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'It's so much fun': Manitoba holds first-ever provincial cornhole championship

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A beloved backyard barbecue bean bag toss game has made it to the big leagues.

Dozens of cornhole connoisseurs descended on the Pembina Curling Club in Winnipeg Saturday, for the first-ever provincial championship in Manitoba.

“I wouldn’t say quite ‘professionals’ but it’s so much fun and it’s a social activity,” said Jeff Munday, the president of the Manitoba Cornhole Association (MCA).

While the sport has grown more popular in recent years, leagues are just starting to sprout across the province.

“They started small with 10 or 15 people,” Munday said. “And now, each one of them is seeing 30 to 40, up to 60 people every week.”

Munday said the MCA was only formed earlier this year.

“We spent the last three months planning for this, so it’s exciting to actually see it come to fruition,” he said, referring to the competition.

Corny competitors travelled from near and far to participate, including one league hailing from Thunder Bay, Ont.

“It is a lot more nerve-wracking because it is a provincial tournament rather than just the normal ‘for fun’ tournament, but we thought we better push our limits and see what we can do,” said Amy McRury, a member of the Thunder Bay Cornhole League.

McRury and her teammate Kim Duhaime said the sport also serves as a way to meet new people.

“Our league is a pretty (tight) knit group,” Duhaime said. “We get along really well, we’re all super supportive of learning from each other.”

First-time tossers also had a chance to learn from more seasoned participants – shucking the competition.

By offering different levels for beginners and competitors, Munday hopes it will entice more people to give cornhole a chance.

“It’s just going to keep growing like crazy and we’re looking for more people,” he said.

Whether you’re 16 or in your 60s, Munday said you can still sink your teeth – or bean bag – into the sport.

“Everyone can play,” said Munday. “And it takes practice because we do throw from a further distance than the backyard.

“But once they’ve got it in, they’re hooked and they always come back.”

According to Munday, the MCA has several events set up throughout the summer. Those interested in coming out to play cornhole or starting a league of their own can reach out to the association through its website.

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