Final day of Fort Madison's family rock fest is a winner.
RiverFest wrapped up Sunday evening after four days of near-perfect weather, excellent music and tasty food, everything from barbecue brats to jerked Jamaican to eggrolls. Top-notch sets of rock and roll were turned in by StumpTown, The NATU Band and Radio Romance. Country rapper Colt Ford wrapped up the festival perfectly.
But rock and rolls weren't the only attractions down at Fort Madison's Riverview Park — the carnival kept kids happy all weekend, and there were plenty of adult games of various competitions as well, including Pickleball and Bags.
Sunday afternoon's Bags tournament fielded eight area teams in a double-elimination contest — losers in the first round competed for a chance to get back in for the final competition.
Bags, or as the game is more commonly known, Cornhole, is a nationwide popular activity. Two teams of two players each try to toss beanbags into a hole in the center of a sloped board — that makes the hole easier to see for the tossers — and the first team to get 21 holes wins that game. Games are played in sets of three, the team to win two games moves up, the loser drops back into the losers bracket to try again.
If this is hard to imagine, it's like horseshoes without cast-iron horseshoes and holes instead of poles.
Cornhole, or bean bag toss — also known as Baggo, Bags, sack toss, or bean sack — is a lawn game whereby players take turns throwing bags of corn — or beans; here in Iowa, we don't care what we're tossing — at a raised platform with a hole in the far end. A bag in the hole scores 3 points, while one on the platform scores 1 point.
Doug Krogemeier served at Sunday's fete as the unofficial official.
"They officiate themselves," Krogmeier said. "I just make sure everything's set up and ready to go."
Krogmeier said local players use high-end boards and regulation bags. He said the game of Bags is more popularly known as Cornhole and is administered by the American Cornhole Organization.
Here is southeast Iowa, that should come as no surprise.
The ACO is the governing body for the sport of Cornhole. If you don't believe us, cruise over to American Cornhole.com online.
Now you know we aren't making things up.
Established in 2005, the ACO officiates Cornhole rules, sanctions products, tournament listings, and comprehensive information about Cornhole events.
Back in Fort Madison, Suzi Walljasper of Fort Madison paired up with husband Tom. The couple played at last year's RiverFest, losing the first round and winning the second.
Asked if she had nothing better to do in the summer than toss beanbags around instead of maybe mowing the lawn or weeding a garden, Walljasper squinted into the sun with a steely Clint Eastwood eye.
"I do mow the lawn, I do have a garden," she said. "We just do Bags for fun."
Scott K. Goetz of Burlington teamed with Shane Labath of the Quad Cities; Goetz has been Bagging it four years, and Labath for about 20.
"It's awesome," Goetz said. "The competitiveness, the travel, the people you meet. We've played against guys who compete on ESPN."
"It comes down to the people you meet," Labath added, and he knows what he's talking about: He and Goetz met at a Bags tourney.
Goetz and Labath won Sunday's tournament.
Burlington has its own Bags league and Goetz is a member of Burlington's team, the River City Baggers.
It's a sure bet they weren't going to use the other game's name in their own, even if the ACO was eager to sanction it.
You can read more about the Cornholers at americancornhole.com and please don't write to tell us about them.
Thank you. We'll see you next August at RiverFest 2019.