Perhaps it is the name that has driven the Cornhole game out of the Longview limelight, or it could be people in East Texas have begun to opt for the more sophisticated yard games like Bocce Ball or Quoits, both of which sound suspiciously as if they originated in a foreign country.

Not Cornhole. It is fully American.

But for whatever reasons, Gregg County once had an entire league dedicated to Cornholing weekly at a local Longview bar. These days, however, Longview Cornhole enthusiast John Seymour says, there isn't enough interest to get a group together to keep the games going on.

"When I first started playing there was a good size group, anywhere from 12-18 people, playing in a league at Pat's Pub in Longview," Seymour said. "Once it closed down the numbers went down considerably. Another league started playing at the VFW but again, people lost interest and it ended as well."

Seymour says Longview still has several talented Cornhole aficionados but they have been relegated to out-of-town sites to play their favorite game. Currently Murchison — a tiny town in Henderson County — has become the Cornhole hot-seat with a regular group meeting at the Red Bull Saloon.

Origins of Cornhole

Stories abound concerning how — and when — the Cornhole game came into being. Some say it can be traced back to the royal courts of England, though perhaps it was named something a bit more royally.

Others contend it began in South America.

The most enduring story is that it began in Cincinnati — a city nicknamed "Porkopolis" — in the city's rougher working-class section. Cincinnati officials themselves claim the game as their own, which is more than any other city, though some vote for the rural areas of Kentucky.

Some of the larger Cornhole events are staged in Cincinnati and are diligently reported on by the members of the media and drawing thousands of spectators.

Even if Cornhole did not originate in Cincinnati, the citizens there are easily amused.

The Zen of Cornhole

You might think of Cornhole as a mixture of washer-pitching, horseshoes and a beanbag toss, in some cases mixed with a drinking game.

The equipment — which can be inexpensive or extremely pricey if customized — amounts to two Cornhole boards which sit on the ground with an upward tilt and hole near the top and eight bean bags, four for each opponent or team.

The boards are placed 27 feet apart and the object is to stand on one end and throw a beanbag into the hole of the board on the other end.

First, players must decide who will throw first which, by long-standing Cornhole tradition, is the ugliest person. In some cases this could be a difficult decision.

Then it is a simple matter of tossing the bags.

According to the official Cornhole rules, getting the bag in the hole is called, "Corn in the Hole" and scores three points. A bag that doesn't go into the hole but stays on the board is called a "Woody" and scores one point.

In the event that one player tosses all four bags into the hole he is dubbed The Great Cornholio. All present are required to bow down in reverence.

The only tricky part about the Cornhole game is scoring as only one team actually can earn points. Points cancel each other out, so if the red team scores six points and the blue team gets four, the red team gets to keep two points while the blue team gets zero. First team to get to 21 with at least a two-point margin wins.

But if you want just make up your own rules, which is officially a rule, too. The tendency to do this has a direct correlation to the amount of beer consumed during a game.

The big time

Those participating in an official tournament sanctioned by the Texas Cornhole League, or TCL, can't have such shenanigans, however. There's money and, much more than that, pride involved.

For Seymour, one of his most memorable moments in the Cornhole game was winning of the the titles at the TCL state tournament.

" I've had a couple of memorable moments within the past year or so including winning a doubles state championship last July with a Longview native Johnny Dodson," he said. "That was my first really big tournament win until recently our East Texas Ryder Cup team won the TCL's most prestigious event this past January. Winning it was awesome."

Even with the memorable victories, Seymour points to the friends he has made over the time playing in different venues.

"Playing in the Dallas area and in the TCL tournaments I've met many awesome people. That's one of the things I have grown to enjoy is the camaraderie amongst all the players. I always look forward to seeing many of our fellow players and just hanging out in between games," he said.

Whether you are interested in becoming the next Texas Cornhole champion or just want to enjoy time with your friends, Seymour recommends getting involved.

"(The TCL) also have a variety of skill-based leagues. That allows beginners to play against other beginners which makes the game more enjoyable. I would tell those interested to find a league that suits their skill level and if they want to play at a higher level, do what I did — play against really good players and learn, and practice."