Gallery: Blind-draw bags

Published 2:34 am Thursday, July 25, 2013

Lennie Aguilera throws a beanbag, while Pedro Olvera waits for his turn during a tournament Sunday in the Big Island Grill and Bar courtyard. — Micah Bader/Albert Lea Tribune

Lennie Aguilera throws a beanbag, while Pedro Olvera waits for his turn during a tournament Sunday in the Big Island Grill and Bar courtyard. — Micah Bader/Albert Lea Tribune

Organizers attempt to level playing field with new format

Beanbag enthusiasts have a new destination to play their sport on Sunday afternoons.

For the first time, Big Island Grille & Bar is hosting a beanbag tournament in its remodeled courtyard every Sunday until the championship on Aug. 25, front office manager Aaron Larson said.

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In an effort to keep a level playing field, organizers decided to use a blind-draw format.

“I don’t care how many leagues you’ve won before, it’s a blind draw. Who knows, you may get stuck with me,” Larson said. “On the same token, you might get stuck with someone who’s very good, and they can propel you to the top.”

Through the third week of play, the format choice has been popular.

“The random partners makes it fair, and it’s the only one around like it,” said Cory Greff, who has played each week. “It’s a great thing to do on a Sunday afternoon.”

Greff is one of four players tied in 11th place in the overall standings with three points. Tristan Sather leads the pack with seven points, and Justin Hererra sits in second, trailing Sather by a single point. The top 10 players in the overall standings qualify for the championship.

Aaron Larson explained how the point system works.

“If you play, you get a point for just showing up,” he said. “If you’re part of the winning team, you get three additional points. Second place is two additional points and third is one additional point, along with your payouts.”

In addition to gaining points toward the championship — with a grand prize package of a set of boards and bags, an overnight stay in a two-room suite at America’s Best Value Inn and a $50 gift certificate to Big Island Grille and Bar — 100 percent of the $5 entrance fee is divided up to the winners.

If 10 or more teams sign up any given week, Larson said he’d throw the bar tab into the winner’s pot as well.

In preparation for the beanbag tournament and other outdoor events in the courtyard, Larson has been in charge of making improvements to the space.

“I’ve had trees removed and done some landscaping,” he said.

In case of rain, the tournament will go on inside the Land Between the Lakes Event Center. The event center is linked with America’s Best Value Inn and Big Island Grille & Bar. Larson noted that the event center has been the site of a 22-team beanbag tournament organized by a group from Jellystone Park near Austin, so a 10-team group should fit easily.

The beanbags are actually filled with corn kernels. However, Larson isn’t about to use that in the event title.

“Talk about cornhole, and you just get a whole lot of people giggling and not understanding what I’m talking about,” he said. “So, I say beanbag tournament, and people understand.”


Standings through Sunday

Tournament at Big Island Grill and Bar courtyard in Albert Lea

 1. Tristan Sather 7

2. Justin Hererra 6

3. Bobby Neely 5

Aaron Larson 5

Michelle Peterson 5

6. Kelli Tiegs 4

Eddie Luna 4

Adam Royce 4

David Shoff 4

Pedro Olvera 4

11. Cory Greff 3

John Hiese 3

Tiffany Carlson 3

Duck Peterson 3

15. Angie Hanson 2

Julie Cincoski 2

Andy Tuchowski 2

 18. John Gillespie 1

Lulu Walker 1

Lennie Aguilera 1

Carrie Olvera 1