Harrisburg’s Matt Ryan enters Professional Cornhole ranks

Sports

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — You’ve probably played cornhole at a tailgate before a game, or even at a backyard barbeque with friends, but for Harrisburg resident Matt Ryan, he’s turned the sport into a second career.

Matt Ryan’s pursuit of playing competitive cornhole began six years ago as he and a friend were looking to play others around the area.

“We called a couple places and we found a place and started playing. We thought we were pretty good and once we got up and started playing against some of these guys, we were like, we are not good. We were getting beat 2-0 every single time,” Ryan said.

While balancing work and raising a family, Ryan used Friday’s and weekends to continue to work on his craft. Soon after he would start to see the rewards of his efforts.

“About my second year, when I really started playing. I was starting to compete and I ended up winning my first singles and doubles championship in South Dakota. At that point, I was like ok, maybe we’re on to something here,” Ryan said.

Ryan competes in the Mid-North Conference, a section of the American Cornhole League.

“The Mid North Conference is the ACL Conference, which is North Dakota, Minnesota, South Dakota,” JR Hofer said.

Players of all skills and ages are eligible to compete, but Ryan’s play always stood out. He was even offered a chance to play professionally three years ago.

“Turned it down. Had a lot of stuff going on, had two young kids,” Ryan said.

With some encouragement from friends, Ryan decided this year was the right time to turn pro.

“I wanted to be able to make sure I left everything out there and did everything I could to make this a possibility,” Ryan said.

He’s now one of 256 professional cornhole players in the ACL, and the first from the Mid North Conference to sign a pro contract.

“It’s huge for growing the sport. We’ll get a lot of recognition for Matt being out there and getting the conference mentioned on the ACL pro listings,” JR Hofer said.

Just looking to play competitive cornhole six years ago is a decision that Ryan is happy he made.

“I used to have a bunch of other hobbies, it wasn’t just bags. I used to golf. I used to fish, hunt. It’s like man, this is what I enjoy doing. I can make a little side money doing it and like I said, it just keeps my competitiveness you know right there. So yeah, it’s great, I love it,” Ryan said.

Matt will play next at the ACL Open in Rapid City. That tournament runs from October 22nd through the 24th.

Check out Triple Crown Cornhole League’s Facebook page for information on area cornhole tournaments here.

For South Dakota cornhole events head to SoDak Cornhole’s Facebook page here.

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