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Three Minutes on a Park Bench With: Joe Clair

You got the bags?

Joe Clair of Michigan Cornhole.
Joe Clair of Michigan Cornhole.

Cornhole isn't complicated. Grab some friends or family, a bit of space, perhaps a cold beverage or two.

But when you need a custom board, new bags, or just want to find a great local league, Joe Clair is your man. 

We grabbed a few minutes with Clair, president of Michigan Cornhole, and discovered one thing we already knew deep down, that we should be getting together more with our friends.

Patch: Cornhole is clearly fun. To you, what makes the game so enjoyable?

Joe: Well there are many things that I find enjoyable about cornhole. The one that sticks out the most is how the game brings people together. My leagues are filled with the greatest groups of people. They are of all ages and come from all walks of life. It is a game that anybody can play and have a great time doing it.  

Patch: How did you get started playing? 

J: My friends and I played casually at tailgates for many years at sporting events. Then one summer we started playing in our backyards like every night of the week and on weekends. Before we knew it the group grew—c’mon when you're drinking some beers, BBQ-ing, and playing cornhole everyone wants to be a part of it, ha ha. Because of the outpouring of interest I decided to put together a league. That is when Michigan Cornhole was born. That’s the great thing about the game of cornhole. There are people playing in backyards all over the state of Michigan. What we have tried to do is pull those people out of their backyards and put them in a fun social setting around the Metro Detroit area. 

P: So is this now a full-time job or a side hobby?  

J: It started off as just a hobby that I loved. Then it turned into a part-time business. Even though the time I put into it would have the hours of a full-time job it does not feel that way at all. I was always told growing up, “Do something you love and you will never work again.” 

P: If I wanted to be the best possible cornhole player around, what skill would I absolutely have to possess?

J: Like I said earlier, the great thing about cornhole is anybody can play the game, though to be good and compete is just like anything else—it takes practice. There are many skills to address to go to the next level. Such as your stance, your release, and rotation of the bag. I think the skill that you would need to most possess is consistency, as with anything. If you have consistency in your game you will be a force to be reckoned with. 

P: Where did you grow up?

J: I grew up in Madison Heights. Then I moved to California for a few years and then came back and now I live in Royal Oak. The thing about Michigan is no matter where I move it will always be my home and I will always find my way back. 


P: What's something about you that would surprise the people who know you best? (Don't be shy! This is only going to tens of thousands of people's inboxes and the entire Internet.)

J: Ha ha, wow let me think… I think there are maybe two people that know this but I enjoy watching the TV show Nashville. Now don’t make fun, it is a good show. [Editor's note: With you Joe, love Nashville.] 

P: What's the strangest request for a logo or personalized cornhole board or set you've ever received? Did you fill it?

J: The funniest idea for a set of boards that I have seen made was for a certain female model on the board. I won’t go into the details but you get the idea. We can get anything made that you want. Just think it up and it can be done. We also have a long line of cornhole products other than just boards that we offer.


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Nominate someone from your community for the Patch Park Bench interview. Send suggestions to kathleen@patch.com.
Debbie Parker February 22, 2014 at 08:36 AM
It's kind of pathetic when tw very first word of the story is misspelled. Come on! Does anyone proof what is written? The first word in this story is cornole. When it should be cornhole. I start to read And it makes no sense. Really? I'm done wasting my time with this site. This is way too common with you Patch writers.
Allen Rowen February 22, 2014 at 09:45 AM
The problem with criticism is that we all make mistakes. I will quite likely make at least one in this comment. Debbie, yours comes in your first sentence,sixth word. I believe the word you intended was "the", not "tw"
Patti serafini February 22, 2014 at 10:36 AM
Hi, I have never heard of Cornhole. Can you tell us what it is? I'm curious. Thank you!
Glenn February 22, 2014 at 09:01 PM
Also Debbie, the word "and" in your sixth sentence should not be capitalized.
Katie Ryan O'Connor February 24, 2014 at 09:00 AM
Hi Debbie, Thank you for pointing out that unfortunate mistake. I've since corrected. And Patti here is a great primer if you'd like to learn more: http://www.cornholehowto.com/how-to-play/

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