AP NEWS

Cornhole tournament offers new experience

May 27, 2019

BULLHEAD CITY — The father-and-son team of Rob Mendez Sr. and Rob Mendez Jr. had a simple reason for taking part in the Bullhead City Recreation Division’s Cornhole Under the Stars tournament at Rotary Park.

“Any chance we can to get into a tournament ...” Mendez Jr. said.

Friday night’s tournament — the city’s first venture in open-to-the-general-public cornhole competition — drew 14 two-player teams.

“I got a picture sent to me by a buddy,” Mendez Jr. said, pulling out his cellphone to display a photo of a flyer that had been posted at a convenience store.

Others saw news of the event in the Mohave Valley Daily News or on the internet. A few were coaxed into playing after being told about the event by a friend or family member.

“We saw it online,” said Chad Townsend, who with Rob Berger formed “Team ’Merica” for the competition. “We live in Kingman.”

“We saw it on Facebook,” added Sherry Townsend, Chad’s wife. “We came down from Kingman so they could play.”

Chad said his strategy is to find his groove and let muscle memory take over.

“You just want to throw consistent,” he said. “It’s kind of like bowling.”

He used the underhand pitching motion of his arm as to show the optimal form.

“You don’t want to go too far this way,” he said, swinging his right arm slightly across his body, demonstrating a toss that would wind up off to the left.

“And you don’t want to go too far that way,” he added, swinging the arm slightly away from his body for a toss that would wind up off to the right.

“You want to go as straight as possible.”

Chad said he has been playing cornhole for “about two or three years.”

Sherry said it has become a frequent game for gatherings of family and friends.

“We play a lot with friends,” she said. “We make up tournaments and games. You can make fun games out of it.”

She said that recently a cornhole tournament broke out as an activity at a baby shower.

“You can play in the backyard, any time,” she said.

“It’s a good, old-fashioned backyard game,” Chad agreed.

Rob Mendez Sr. said that he and his son “always play as a team.”

“Always,” it should be noted, extends for their entire six-month career as cornhole players.

They both laughed at that point.

“Since October,” Mendez Jr. said.

But, he added, since then they’ve played frequently, with varying degrees of success.

“We’ve lost a lot to win a little,” he said.

Ashlee Bennett, recreation supervisor for Bullhead City, said Friday’s event was the department’s first foray into an event dedicated solely to cornhole competition.

“This is our first open adult cornhole tournament,” she said. “We’ve had cornhole as a component in our Senior Games.”

Anderson Auto Group served as the official sponsor for the tournament, providing several sets of cornhole boards to augment the city’s Senior Games boards.

“We’re looking to do different events,” Bennett said. “We’re trying to do one event like this every month.”

Last month, the city conducted a pickleball tournament on the new courts at Rotary Park. Next month, the city is partnering with Riviera Marina to conduct a striper fishing derby, to be held June 8-9. And on July 20, the recreation division will conduct its Splash Bash to mark the end of a short summer season before students return to school.

The events are family-friendly with activities geared to all age groups.

As part of the Splash Bash, there will be a night-time movie showing at Ken Fovargue Park. Bennett said the film selection will be up to the public to decide.

“We’re going to have a movie night,” she said, “and a public vote to pick the movie.”

As for the first cornhole tournament, Bennett termed it a success.

“Good turnout for the first one,” she said.

For some, it was the start of the Memorial Day weekend. For others, it was just an opportunity to take part in a fun event.

“We came down from Kingman for this,” Sherry Townsend said. “It’s a good, fun community event.”

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