Smoke Cornhole: Growing cornhole in Pampa

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As the popularity of cornhole continues to grow across the nation, Pampa has a place where competitors can practice, test their skills or casually have a good time.

Chris Torgersen (along with business partner Cole Dampier) and Smoke Cornhole, located at 213 S. Price Road, holds two events a week at their location after establishing the business about a year ago.

“I bought a company called Team Outlaw Baggers, based out of Dallas,” Torgerson said. “They had some pro players they sponsored who was on ESPN winning tournaments.

“I went and played a few tournaments with them and fell in love with the game and the opportunity came up where the [previous owner] wanted to step away from cornhole and the business, so I was able to buy it and take it over.”

Like many sports, cornhole has a number of governing agencies including Texas Cornhole League and American Cornhole League. Smoke Cornhole was created by Torgersen and is associated with ACL and tournaments are held through those governing standards.

Torgersen would like to use Smoke Cornhole as a means to host regional tournaments in Pampa.

“I’ve been talking with the City Manager (Shane Stokes) and the people out at M.K. Brown Civic Center about hosting one here,” Torgersen said. “We’ve just been waiting on availability and permits.”

Torgersen hopes to have one or two before July. Local events are played every Tuesday and Thursday at Smoke Cornhole from 6:30 until around 11:30 p.m.

“I do what’s called Switch-holio,” Torgersen said. “You’ll play four different matches with four different partners. For each tournament you play, you get 21 points if you win the match.

“But if you don’t win, you get however many points for what you did score. At the end of the night, after your four games, whoever has the most, wins cash prizes. That’s the fairest way to allow beginners and advanced players to co-mingle.”

Bring-your-own partner, singles and blind draw tournaments are also played.

Not only does Smoke Cornhole host events, but they out-source boards for sale and create bags in the shop.

“It’ll be for the next season but we will have our own ACL stamps on our bags, which makes them eligible to be used in ACL-sanctioned events,” Torgerson said. “(Creating the bags) is tedious. It takes at least an hour to create four bags.”

The process starts with creating the bags into squares, followed by sublimating the bags. The next part is stitching the squares together, leaving a two-inch opening for filling the bags.

“We use a heat-cutter and that helps singeing the edges together so they don’t get pulls or snags from the board,” Torgersen said. “We then flip them inside out, fill them to between 15.5 ounces to 16.25. We put the closing stitch on.”

The variance in the weight is depending on the player’s preference.

Torgersen hopes as more events are held, the community of cornhole players in Pampa grows.

“The whole point is to help grow the game, get awareness out there and build it up,” Torgersen said. “Then we can go to some of these regional tournaments. Those regional tournaments can average anywhere from a couple of hundred to a couple of thousand. The ones in Dallas average 1,600 to 2,000 each event.”

Smoke Cornhole has about 20 players each Tuesday and Thursday, with ages from four years old to 80 years old. Torgersen encourages players to bring their own drinks and snacks and enjoy some cornhole.

For more information, visit their Facebook page or website at www.smokecornhole.com.

“There’s an open invitation to anyone who wants to try it out,” Torgersen said.

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