A n old cotton gin in Tallassee lives a double sporting life: A weekend cornhole tournament destination on the weekends, The Sports Gin is an athletic training center for kids during the week. The 125-foot by 50-foot facility on Jordan Avenue found new life last year when Tallassee wrestling club coach Brent Tennyson found the building to rent as a practice gym for the youth recreation team. In October, he added a competitive element for family fun.

The facility came about when Tennyson needed practice space for the wrestling club. With limited space available for the number of local teams that needed it, Tennyson took matters into his own hands. An empty cotton gin fit the bill for the team and for Tallassee when The Sports Gin moved into the vacant building.

While the athletic training schedule dominates Monday through Friday, The Sports Gin offers family fun on Saturday nights with the Last Bag Standing Cornhole Tournaments. 

For $15 per team, contestants play in a blind draw tournament and a partner tournament. Contestants can bring their own boards and bags or use those available at the facility. Cash prizes are awarded for every tournament, and additional profits are used to improve the facility.

The Sports Gin also offers a venue and tournament format for churches and other organizations to hold cornhole tournament fundraisers. 

“Cornhole has become so big, especially at tailgates. We have a few folks driving all the way down from Birmingham to play in our tournaments,” Tennyson said. 

Sometimes, Tennyson’s father-in-law entertains with his guitar, and any kind of family-friendly entertainment is welcome. For one special tourney in June, dubbed Crawdads and Cornhole, Craig Russell, a former player with the Charlie Daniels’ Band, provided entertainment. 

“We have had good family fun with the Saturday night cornhole tournaments since last October. Children are having fun while their parents play. They can bring their coolers and just have a good time,” Tennyson said.

The Sports Gin is outfitted for athletic endeavors and serves as home base for the wrestling team plus as an excellent indoor facility to train athletes for other sports. The Sports Gin offers training for wrestling, baseball and softball with plans to offer training for archery and a dodgeball league. 

The Talisi Wrestling Club is a member of USA Wrestling, the national governing body for the sport of wrestling and the U.S. Olympic wrestling team trainees. USA Wrestling supports wrestling programs in the United States by coordinating amateur wrestling teams and competitions. As a member of the national organization, the Talisi Wrestling Club has had its share of accolades. Members of the team range in age from 5 to 13 and have won the state championship for three years running – 2017, 2018 and 2019. 

“I am really proud of our success, and I am excited about our future,” Tennyson said.

For information on The Sports Gin training facility or the cornhole tournaments, checkout The Sports Gin Facebook page or contact Brent Tennyson at 334-415-5314.