The first annual Apricot Fiesta Cornhole Tournament took place on Sunday, June 2 in the Bank of the West parking lot at 10 a.m.

The event was hosted by the Patterson Volunteer Fire Fighters Association, in hopes of providing more variety and friendly competition to the Fiesta.

The Tournament was a double-team event, and teams paid $100 to register. There were cash prizes given to the top three teams, with a first place cash prize of $400.

Division Chief for the Fire Department, and Co-Chair of the Cornhole Tournament Jonathan Schali could be found managing the playoff bracket, as well as the personalities of all the laughing and chattering volunteer firefighters who were helping out at the event.

“Well, today is our first annual Apricot Fiesta Cornhole Tournament. We put it out there and figured we’d give it a try and just try to bring a little bit more stuff to do at the Fiesta. In return, some of the proceeds go towards the fire department and towards helping out our Apricot Fiesta,” said Chief Schali, who added, “the Patterson Volunteer Fire Fighters are the ones putting it together. They’re the ones that are running and taking care of it. I kinda got everything out there, and then they’re the ones who are taking and running with it.”

Crowds started to form around the bleachers that were set up in the Bank of the West parking lot underneath a shaded canopy, and participating teams could be found mingling before the start of the first round.

Victor Pineda has been playing Cornhole for about a year and a half and was excited when he heard the Fiesta was going to be hosting a Tournament. “They used to have a horseshoe Tournament at the Fiesta, and I played in that one for 21 years, but then they canceled that and finally came up with this one this year, so hopefully this works out for the future,” he said.

Custom cornhole bags were weighed and measured at the scorers table to ensure they met regulatory standards. Some teams had initials printed on the bags, Oakland Raiders logos, American flags, and a certain 5-leaf green plant was printed on the bags of the eventual tournament winners, the Cornstars.

There were two members per team, one team member on each side. Each player tossed a bag towards the cornhole board in hopes of either landing or scoring through the hole. First team to reach 21 wins.

As the tournament commenced, there was one team that could be found loudly joking with each other, yet quietly focused. One team that went to check the bracket after each match and kept a close eye on their potential opponents, while seated comfortably on their fold-out camping-chair- with-cupholder combination. One team that seemed to huddle before and after each match, and give each other verbal motivational encouragement as their bags landed on the board after a beautiful rainbow arch shot reminiscent of Ray Allen in a Seattle Supersonics jersey.

John Kuersten and local, Jerome Ploof, made up the winning team, the “Cornstars.”

“Right now we’re going as the Cornstars, but we also go as the “Splash Brothers.” We’re looking for a sponsor, and as soon as we get a sponsor we’re gonna get a name set; we’re trying to get on ESPN,” said John.

The Cornstars got off to early leads in each of their matches heading towards the finals. They were quick assassins, and were able to sit back, relax, and go grab beer and food as they awaited their opponent for the semi-finals; an advantage that no other team at the event was able to have, as their matches seemed to take much longer than the blitzkrieg the Cornstars were displaying.

“We got some real good competitors out here you know. I been playing with my buddy Jerome, we been movin’ and shakin’ and there’s some real good competitors here. You can’t take anybody for granted. Once you smell blood in the water you gotta kill ‘em, you gotta get ‘em, and finish it; otherwise they can come back and win, so I practice about an hour a day now. I should be in the gym working out but it is what it is,” said John.

After the finals victory Jerome said that he was feeling good.

“It feels good man, we’ve played in quite a few Tournament and - ”

“We’re going to Disneyland,” John shouted.

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