While his peers were enjoying their last moments of summer vacation, 16-year-old Hunter Claxton played in the American Cornhole League (ACL) World Championship in Rock Hill, South Carolina. The competition was held August 2 through August 8, and Claxton played in the advanced and conference cup championship.
Claxton, a native of Adrian, began his cornhole experience playing in the backyard, a common experience in the south. He initially played casually, but when he attended his first regional tournament in Macon, he says he was “hooked that day.” He now plays advanced doubles with Eric Cook of East Dublin, whom he has played with for more than a year. His parents, Jason and April Claxton, run a weekly blind-draw at the fairgrounds in Swainsboro on Fridays.
At the beginning of the season, Claxton won the 2020-2021 Southeast Conference Junior Championship in Saint Augustine, Florida.
He was also a part of the team, East Georgia Cornhole, that won “The Battle of Georgia” in Cartersville. They earned $8,000 in that competition.
At the ACL World Championship, Claxton was selected among the top 16 players in the Southeast Conference to play in the Conference Cup Championship. Claxton was the only player on the team who was not a professional. The team placed third overall. Claxton placed second in the blind draw and seventh in singles. Claxton is gracious, saying that “wasn’t too bad” for his first time there.
As for his future, Claxton hopes to “go pro” next season. He has filled out the applications, but the honor is very exclusive. The ACL limits the “pro” title to only four players under the age of 18 each season. Regardless of that outcome, Claxton is getting ready for the new season to start in October.
“I should know before too much longer if I’ll be selected to go pro or not, but either way, I will be playing somewhere. I hope the game continues to grow.”