Cornhole Helps Frazier Bag Spot On TV

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Whether you call it cornhole, bags, bean bag toss or something entirely different, chances are you’ve probably played some form of the game where players take turns tossing bags full of corn, beans or sand onto a board 27-feet away, with hopes of sinking it in a hole at the top of the board.

Cornhole (let’s stick with this one for the time being) has been a staple of back yard barbecues, tailgates and bars since the 1980s, if not before, but over the last 20 years or so, the game has  exploded and gone from these cozy locales to stadiums and nationally televised tournaments.

Litchfield High School grad Jeremy Frazier can attest to the rise of cornhole first hand as his path with the game has mimicked the sport’s increase in popularity.

“I’ve always played in the backyard, but I saw they were doing a blind draw up in Taylorville and a buddy and I went up to it,” said Frazier, who now lives in Morrisonville. “Ever since then, I started going to more and more tournaments and winning more and more money.”

What started out as a fun thing to do on the weekend has turned into a lucrative side hobby for Frazier, who has won as much as $1,500 at an event.

In addition to the money and good times with his fellow players, another added bonus has also emerged for the former Purple Panther, the opportunity to be on television.

On June 18-19, Frazier joined seven other elite players from the St. Louis area at the USA Cornhole (USAC) Club Championships at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, TN, which will be broadcast on the NBC Sports Network at 9 p.m. on Friday, June 25. 

Frazier and the rest of the Missouri Cornhole Association team were the top seed in the seven-team championship bracket and went on to advance to the finals, where they took on Michigan-based Big Shots Cornhole.

“We played where the Nashville Predators play. We walked into the arena and there were just boards everywhere,” Frazier said on the experience of playing in the USAC Club Championships.

The quarterfinals and semifinals of the bracket featured five games: men’s and women’s singles, men’s and women’s doubles and co-ed doubles, with the team to win three of the five matches advancing to the next round.

In the championship match, the format changed to award points for different wins, with men’s doubles worth the most.

“I played men’s doubles all the way up until the broadcast, then I switched to co-ed,” Frazier explained, saying that two of the other players on his team were a little more experienced. “They’re pros and have been playing forever. That’s the game that we needed to win and we won it.”

The switch would put Frazier and his partner up against one of the top female players in the country and her partner, and while they weren’t able to pull out the victory in that match, the experience of winning the tournament and playing on TV made up for the defeat.

“Growing up I always wanted to make it to the pros in baseball or golf, but I think this is just as cool,” said Frazier, who played both sports at Litchfield before graduating in 2019. “It was a great experience to play on TV. My family and I are going to go watch it at Buffalo Wild Wings, I think.”

The trip to Nashville may have been the biggest of Frazier’s cornhole career, but it won’t be the last tournament he enters. The sport is growing by leaps and bounds, with the USAC lobbying to make it an Olympic event in the future.

While Frazier mostly plays in blind draws and small tournaments in the St. Louis area, where he can win as much as $1,000 a night, the world’s best players are making more than that... much more.

“They’re predicting that the top players could be making six figures in the next five years,” said Frazier, who also works at the Secretary of State office in Springfield. “It’s definitely different at a big tournament. Everyone is in a jersey. Everyone is there to win money. Some people do this for a living, but right now, I’m just having fun.”

The sport gives Frazier the opportunity to hang out with some of his best friends, including girlfriend Courtney Coy, who also played on the team that won the club championships, while keeping that competitive edge that drove him in sports like baseball and golf.

“If you have to have a bag in the hole to win, your adrenaline gets going just like any other sport,” said Frazier. “Obviously the goal is to make them all, but there are a bunch of strategies. I miss more than I want to, but I’ve beaten some of the top of the line pros who have been on TV a lot.”

And while Frazier is still young, unlike baseball or some other sports, cornhole is a game that knows no age.

“One of the best players in the world is a 72-year-old man and he just does not miss the hole,” Frazier said. “He doesn’t do anything fancy, he just throws it right down the middle.”

Whether you’re 21 or 72, that’s the draw of cornhole. It’s competitive and it’s laid back. It’s challenging and it’s simple. It’s great for athletes and for people that might not know a baseball bat from a broom handle. It truly is for everyone.

“It’s a great game. Anyone can do it,” Frazier said. “That’s why we love it.”

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