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CORNHOLE, ANYONE? Albany couple builds, customizes lawn games

By   /   September 14, 2011  /   Comments

She's got game: Albany's Susan Geeslin not only holds her own in cornhole competition, she and her husband, Arnold, design and build the games for a growing customer base. The regulation-size game sets are portable and the Geeslins' specialty is creating platforms with collegiate themes.

By Kevin Hogencamp

 

It’s a career change that Albany retiree Susan Geeslin could never have fathomed: From educator to making and peddling cornhole games.

Cornhole?

You bet.

Cornhole is a lawn game in which players take turns throwing beanbags (actually duck cloth bags filled with feed corn) onto a raised wooden platform with a hole in it. Over the past several years, cornhole has evolved from a simple backyard pastime into one of America’s most popular and competitive social activities, especially at tailgate parties, bars and family get-togethers. Indeed, an Albany cornhole association is forming.

Like horseshoes, Cornhole is not difficult to learn to play and is not physically demanding as horseshoes. Unlike horseshoes, it’s perfectly safe and can be played indoors or outdoors.

“Not long ago I hadn’t heard of cornhole,” said Geeslin.“Someone said they were playing cornhole at Seaside and I said, ‘What?’ And then I saw how it was played at the beach and you can see why it’s so popular. Anyone can play it just about anywhere …

“It can be highly competitive or laughable, both very fun and addictive. Hopefully, Albany will catch the cornhole fever.”

Geeslin is a familiar face in Albany, especially around games. She taught physical education for 25 years – five at Deerfield-Windsor, five at Riverview Academy, and 15 at Lake Park Elementary. She served as the Dougherty County School System elementary school physical education coordinator for five years.

Geeslin’s husband, Arnold, is a contractor with an engineering degree. He started building the games in his shop a couple of months ago; Susan paints them in her garage and decorates them. Most of the Geeslins’ creations have collegiate themes – from the University of Georgia (the most popular) to Auburn University (Susan’s and Arnold’s alma mater) to Albany State University.

“We felt there was a market for the games, as we could not find a quality craftsmanship game being sold in the area …” she said. “He (Arnold) is very meticulous and precise when he is building the cornhole games. He developed the concept of using latches to attach the two sides of the game and also the collapsible legs to be stored in the back of the boards.”

Already filling orders for Christmas presents and for tailgate parties on college campuses, the Geeslins have discovered a niche because they construct their games based on custom orders, specialize in collegiate themes, and design their games so that they can be easily carried and stored.

Cornhole can be played as either singles or doubles, like tennis. A cornbag in the hole scores three points, while one on the platform scores one point. Play continues until a player reaches the score of 21. Scoring in the game can be swift and the lead may change hands several times in a match before the winner is decided. The game is generally played tournament style with an individual or team being named the champion at the end of the tournament.

The Geeslins have some local and internet competition, but they aren’t aware of anyone in the Albany area selling high-quality, custom-built games with corn bags as little as $100; basic, uncustomized sets with bags are $80.

“We hope we’re onto something,” Susan Geeslin said. “It’s certainly fun trying.”

 

Cornhole terms

          Following is a list of selected terms commonly used in a cornhole game:

Ace or cow pie: A bag lands on the board, which is worth one point.

Airmail: A bag that lands directly in the hole without making any contact with other areas of the board. Sometimes referred to as “swishing”.

Back door: A cornhole that goes over the top of a blocker and into the hole.

Backstop: A bag that lands past the cornhole but remains on the board creating a backboard for a slider to knock into without going off the board.

Blocker: An ace that lands in front of the hole, essentially blocking the hole from sliders.

Cornfusion: When players or teams cannot agree on the scoring.

Dirty bag: A bag that is on the ground or is hanging off the board touching the ground.

Frame: A frame consists of both players throwing their 4 bags. After each player has thrown 4 bags, the score is calculated and a new frame begins. Sometimes referred to as “corn row”.

Leprechaun: When a player attains all four bags onto the board without getting any into the hole.

Police: The cornhole referee.

 

To buy a game

Customer orders can be made by calling Susan Geeslin at (229) 347-2290 or e-mailing her at geeslins@mchsi.com. Click here for a brochure.

 

Cornhole in Albany

The newly formed Albany GA Cornhole Association will debut with a tournament at nights@Dtown at 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 23 on the Government Center parking deck at Jackson Street and Broad Avenue. The event is for ages 21 and up. To enter the tournament or for information about playing cornhole in Albany, e-mail news@thealbanyjournal.com.

 

 

 

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