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Competitive cornhole leagues rise in popularity

Cornhole, the popular backyard picnic game that you've likely played, is seeing a huge surge in popularity in Kansas ...

Posted: Jul. 18, 2018 10:46 PM
Updated: Jul. 18, 2018 10:46 PM

Cornhole, the popular backyard picnic game that you've likely played, is seeing a huge surge in popularity in Kansas City.

One sports league shared the numbers with KCTV5 News showing how it went from simple fun to competitive leagues in no time.

Whether you call it cornhole, bags or bean bag toss, there's no debating the popularity of the game. The sport is taking off.

"It's very much a social aspect to it you don't need to be a big athlete to do it," Tyler Holcomb said.

Holcomb just recently moved to Kansas City, and cornhole has been his gateway to making new friends.

"Very much just a good time and you have fun doing it," he explained.

He's not alone. Multiple nights each week you'll find cornhole leagues at Berkley Riverfront Park. It's just one of about a dozen sporting leagues offered by KC Crew.

Luke Wade is a website developer who started the organization.

"About six years ago, I got sick of driving 30 minutes to play volleyball and softball when I lived and worked downtown. It didn't make any sense," he said.

The software he created allows online sign-ups, registration, waiver releases, drafting, scheduling and payment all in one system

It was something Kansas City had never seen, especially downtown. It is a simple way to get involved in recreational sports.

In the first year, 1,000 people signed up. Currently, 10,000 people are now in leagues through KC Crew.

"I had no idea this would turn into a business or what it is today and it's exciting because the people in kc are the proof behind the pudding. They're the reason we've grown because people keep coming back because of the people in the league," Wade said.

When ESPN began airing competitive cornhole about three years ago, KC Crew jumped on board.

The numbers show its popularity has soared. Take a look at their participant growth:

2015 - 25 participants

2016 - 125 participants

2017 - 350 participants

One of those players is Erika Lehrer.

"I think I like the fact that I don't have to sweat as much as the volleyball players. It's been nice to have a calmer atmosphere still feel involved. The backdrops also amazing – you couldn't have a better view of Kansas City," she said.

Sign-ups for the fall cornhole leagues will take place the week of July 16. You can sign up at Anybody age 18 and up can play.

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