New Hampshire Cornhole
Granite bean bags? Nope, this "Old Man" tribute is filled with corn
Erik Cook and his Old Man of the Mountain tribute boards
Ten years after its epic collapse, the Old Man of the Mountain tributes keep on coming. There are bobbleheads, earrings, puzzles, beer, songs and even a climbing wall. But the latest way to say we’ll never forget is a bit more unusual: Smacking the Old Man’s face with a sack of corn.
Merrimack carpenter Erik Cook is the founder of New Hampshire Cornhole and the creator of the first Old Man of the Mountain cornhole boards. In case you are unfamiliar with the fast-spreading backyard game, cornhole involves tossing beanbags at an inclined wooden platform with a hole at the end. Points are scored by landing the bags, originally stuffed with corn, in the hole or on the board.
“Growing up, the Old Man has always been part of my family conversations,” says Cook, whose mother and grandmother were born near the White Mountains in Littleton. “It’s sad that he’s gone, but now he’s still alive on my boards.”
Cook started making his own cornhole boards out of birch wood after being frustrated by the cheap plastic versions for sale at sporting good stores.
“My boards are sturdy enough to walk on,” he promises. “If you or one of your drunk friends falls on it, I guarantee it won’t break.”
Cook builds his boards according to the standardized configurations of the American Cornhole Association (yes, it does exist) and sells them at the Hollis Flea Market and at NewHampshireCornhole.com. A set of two boards retails between $120-$200 depending on the level of customization.
Also an artist, Cook will add your company logo or any theme to your boards. Some themes, such as the Old Man, are done with weatherproof decal wraps originally designed for truck advertising. “If I could do this full time, that would be fantastic, but I don’t expect to retire off this,” he says. “We’re doing a lot of word-of-mouth business. Someone goes to a family party and plays the game and then they want a set for themselves.”
“My favorite sound in the world is when a bag hits the board,” adds Cook, who buys his beanbag corn from Tractor Supply in Merrimack. “It almost feels like a drumbeat. When my buddies are playing, I can hear it from three houses away.”