In 2020 Tony Mayball’s brother Brandon invited him to “throw bags” at a weekly local event, and Mayball didn’t know what he was talking about. “When he told me it was corn hole, I said I would give a try. I hit the ceiling twice in a row that night but did okay” Tony laughs. He enjoyed the competitive, but relaxed environment and support that everyone gave each other.
Learning that Corn Hole is the world’s fastest growing sport with a huge presence of youth participating, Mayball was motivated to learn how to play better using his intellect and athletic background, thinking to himself “I gotta figure this all out”.
Tony earned his PRO ranking in less than a year in the Great Shots tournament in the Detroit area, competing against the top 100 players, and he won the whole tournament. “When I made the last bag, I was in shock, it was then I kinda broke down, no one does this in a year. It felt good to be congratulated, recognized for my efforts, and respected in the industry. It felt good to earn this in my home state of Michigan.”
Mayball’s phone immediately started blowing up. Sponsors were competing to have him on board, and his community was offering support and congratulations. “Now when I head to a tournament, I get tons of messages encouraging me, people I don’t even know believe in what I’m doing and want to offer support. It’s been incredible.”
His efforts to continue to perfect his game and mental agility when competing have paid off, Mayball is currently ranked as the #2 corn hole player in the world and was drafted to represent The Missouri Mays.
Tom and Cindy Montemayer held the early drafts he got involved in. “These two would encourage me, they saw my potential and would tell me to come back next week and get better. They offered a friendly environment that I believe helped me succeed and are part of my inner circle of support to this day. Truly the people who are associated with the sport, the ones who hold drafts, who play, are what makes the sport what it is and what it is becoming.”
The route Mayball took to reach this achievement didn’t come without consistent effort, he trains 5-6 nights a week. On top of his practice schedule, Mayball mentors a local 9-year-old every Friday, and is working to start a youth corn hole clinic at the Valaparasio YMCA. “They allow six kids under 18 per year to compete to become pros. I want to encourage others to join the sport as I was encouraged. Kids have no fear, when they come to the board and are across from me, they are at it with fire and drive. It’s both intense and awesome.”
Mayball also aims to come home to Roscommon in the summer to create a fundraiser to give back to the community he grew up in and encourages northern Michigan residents to check out the Northern Center and to connect to Seth Daniels to get involved with the sport. “Start with a weekly draw and go from there” Mayball encourages.
Mayball looks ahead to creating a bright future training consistently to improve and aims welcome others to the industry; fans will be able to watch Mayball compete on ESPN with his partner Steven Burneset in April.
Tony also looks ahead to 2028, where there is talk of corn hole becoming part of the Olympics- he wants to be there. “It will be great to one day move out of our apartment and get a house in the country with some land and a pole barn, for the kids to play and to have a spot indoors to practice” Mayball adds.
Tony is hopeful that one day soon he will have a hometown company on his jersey as a sponsor, and is currently sponsored by Spark Apparel, ManCave Mondays, Throw High Cornhole, K9 Unit, South of the River Baggers, and Vortex Bags, as well as generous sponsorship and support from Tony’s other brother Brandon.
“Sponsorship is what makes it possible to cover travel costs for the various tournaments I compete in. Spark Apparel created and donated custom ‘Bagg Cancer ‘Jerseys for me to raise funds for my grandma who was battling breast cancer and those funds will help with her upcoming memorial. Sponsorship is an important aspect of being able to do what I’m doing, and I appreciate the support.” Tony shares.
“Whether I’m a pro or non-pro, it is not going to change who I am. I am going to continue to work hard to succeed and share the sport with others coming through the ranks” Tony shares as he reflects on his journey in corn hole thus far.
The way he has shown up on the path is indeed something to be proud of, both for himself, his family and his hometown. You can follow Tony’s journey and offer support by following his FB page- ACL PRO Tony Mayball, and potential sponsors can reach him at Tmayball1221@icloud.com.
To purchase jerseys and Vortex bags at bags.com, you can use Tony’s discount code: Mayball23