Saturday, September 5, 2020

TCL Season 11: Next Stop - College Station Texas....Aaaaaalll Aboard!!

Texas Cornhole League concluded it's 10th season with a record setting Conference Tournament this past July in Denton. Considering how the season was affected by the nationwide pandemic which forced several events to be cancelled, TCL still experienced incredible growth. This growth is evident at every event as there continues to be new players who step up and throw some serious heat. They just keep coming folks and so does another TCL season as Bryan/College Station and the Brazos County Expo will host Season XI's first TCL Signature Series event this September 11-12. Jump on board y'all, this train is rollin' and it's going to be bigger and better than ever!

In 1860 the Houston and Texas Central Railway began to build through the region and coincidentally, 11 years later the site was chosen as the location for a proposed Agriculture and Mechanical College of Texas. In 1876 as our nation celebrated its centennial, the school opened its doors as the first public institution of higher education in Texas. In 1963 it was renamed Texas A&M University and through the years many traditions have evolved. One being the Aggie bonfire which was held each year as part of the football rivalry with the University of Texas. It was halted following a collapse in 1999 killing 12 and injuring 27 and has since been restarted off campus. Another tradition is the legendary Dixie Chicken. Opened in 1974, the bar is directly across the campus in a old rugged wood structure best known for its cold beer, old country music, perpetual ice in the pee troughs and Tijuana Fries! The bar had its roof collapse this past spring and the joints pet rattlesnake, known as "Sneaky Snake" is doing well despite reports it had escaped during the collapse...yikes!

As with any type of growth you sometimes have to make changes and with the sport making huge strides in popularity, TCL has made some changes for the upcoming season. One such change involves the schedule for play for the Signature events. Typically these events draw large numbers of players and usually take longer to run requiring some really late nights! To help with this issue, the start time for Singles on Friday has been moved up to 1:00 instead of 5:30. TCL and it's crew run very efficient events so this should help solve the late night issues!

The addition of Super Regional Events is also something new. TCL is including this year with the intent to provide players an opportunity to compete against the best players within their conference. Winning one of these babies will garner the winner 300 points for first place which can be vital to those battling for a spot in the Top 60.

TCL is also looking into adding a 5th Signature event which will not only add more opportunity for points but will also increase the overall yearly payout! This is gonna be good y'all! The TCL League Championship scheduled for July 2021 will have no less than $25,000 in total payouts. With all these events and all that cash, it's no wonder so many people are wanting to play TCL! 

I had mentioned that there were many new up and coming players who are making noise all across the state. I got some feedback from a few Regional Directors and wanted to mention some players who are looking to make a splash this season. Northeast Texas Cornhole led by Will Davis has several players who are really playing well including Matt Ball and JR Reyes, both being recently added "B" players. Seth Roberts and Cayle Watson in Social and Steven Helm in Competitive have also been filling it up. 

North Texas Cornhole also has some impressive players according to Director Taylor Stone. "C" players John Garnica, Jr., John Garnica, Sr, Chuck Cordell, Michael Gomez and Trey Sparks all have shown improvement here recently.

Other players who are coming on include Lane McManus from Ray Roberts, Jon White from Dallas and Neal Cook who plays with the group from 360. Angel Cruz, another player from Dallas has been posing for pictures standing next to a board holding wads of cash a lot here of late which only means this cat has been doing some winning. Young gun Austin McQuistion, who recently got moved to a "B" player has been slinging several 12's lately as well. Dallas Director Rob Ochoa has it going on folks! All the players mentioned have really stepped up their games and should be moving on up soon. I will include more names of up and coming players in each of my blogs so if I didn't give you a mention, keep strummin' and I'll get ya some ink soon!

The grates have been shaken, the dead ash has been evacuated, the fireboxes are loaded with Anthracite and this locomotive is smoking as it barrels towards Bryan/College Station.  It's going to be a good one y'all so get on board and get ready for a great weekend of cornhole! Next stop..Bryan/College Station!!

Keep slingin' em' y'all!

