Creating a new world record

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Engineer attempts to give Guinness book something unique to post

Ephraim Ford went on a lark.
It was a very planned out lark actually, because it involves setting a world record to be submitted to the Guinness Book of World Records and that means it has to be carefully put together.
On Monday, Ford, an engineer who works and studies at New Mexico Tech, and several friends and Tech students assembled the largest ever cornhole game board. The huge board, looking much like a strange ramp of some kind, was built behind Sphere Hall on Tech’s campus.
“I have always thought it would be something fun to do,” Ford said. “Try to get a world record.”
Ford grew up in Las Cruces, with the Whole Enchilada Festival as inspiration, and wanted to set his own record at something — he just didn’t know what.
Then one day, he was visiting his brother and they were playing cornhole in the backyard and it came to him. Cornhole is played with a board with a hole in it and bags full of corn. The idea is to get the bag into the hole.
Contacting the folks at Guiness, Ford realized the project would be a little harder than he imagined, but that didn’t daunt his determination.
“I didn’t know the requirement is it has to be either 10 times bigger or smaller than the original,” he said. “It has to be made the exact same way.”
The hole and the board were not to hard to figure out. The corn bags were a little more challenging. They were made out of duck cloth and filled with corn.
Ford’s throwing bags had to be 5 feet long and 5 feet wide and they had about 11 and a half pounds of corn in each one, 10 times the weight of the regular-sized ones.
“If they had been stuffed full, they would have weighed over 100 pounds,” he said. “It would have been impossible to throw.”
Ford and his partners in the project, Henry Newton, Brad Winton and Mike Timmons, ended up spending five hours building the board, and then, after playing with it for several hours, spent another two hours taking it down.
“In both cases, students also came by to help for various periods of time,” he said.
In preparation, Ford and his planning and prebuilding crew — Brad Dotson, Byron Sessions, Dave Grow and Dan Cadol — put in about 50 man-hours to prebuild, paint, assemble and disassemble the 20-foot by 40-foot board.
Ford’s friend and co-worker Craig Hennies, of Lemitar, made the bags on his commercial sewing machine.
“This really was a fun and hard project,” Ford said. “Since the board was a ramp that started at 30 inches off the ground and went up to 10 feet off in the rear, we felt it was prudent to disassemble on the same day instead of leaving it unattended over the night.”
Now, Ford’s sons have been inspired by their father’s hard work.
Keller, 3, wants to make the world’s largest cannon ball, and Robinson, 5, wants to build the world’s largest train set.
“They play into one of the reasons for doing this,” Ford said. “We just wanted to have fun, do something crazy and have something for my boys.”
Part of the requirements from Guinness was that a game be played on the board.
The game was played in teams of blue and white. The team leaders, Timmons, blue, and Ford, white, led a varied array of New Mexico Tech students and staff who pitched in pitching corn bags on the board.
Ford’s team took the win with a 21 to 18 score.
“After that, various other bystanders had fun throwing the bags for another hour,” Ford said.

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