Rawls brothers cornhole career on target for national prominence

Bruce Hope bruce@opcfla.com
Posted 3/3/21

MIDDLEBURG – Brothers Alan and Alex Rawls are prime examples of what happens when people get hooked on playing cornhole. What started as a tailgating and party game has evolved into a popular sport …

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Rawls brothers cornhole career on target for national prominence

Posted

MIDDLEBURG – Brothers Alan and Alex Rawls are prime examples of what happens when people get hooked on playing cornhole. What started as a tailgating and party game has evolved into a popular sport with national tournaments.

“Started, I wanna say 2016,” said 24-year-old older brother Alan Rawls. “My cousin was telling me about a cornhole tournament they were playing in at a little restaurant, locally around where we live. I started playing first and just got kind of good at it. One thing led to another, and we eventually started traveling and playing more and more. We got pretty good.”

“He [my cousin] told me he found this fun game that you can make a little money in and hang out with people,” said Alex Rawls, who won the American Cornhole League Southeast Open Tournament on Feb. 26 in Jacksonville that earned him $5,600. During that event, the younger Rawls defeated the reigning ACL Man of the Year, Jamie Graham, 24-14. He made it through the competition’s finals, surviving through a gauntlet of 512 players. The doubles competition consisted of more than 270 players, and the Rawls brothers finished third.

Not bad for a construction worker and a 17-year-old high school junior.

Alex Rawls, who played on the Middleburg High football team, no longer competes in any other sports.

“I do not compete in any other sport because I enjoy the sport of cornhole. The drive I have for competition in my life is met with cornhole,” he said.

The brothers have traveled as far as Pennsylvania to compete in tournaments. They hope to go the further distance to play in the future.

Both will play at Southeast Regional tournaments at the Bradford County Fairgrounds in Starke on April 9-10 and at the Clay County Fairgrounds on April 16-18.

Both brothers have had success in competition, teaming to win a doubles tournament last November at the Trasher-Horne Center. While Alex holds bragging rights to the biggest jackpot won, Alan has also won some money.

“Me personally, I’ve probably won a little over a grand,” he said.

They compete against each other while competing against others. And like most brothers, the younger is always pushing to beat the elder.

“It’s back and forth, but I’ll give him the edge,” said Alan. “He’s done better than me in bigger tournaments, but he also works harder at it than me.”

Alex was incredibly proud of his recent victory, not only because of the money he won but also for the pride that comes with winning and defeating the top-ranked player in the country.

“Words can’t describe what this win meant to me,” said Alex. “I worked so hard over the last two months to get my game up, and to finish the job is just incredible. I started the day feeling myself and was able to stay hot throughout the day, and never lost a game against some amazing players. To see all my friends and family cheering for me as I played my games was just awesome, and I wouldn’t trade that moment for anything.”

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