Alabama Cornhole Championship at the Barbican

Visitors to the Barbican’s Lakeside Terrace may already be aware of a small inclined rectangular board with a hole at the top and the designation Alabama Cornhole.  This is a simple outdoor game from the U.S. which Barbican resident Jake Bradford has introduced to the U.K., and the opportunity for free participation at the Lakeside Terrace board has generated a number of new players, some of whom have become quite obsessed with it.

Jake and his family are originally from Alabama and have been living in London for seven years.  In addition to being a Master Cornholer he also owns a consultancy business advising clients in the UK and Poland, owns a beach bar in Destin, Florida and says he has an unhealthy obsession with Game of Thrones (the books).

Jake started Alabama Cornhole London after taking his British in-laws on holiday to Alabama. He built his first board in the summer of 2013 taking it to friends’ barbecues, local pubs in the City and the gardens of the Barbican. After a year of encouragement by friends and family to start a business selling the handmade sets he launched in July 2014. His work is currently on display at the Barbican Centre and is free for the public to play.  He currently lives at the Barbican with his wife Olivia and son James (Jack) Howard Bradford IV.  For details and to order boards vist his website www.alabamacornhole.co.uk. 

Photo of Jake Bradford (founder) on the right and James Towell (Barbican Centre Customer Experience Leader) on the left at the Barbican Centre where the game is free for the public to play 7 days a week.

Photo of Jake Bradford (founder) on the right and James Towell (Barbican Centre Customer Experience Leader) on the left, with Alabama Cornhole board, at the Barbican Centre where the game is free for the public to play 7 days a week.

Cornhole is reputedly one of the fastest growing games sweeping across America. Apparently not actually originating in Alabama, but on  the west side of Cincinnati, Ohio, this simple game is said to be one of the hottest garden or backyard games around.  It involves tossing corn bags at target boards from a fixed distance.  It is described as great family fun and is an addictive game you will not want to stop playing once you start. All ages can play!

Cornhole boards have a surface area of 2 ft x 4ft, and they gradually slope upward so the rear is 12” off the ground. A 6 inch round hole is situated close to the back. The goal is to toss 1 lb. corn bags, filled with authentic corn kernels, toward the other board – 30’ away.
The standard Alabama game in volves teams of two competing with four cornbags per person and two boards. First team to 21 points wins. A hole-in-one (“cornhole”) counts as three points, and every other bag that lands on the board counts as one point. Players can cancel opponents point values by earning the same amount of points in a single turn. However rules can be adapted by players depending on numbers competing and of boards available

The initial boards have proven so popular at the Barbican that it is to host the first London Alabama Cornhole championship on September 13th in conjunction with Barbican Centre management – unfortunately at just about the time this issue starts to be delivered to Barbican residents.  Mo Reidemann, Barbican Centre Manager comments “I know customers young and old have enjoyed playing, it’s different and brings out the fun competitive side of everyone. To see someone leaping around when they throw and get in the hole is fun to watch, when 30 mins before I have seen them  buried in their iPad.”