Sunday, June 28, 2020

TCL Signature 3 Recap "One for the Ages"

Back in December of 2019, Texas Cornhole League held their 2nd Signature Event in Tyler, TX. In January they held the Ryder Cup in Denton. That was the last we knew of "normal" with TCL Cornhole. In April, Signature 3 was supposed to be held in Bryan College Station... however Corona hijacked that event! With everything being cancelled and shut down, the TCL brass worked tirelessly trying to secure a venue eventually landing the Cinnamon Creek Ranch Venue and put on a record setting 3rd Signature Event. Of all the Events I've attended in the past 5 years, this one was by far the most challenging. With the growth and popularity of the sport, many more people attended this tournament to the tune of nearly 350 players. Trying to accommodate this many players with space for only 28 sets of boards provided an ultimate challenge. Things got going Friday and even though things were crowded and hectic, games were being played and brackets were moving along! Then a good little Texas sized storm blew in wreaking havoc on the electricity. Lights flickered, power surged and eventually some lights were knocked out completely. With this many people in the building, losing A/C was borderline catastrophic! Just when you thought you had enough deodorant, things started getting a little sticky, including the boards. I know many folks were working up a sweat just watching games, poor Chris Gardner was a hot sweaty mess! With all the issues and challenges, everyone kept playing and eventually all the games that were to be played were played!

By now it was going on around 3 AM and most people had called it a night. Chad and his crew stayed until the power was restored and when everyone started arriving for the Singles Tier Bracket games around 9 AM, the building had cooled back down. This was the sign of what would be a awesome day of cornhole! Usually when I write about the results of a big event I try to list the names of the winners and highlight some memorable performances. This time I just want to write about some things that stood out to me.

It was absolutely awesome seeing everyone after the Corona induced layoff and everyone seemed to be on the same page. It was just good to see some of our friends along with some new faces back on the boards. There were the usual top level players like Josh Groce, A J Sims, Eddie Grinderslev, Brandon Greggor and Grant Upchurch to name a few. These guys are always in the mix with Groce and Sims winning the Open Doubles and Sims winning Open Singles. There was the Cartel with Ernest Herrera and Ernest Monarca finishing 4th in Open Doubles. The surprise of Open Doubles had to be Adam Utz and his fellow Dem Boys partner Blake DeLeon coming in 3rd which is pretty strong considering how stacked this field was. In the Competitive Division Eian Cripps and Jamie Sledge beat Dillon Turpin and Delmar Davis...I know..haven't heard those names before have ya! Jamie has been throwing really well lately and completed her weekend coming in 2nd place in Competitive ingles losing to Ryan Fillingim. Folks, the growth and popularity of cornhole is simply on another level right now.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

2020 TCL Ryder Cup

Those that play or have played golf usually are familiar with the PGA's Ryder Cup. The United States fields a team of 12 players to play against 12 players from Europe. They play several matches in various formats with each team obtaining points for each match they win. The first team to reach 14 1/2 points wins the Cup! It's a pretty cool event as it promotes a team environment for players who usually compete individually. The camaraderie and pride these players display is awesome to watch as they come together and cheer each other on.

In Texas those associated with The Texas Cornhole League know the words "Ryder Cup" as something kind of the same, but not really the same! On January 24th and 25th TCL's 10th Annual Ryder Cup will be hosted by the Denton Convention Center. There are hundreds of players who have taken part in this event and for the newbies, come Sunday morning they won't know what hit them! This event is easily TCL's biggest event of the year, not so much in payouts but due to the amount of people who will be in attendance. Every year it has increased in the number of teams and this year the trend will continue. Last years Ryder Cup had 430 players making up 43 teams in various divisions and this year they are expecting over 60 teams. Over 600 players will be taking part in this years event making it TCL's largest attended event to date. It. Will. Be. Epic!

The TCL version of this event consists of 3 different events, Team 10, Singles and Doubles with players obtaining points for their team as they win games in these events. After all events have been played, points are tabulated and the team with the most points wins the cup!

Team 10 is easily the most stressful game as it has all 10 players, 5 on each end. Players each get 1 bag as they alternate throwing with the other team. Each bag is super important and when you have 19 players all staring at you, it can be a fairly pressure packed scenario for some players. 

Singles is a NCAA March Madness style tournament, win and advance, lose and your done. Players win points as they win and advance. Seems every year the competition in this event gets better and more challenging.

Doubles is a round robin style where each team has 5 doubles teams. The designated number 1 team will play all the number 1 teams in their division. Same for the number 2,3,4 and 5 teams. Strategy comes into play in this event as Captains determine how they will line their players up.

This will be my 6th Ryder Cup to play in with the first one being my first ever TCL event. I left that event blown away by the whole darn spectacle and how good everyone was. The next year I was able to play with the East Texas team led by Brad Jones in what many would say was one of the more exciting Ryder Cup events. I look forward to this event as it is the ultimate team cornhole event and with the "Our area is better than yours" mentality, it can get pretty competitive.

Organizing big tournaments are challenging enough but this event really requires exceptional effort. When you have this many teams and players it can be more work than most realize.This weekend if you get a moment, walk up to Chad, Jason, and Justin and thank them for their time they have invested to help make this event one we all enjoy. It is simply put, "An event like none other"!

Throw 'em straight y'all!!