggerz has grown to include about 50 players who compete regularly against other teams in the American Cornhole League. Members of the team compete nearly every weekend, traveling as far away as neighboring states for competitions.

ACL has a high school series that allows schools to participate and earn scholarships. Two months ago, Hunt approached AHS principal Callie Hunley about the idea of forming a local high school team, and with Hunley’s support the team started.

This Saturday, several AHS students competed at Henderson State University in a qualifier to send four students to nationals. The AHS Badgers Cornhole team will compete in singles, doubles and four-player team events when they head to Myrtle Beach.

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