Lake Region Cornhole continuing to build local presence in Devils Lake, beyond

John B. Crane
Devils Lake Journal

DEVILS LAKE – An overcast evening on Aug. 12 didn’t swerve away any community members from attending Woodland Resort. 

Nor did it take away any eager cornhole enthusiasts from getting in their tosses during the weekend escapade. 

Lake Region Cornhole participated in the Devils Lake “RockFest Rockin’ the Cove ‘22” event (Aug. 12-13).

At the minimum, Jeremy and Jamie Miller saw the Devils Lake “RockFest Rockin’ the Cove ‘22” event (Aug. 12-13) as an opportunity to have another go playing a sport they have enjoyed playing as competitors and as husband and wife. 

At the maximum, the couple saw the event as an opportunity to expand Lake Region Cornhole’s outreach and help expand the sport’s variety to any eager player willing to give it a crack. 

“If we grow it here, then hopefully, we can get more people in the Devils Lake region to come out and play as well,” Jamie, 30, said. 

Formed in Nov. 2021, Lake Region Cornhole is a year-round public group that emphasizes anything and everything cornhole-related. As directors, Jamie and Jeremy have prioritized the summer season as an opportunity to help run cornhole-related activities at public events. The “RockFest Rockin’ the Cove ‘22” wasn’t their first rodeo at being hired hands, either. Lake Region Cornhole additionally made appearances during the 2022 Devils Lake Rib Fest and Fort Totten Days Pow wow. 

Winter, meanwhile, has been tabbed as a time for Jamie and Jeremy to host events on their own. After all, Lake Region Cornhole’s inception began indoors. More specifically, at Pop’s Goodtime Bar. Even with newer faces coming and going, Lake Region Cornhole has left some shape or form of a cornhole-related footprint at several additional Devils Lake venues, including KC Hall and Elks Lodge #1216. 

After initially starting with a regular crowd of 12, Lake Region Cornhole now has more than 30 players attending consistently. 

“A lot of people from around the area that we didn’t even know just showed up and started playing,” Jeremy, 31, said. 

Nine+ months removed from Lake Region Cornhole’s creation, a routine is still being established. Talk of expansion – including the creation of a cornhole league – has been discussed as a long-term goal. 

But in order to think of expansion, Jamie and Jeremy have continued to prioritize event participation. And in particular, gathering support from local businesses. 

The St. Patrick’s Day Cornhole Tournament on March 19 emphasized the importance of garnering community support. Four weeks before the tournament, Jeremy and Jamie recognized that there were not enough cornhole boards to put on such a competition. In other words, their four total boards in stock wouldn’t suffice. 

“One night, I was, like, ‘guys, we don’t have enough boards,’” Jeremy said. “So, I reached out to other members of the group. It was on a Tuesday night, and I reached out to them. I was, like, ‘We need to go get sponsors. We need to get this in gear because we are not going to have enough to host this event.”

After speaking to as many businesses as possible, eight sponsored and high-quality cornhole sets came into being to give the group 10 total sets. 

Lake Region Cornhole prepares for competition on Aug. 12.

Fast forward to the present, and Lake Region Cornhole has garnered more than 15 sponsors, including Proz Sports Bar, Proz Lakeside at the Cove, Lake Region Fitness and Leevers Foods. 

“We wouldn’t be where we are at today or would have grown as fast as we have without our sponsors,” Jeremy said. “It really helped us along the way.” 

Moving forward, Lake Region Cornhole continues to expand interest. And in particular, those of all ages. 

To Jamie, nothing has been more important than increasing Lake Region Cornhole’s outreach to youth. Anyone can play the sport, of course. Even very well, and kids are no exception. In due time, helping expand outreach to schools could be in the cards, too. 

“To me, that was kind of my driven motivation,” Jamie said. That’s because when we started traveling before Lake Region Cornhole, we traveled out of town to the bigger tournaments. I saw little kids, and I was getting my [expletive] kicked by little kids. And it was awesome. It was amazing. These kids, you could see how much joy it brought to them, and I mean, they were winning money. They were kicking adults’ [expletives], [and] they were happy.” 

“You don’t need [any] athletic ability to play cornhole,” Jeremy said. “We’ve seen dudes with no legs play cornhole. We’ve seen guys with no wheelchairs play. Three-year-olds…during Fort Totten Days, we had an 11-year-old and a 16-year-old get second place out of the 15 teams that were there.” 

Even as the summer months wane, Lake Region Cornhole will always look for the next best opportunity. To Jaime and Jeremy, such an opportunity can lead to even wider interest. 

Taking it to the maximum helps in accomplishing such a goal. 

“With it growing here in town, educating and people want to know more,” Jaime said. “What else can we do…how can we make this bigger [and] better.” 

John Crane is a sports/general assignment reporter for the Devils Lake Journal. Feel free to contact John via work phone (701-922-1372), cell phone (701-230-4339), email (jcrane@gannett.com) or Twitter (@johncranesports) with any story ideas.