cornhole

American Cornhole League Lands National TV Contract During Pandemic

Old backyard favorite, with two competitors from North Texas, gains unexpected exposure while other sports are shut down.

NBCUniversal, Inc.

Steve Wendling picked up cornhole as a youngster in Ohio.

“First started playing as most people do. Graduation, backyard, tailgate,” said Wendling a Fort Worth resident.

Todd Bridgeman started to play around his neighborhood when he moved to Texas eight years ago.

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Now the pair form a dynamic duo in the American Cornhole League.

“I’m a little more of the ground attack," said Bridgeman, a Roanoke resident. "He's (Wendling) more of the air show.”

One of the great things about this old backyard favorite is COVID-19 hasn’t stopped Wendling and Bridgeman from playing the game they love.

The ACL inked a deal with ESPN to televise six tournaments during this slow time in sports. Wendling said the event in Galveston last weekend, which required competitors to wear masks for safety reasons, was unlike any other cornhole competition.

“With the lights of the cameras and the lighting overhead, it was even warmer up there on the stage and it was difficult to breath at times,” Wendling said.

But at least the show could go on, giving cornhole exposure those in the sport could never have imagined.

“Cornhole is the first sport to go live TV since the social distancing and the lockdown," Wendling said. "So it’s great for the game.”

“They see how good a lot of players are," Bridgeman said. "They're like, ‘Wow. I never imagined that.’ So it’s been great exposure.”

Cornhole has proved to be the perfect game for those thirsty for competition during a pandemic.

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