Competitive cornhole: The fastest growing 'sport' in Phoenix

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Competitive cornhole is growing in Valley popularity. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Competitive cornhole is growing in Valley popularity. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Each Wednesday night, Edlund, Freund and throwers from all over the Valley dawn their jerseys and play for cash at The Hub Bar and Grill in Mesa. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Each Wednesday night, Edlund, Freund and throwers from all over the Valley dawn their jerseys and play for cash at The Hub Bar and Grill in Mesa. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Competitors can take home $500 this weekend at Foothills Golf Club, with proceeds going to a good cause. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Competitors can take home $500 this weekend at Foothills Golf Club, with proceeds going to a good cause. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

If you had the television on over Fourth of July weekend, you might have noticed a new "sport" taking top billing. 

Competitive cornhole was broadcast for the first time by ESPN. The sport has skyrocketed in recent years in the U.S. and its popularity is growing in the Valley.

"If it's on ESPN, I believe it's a professional sport," said Jack Edlund, a cornhole competitor from Arizona. 

"If you win money, it's kind of a professional sport," said Andy Freund, a fellow cornhole competitor with Edlund.

Each Wednesday night, Edlund, Freund and throwers from all over the Valley don their jerseys and play for cash at The Hub Bar and Grill in Mesa. It's fitting that the parking places that are sectioned off for the competition are exactly 27 feet wide, the regulation size of a competitive cornhole court.  

[SPECIAL SECTION: Sports in Arizona]

More than 28 teams showed up at last week's Wednesday night throwing session.

"Play three nights a week," said Tim Baldry, one of the event organizers. "This is a fun event because anybody can come out. You don't have to be a professional but at the level these guys play at, it's a professional league. There's money to be made. Most people take in $10 a player. Some teams can win $75-$100 a night, which is not bad."

The cornhole community is close. Competitors can take home $500 this weekend at Foothills Golf Club, with proceeds going to a good cause. Baldry will try to raise money for a friend, Kandi Kay Davies, who's fighting cancer.

"She's one of my clients," said Baldry, who is an insurance agent and also owns a gym. "She found out Memorial Day Weekend that she had cancer. She had to come back in two weeks and have surgery. We're trying to help her with medical bills and time off work."

It's a family sport, with fathers and sons showing up at the Hub to throw on Wednesdays. But is it really a sport if competitors are drinking beer?

"When you come to cornhole, you have to have a beer," said Beth Hanson. "Always new faces here. It's definitely growing fast."

"There are guys on the East Coast who play holding a Bud," said Edlund. "I tried once and spilled all over my shirt.

How much will cornhole's popularity continue to rise? On July 24, the American Cornhole Association will hold its World Championships in Montgomery, Alabama with $68,000 up for grabs. Also, mark down this day as the first time cornhole appeared on the sports report.

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