We're Hiring

Aholeeo in One: New cornhole-inspired game comes to the Chippewa Valley

Emilee Wentland, photos by Andrea Paulseth

DON’T BE AN A-HOLE. Already, a new cornhole-ish game called Aholeeo – invented by locals – is popping up in bars and rec rooms around the Chippewa Valley.
DON’T BE AN A-HOLE. Already, a new cornhole-ish game called Aholeeo – invented by locals – is popping up in bars and rec rooms around the Chippewa Valley.

Creating games is nothing new for John Froehle of Eau Claire. For about two decades, Froehle has been going to outdoor festivals to sell yard games. Recently, cornhole has become a big seller. The popularity of the classic cornhole game is what sparked the idea for a new game dubbed Aholeeo.

“Some people throw it like a frisbee, some people throw it the underhand way ... everybody has their own little style, and that’s kind of fun too to watch.” – John Froele, inventor of Aholeeo

Aholeeo, pronounced “Ay-hole-ee-oh,” is an all-seasons game similar to the classic outdoor bean bags game except the board is hung on the wall rather than resting on the ground.

“All these games I make are for outdoors,” Froehle said. “And I thought, ‘Wow, it would be great if I could have a game that you could play all year round.’ ”

Aholeeo can be played indoors or outdoors, so long as players have somewhere to hang the board. The names comes from the A-shape of the game board.

The object of Aholeeo is simple: Score 40 points to win. To do this, each player takes a turn throwing bean bags into the holes to score points, similar to the rules of cornhole. However, the Aholeeo board is hung on a wall and the players must stand 8 to 10 feet from it to throw.

Aholeeo requires at least two players, but more can play. There are four other ways to play the game once players have the board and some bean bags, according to the game’s website, Aholeeo.com.

While cornhole players typically throw underhanded, there are a multitude of ways to succeed in Aholeeo. “Some people throw like a Frisbee, some people throw the underhand way,” Froehle said. “Everybody has their own little style, and that’s kind of fun too to watch.”

Froehle and his partner in the project, Jesse Allen, have sold about 50 games locally since Froehle began working on it about a year ago. They’re in the process of donating 10 boards to various establishments in the area to get the word out. They already have two boards at The Pourhouse, W301 W. Menomonie St., Elk Mound.

And all in all, Allen said the response, so far, has been positive.

“We’re looking for an all-around consumer experience here,” Allen said. “We’re trying to get the game in as many hands as we can.”

Eventually, they aspire to have leagues playing the game, with teams ultimately competing against each other in Aholeeo tournaments.

“We could get enough taverns around the area to have a board within them to have traveling leagues,” Allen explained. “Each week, you move to a different location – that sort of thing – kind of like the dart leagues would be.”

The game boards are unique because each of them is handmade, hand-painted, and sanded. Getting the word out has been hard, Allen said, because word-of-mouth has been their only form of advertising.

Allen and Froehle are bus drivers in Eau Claire. They have a board set up in their garage at work, so they play it with each other frequently. Their favorite parts about Aholeeo are the competition and camaraderie.

“Watching other people play it (is my favorite part),” Froehle said. “When they get excited, I get just as excited.”

Aholeeo games are available for purchase at Aholeeo.com. The game also has a Facebook page for fans called “Aholeeo Game.”