Matt Guy is the best cornhole player in the world. Literally.

A sales representative for Stigler Supply Company in Cincinnati, Matt won the inaugural “King of Cornhole” title in 2006. It is widely recognized as the title for the best cornhole player in the world. Since 2006, Matt has won another five championships, and is currently the reigning King of Cornhole.

The game is similar to horseshoes, except it’s played with small bags full of corn and two wooden platforms with holes. There are 27 feet between the front edges of the platforms, and each player has four one-pound bags filled with feed corn. Players score when they toss a bag into the hole or onto the opposite platform. All ages can play the game anywhere, including indoors.

As a teenager, Matt’s dad taught him to pitch horseshoes, and he did so competitively.

“At one point, I was ranked sixth in the world of horseshoe pitching,” says Matt. “Then in 2000 I was introduced to cornhole. It felt really natural to me.”

For a few years, Matt played in both horseshoe and cornhole tournaments. He switched exclusively to cornhole in 2004.

The father-son tradition continues. Matt plays doubles cornhole with his son Bret, 22, who won the King of Cornhole title in 2013.

“When the weekend rolls around, Bret and I hit the tournaments,” says Matt. “Our winnings are about $250 apiece at a tournament, except for the $10,000 we won in Denver in October. That was the biggest doubles prize money ever.”

Matt won $10,000 in the King of Cornhole world championship singles competition in 2015, and hopes to do the same this year in Knoxville, Tennessee, in late July.

“Bret will be competing then, too,” says Matt. “We’ll compete as singles and as a pair.”

And, as has happened in the past, they might even play against each other.

Tournaments are a big part of Matt’s life.

“I cannot tell you how many times I get up at 5 a.m. on a Saturday, drive six to 10 hours, play in a tournament and drive back home,” says Matt. “When our kids were younger, we vacationed in Florida. I’d play in tournaments on the way to Florida and again in Florida. The money I won paid for our vacations.”
 
The Topps trading card company approached Matt about doing a trading card and released 15 different styles of Matt Guy trading cards a few years ago.

“I’ve probably received 800 or so requests from people who mail my trading card to me with a letter and self-addressed envelope, asking for my autograph,” says Matt. “I originally had 500 of my cards, and gave all of them away. Now I buy my own cards on eBay for $1 to $2 each, because when people ask me for my autograph, I give it to them on one of my cards.”

Matt has been on ESPN a few times, and he’s played cornhole with rockstars. Many rock bands carry cornhole boards when they travel, and Matt’s contacts at the local stadium call him to play with visiting bands. He’s played with Styx, Eddie Money, Night Ranger and with Steve Augeri, former lead singer for Journey. He also does local charity events, including programs at elementary schools, and a “challenge the champ” game at his minor league baseball team’s fundraising night for cancer.

The best thing he’s ever seen in cornhole has nothing to do with rockstars or clips of himself on ESPN.

“The coolest thing I ever watched was in 2013 when my son Bret won the world championship at age 19,” says Matt. “Every time I see that video, I get tears in my eyes.”

Gretchen Roufs, a 25-year janitorial supply industry veteran, owns a marketing and public relations company in San Antonio. To suggest someone you think should be featured in “Freetime,” contact her at Gretchen@GretchenRoufs.com.