Horseshoes, Daytona Style

A couple of fans from the Cincinnati area have introduced me to a regional phenomenon where they hail from: A game called corn hole.


Steve Broering andTom Rowe stand ready to take all corn hole challengers in the Turn 1 campground. (Mike Snyder - washingtonpost.com)

I was looking for fans who were getting the party rolling despite the chilly temperatures. In one of Daytona's outside campgrounds, just outside the Turn 1 banking, I found Tom Rowe and Steve Broering, father-in-law and son-in-law, respectively. These guys come from colder climes, Alexandria, Ky., to be exact, so they know what to do. Drink beer and throw corn hole.

It's basically a variation of horseshoes with what appear to be beanbags, though these bags are filled with corn. They set up two boards at an angle about 20 feet apart, each with a hole near the top. The set they've brought with them is red and white with the number 8 painted in the middle.

I should say it's Tom's set. He's a big Earnhardt Jr. fan. Steve pulls for my main man Tony Stewart.

I threw a marathon game with Steve. Each person gets four bags. Get one through the corn hole and you get three points. Unless your opponent does, too, then you cancel each other out. Bags that land on the board are worth a point apiece. Again, unless your opponent does, too.

Steve and Tom's house rules are you have to hit 21 points exactly. Go over, and you go back to 16 points. Steve said it was the longest game he'd ever played because we both kept going over 21. I won in the end. Beginner's luck, I guess.

Or maybe Steve played down to the level of the competition. I watched them throw another game. They were good, but modest about it.

We talked racing mostly, with a little politics thrown in, probably because of where I work. The buzz here, like everywhere, is about Vice President Cheney's hunting accident, though I couldn't pin them down on their opinions on the incident. Probably best to keep politics out of racing, I guess.

And they've given me the skinny on the camping situation, which they started doing three years ago. I'm thinking of trying it next year. It may be cheaper than renting a room, and it's definitely more convenient.

I'll circle back around to chat with them again some time later this week after Mollie, Tom's daughter and Steve's wife, and Julie, Tom's wife, arrive.

I've told you who they're pulling for. Two years ago when they all drove down together, Tom said he told Julie in the front seat, "If Tony wins, it's gonna be a long ride home." At the same time, Steve was telling Mollie in the back seat, "If Junior wins, it's gonna be a long ride."

"It was a long ride home," says Steve.


By Mike Snyder |  February 14, 2006; 8:15 PM ET  | Category:  Daytona Scene , Fans
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Mike, how about a pilgrimage to "The Best Damn Garage in Town"? If the building's even still standing, that is.

Luckily, I visited the late owner there a few times before he passed away (ornery, but funny and legendary in Daytona circles, both paved and political), and had a friend down in Ormond Beach pick up a few things at the "garage/estate sale".

Last time I was there, his daughter was running the swag business out of the old offices, my wife snagged her business card and bought me the complete set of his autobiography with a hat and coffee mug for Xmas later that year.

bc

Posted by: bc | February 15, 2006 10:50 AM

Whoops, delete that second "building's".

Damn TypePad.

bc

Posted by: bc | February 15, 2006 10:52 AM

"The Best Damn Garage In Town" is / was Smokey Yunick's old race shop / garage / fan shrine. If I'm not mistaken (please correct me if I'm wrong), after Smokey died in 2001 they auctioned off everything in the place and the property in 2002. I don't know if the sign / building are still there but, if they are, it's a must-see just for the history.

Posted by: Chris | February 15, 2006 11:03 AM

Speaking as someone who went to school in the Cincinnati area... Cornhole is HUGE!!!!! There are tournaments and clubs and associations, and t-shirts, and custom bean bags, and you name it.

Posted by: Alex | February 15, 2006 01:08 PM

I'll see if I can find the Smokey's garage, though it may be a long shot.

Alex: I've gotta say, it's a fun game. I could see this going nationwide.

Posted by: Mike | February 15, 2006 01:49 PM

The Arlington Cinema N Drafthouse in Arlington VA is showing the Daytona 500

Posted by: Colleen | February 15, 2006 01:49 PM

We play Corn Hole @ every University of Maryland football tailgate. The only difference is that we call it "Baggo." Credit Chris Domergue for bringing the midwest tradition to College Park......

Posted by: Jon F. | February 16, 2006 10:17 AM

I am Cornholio!!!

Posted by: Smurf | February 19, 2006 12:31 PM

Mike--you never came back!! We had some good games once everyone got there. You will have to stop by next year!

Posted by: Steve | February 21, 2006 09:50 AM

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