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Corn Palace hosts inaugural cornhole tournament

Three-day event starts Thursday

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The inaugural Corn Palace Cornole tournament is Thursday-Saturday at the Corn Palace. Here's a look at the bags awarded to first place in advance singles. (Courtesy photo)

Cornhole is coming to the Corn Palace.

An American Cornhole League-sanctioned tournament is Thursday through Saturday at Corn Palace. The ACL regional tournament is the first of its kind at the venue.

It’s also the culmination of a two-year process for Tyler Earls, who is the ACL Mid-North Conference regional director. The conference includes South Dakota, North Dakota and Minnesota.

Earls, who organizes cornhole leagues in and around Mitchell, always felt it was a natural fit to bring the sport to the Corn Palace.

“Cornhole and Corn Palace is always what I had hidden in my head,” Earls said. “I always wanted it, but I never tried to pursue it. About two years ago is when I changed my mind and maybe I should try to pursue it to have a big tournament.”

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The American Cornole Organization, which is a separate entity from the ACL, had an event planned in May 2020 at the Corn Palace. But it was canceled due to COVID-19.

Earls has experience organizing events at Mitchell’s Ramada Inn and Chamberlain’s Arrowwood Resort & Conference Center. He also runs a weekly league at JADeS Bar in Mitchell.

When city mandates loosened up, Earls approached the Mitchell Area Chamber of Commerce and the Corn Palace about bringing the ACL-sanctioned event to town.

“It was kind of like a perfect storm,” Earls said. “It just happened to be the right timing and now everything is starting to open up a little bit more and now I have the tournament all set for this weekend.”

At the beginning of the week, Earls said there’s around 50 players signed up for the three-day event. However, he’s heard from hundreds more that have expressed interest.

ACL professionals Allison Peters (North Carolina), Samantha Finley (Florida) and Devon Harbaugh (Pennsylvania) will compete in Mitchell. Oklahoma’s Isabella Surprenant and Nebraska’s Ryan Wiedenfeld, both 14-year-old stars, are expected to participate.

Harrisburg’s Matt Ryan, a former South Dakota state champ, is also slated to compete in Mitchell.

The double-elimination tournament has three divisions: advanced, competitive and intermediate. The purse is $5,000 and payouts will depend on the amount of participants. Players can collect points toward their ACL standings and it’s also available to walk-in players.

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Corn Palace hosts inaugural cornhole tournament

Schedule:

*Check in is one hour before the start for each event.

Thursday

Women & senior singles, 10 a.m.

Women & senior doubles, 2 p.m.

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Open blind draw, 6 p.m.

Friday

Co-ed, 10 a.m.

Intermediate singles, 2 p.m.

Competitive singles, 4 p.m.

Advanced singles, 7 p.m.

Saturday

Intermediate doubles, noon

Competitive doubles, 2 p.m.

Advanced doubles, 4 p.m.

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Mitchell has hosted the tournament each year since 2019 and is already planned to host the event in 2023.