By Sandy Scarmack
Herald Staff Writer
THEY range in age from 14 to 85. Some have dead-on aim and others can’t hit the broad side of a barn. But no matter, said Rick Veccia, organizer of a local cornhole league, who wants players to come out for a night of good times and socializing.
Veccia, of Sharpsville, along with his wife, Brenda, rented the former grocery store at Thornton Hall Bowling Lanes building and set up between 20 and 40 cornhole boards, encouraging people to spend the winter playing a game more commonly found at family reunions and picnics during the summer months.
“It started at Ohio State, I think. It’s huge out that way. And there are national rankings of folks who play the game, but we don’t get all that serious with it,” Veccia said.
“It’s all for fun. We want people to come out and have a good time. And for eight bucks we include food that we made or we order pizzas,” he said.
The season runs 16 weeks – from October to April – and they play Wednesdays and Thursdays from 6 to 10 p.m. Anyone is welcome.
This is the fourth year that the Veccias have been hosting the league. They also bowl and golf. “We like to keep active. And what makes this so unique is that it’s the only indoor cornhole league I know of,” he said.
He makes the boards himself out of 3/4-inch plywood. They are painted like the faces of a deck of cards so he could have numbers on them. “It makes it a lot easier when assigning teams to a board,” he said.
He’s made about 60 boards – 30 sets – at his house. A friend, Thomas Springer, of Hermitage, paints them.
The beanbags are made by Martha’s Sewing of Pymatuning Township. The bags are special, Veccia said, and something that he brought to the Shenango Valley. “They are exactly 7-inch square and made of two different cloths. A duck cloth on one side, which slides easier and synthetic suede on the other side, which sticks more,” he said.
The rules are simple.
Each team tosses three bags at the board until they score 21. A bag that goes in the hole is worth 3 points; a bag that lands on the board is worth 1.
Veccia estimates about 80 people come out and play, but he’d like more. He’s willing to open up the hall on Saturday nights if that works better.
“We have prizes for the winners, but no one is going to get rich. We don’t do it for money. We do it for fun,” he said.
His wife agrees. “My son’s friends brought boards to our home one time and we just really liked it. We thought it was something easy that anyone could get into.”
The couple often lend the boards for private functions, along with the tables and chairs. “I just ask people to return them like they got them,” Veccia said.
And while the couple enjoys playing cornhole, they don’t consider themselves experts. “I’m decent. And he’s better than me,” Brenda said.
“Oh, we’ve had some people who got the bags stuck in the sprinkler system in the roof. If someone has never played, we’ll show them how. On the other hand, we have people who can throw 40 in a row and never miss. Everyone is welcome,” Veccia said.
Some players come from Newton Falls, New Castle, Niles and Vienna, as well as locally.
In the summer, the couple take the boards to taverns in Sharpsville and host outdoor tournaments.
Though they have done some advertising, they depend mostly on word of mouth for support.
Anyone who is interested in playing can contact Rick or Brenda Veccia at 724-962-4765 or 724-877-7605.