Rebecca Gutierrez is the love of Stephen Bernacet, recent Kansas ACL national singles champion best known for throwing 27 bags in a row. Girls Throw Too Hosts, Whitney and Michelle sat down for an interview to get Rebecca’s perspective on cornhole life as a partner to a pro.
So what was it like to be present during that recent nationals where Steven won for singles and how do you support him in such a high-stress environment?
Rebecca: Very stressful. I usually just kind of talk to myself the same way he talks to himself. I’m like, okay, let’s go. Let’s go. And when he hits a shot, I fist pump and when he throws a bad shot or a good shot, like a really good shot, he’ll look at me and I’ll just nod my head or fist pump and like, let’s go and you know, all of that kind of stuff. I, I really try to like encourage him.
How far are you away from Steven when he’s up?
Rebecca: So I try to stay as close as possible when he’s playing and no one’s around I’ll sit behind the boards, but a little bit to the right. So I’m not like right behind the board. And then when he was playing on the broadcast courts, I sat right next to the divider. And then when he was on the ESPN courts, I sat in the first row, like right in the middle. So he knew exactly where I was at all times.
How does Steven deal with that stress and then what techniques do you use to help him?
Rebecca: So if he loses, I know, don’t talk to him, don’t go near him. He’ll usually walk outside and it used to make me upset. Cause I was like, well, I want to be the one to calm him down, but I realized he’ll calm himself down. He’ll come back. And that’s when I come in and I’m like, you know, it’s just one game. You’re going to get it. You’re going to be fine. If he does well, I go over and we’re just like, yes. And like we’ll fist-bump and hug, & kiss, depending on who’s around. He’ll sometimes forget to drink water or stuff like that. So I’m always like, okay, here, you just won. You just lost whatever, drink some water, keep
So does he have like an entourage around him or is it just you two?
Rebecca: So if it’s a smaller game, on the regular courts where there are a hundred boards, there are people who come and watch him. We’re from the Chicago land area so we have all the Chicago players and the Indiana players. We’re part of chi town baggers, and it’s a big group of the Chicago land people. So if we’re not playing, we’ll go and watch other people. We just kind of like divide and conquer. So it’s really nice to have that kind of group.
So I have to ask, he just wins the Kansas national…. What do you do next? How did you celebrate?
Rebecca: So after he did all of his ESPN stuff,, we just went outside and he was so happy. I’m pretty sure he was running around the parking lot. And we just went back to our hotel room, ate food and then watched a movie.
Has life been dramatically different or does it feel the same to you?
Rebecca: So he’s a jokester. So he’ll say Oh babe, you’re riding in the car with a champ. Oh, you’re going to dinner with a champ. Oh, here comes the champ. And like, you know, stuff like that. But when the tournament starts, it’s nothing huge. He does talk to a lot more people and stuff like that. And I don’t know if you guys saw the video of him going back to man-cave, he’s throwing his hands up. The guys are like holding his trophy in the air.
How long have you guys been dating, and how exactly did you meet?
Rebecca: Uh, we’ve been dating for four and a half years and we actually swiped right on Tinder, Yep. And I had no idea that he would be a champ one day.
So were you into cornhole at all prior to meeting him?
Rebecca: No. just playing at family parties and stuff like that. Steven actually didn’t start playing competitively until we met. We met in 2016 and until then he was playing in County fairs, small little tournaments, you know, local. And then the day we started talking, that weekend played in his first ACO tournament.
Do you like to play or are you competitive yourself?
Rebecca: I am competitive, but I don’t really play. I have played in local weekly blind draws and stuff like that. My problem is that I was a pitcher for softball, so I throw really hard.
What are you into? What does your daily life look like other than cornhole we want to learn about you.
Rebecca: I’m actually going to school for elementary education. I’m still in college. I wanna teach fourth, fifth, sixth grade, something like that. I also do babysitting. I babysit a lot of kids just kind of here and there. I have one family that I do weekly and that’s actually another bagging family.
Do you ever get frustrated or “cornhoeld out”?
Rebecca: I do get “cornholed out” sometimes and I’ll tell him, I’m not going to this tournament. I don’t want to be there and he goes with friends. There have been some times where I feel like cornhole is more important, but then I’ll tell him, Hey, like you need to step back. We need to have a date night. We just need to have like a week to ourselves. And he is pretty good about that. He’ll be like, you know what? Yeah, it has been a while since we’ve spent a lot of time together just without cornhole. So, we’ll go on dates. But for the most part, I’m pretty easy going. So I don’t mind going to tournaments.
I’m curious though, what are those date nights?
Rebecca: We usually just go out to eat or order in. We both still live at home and are trying to save money to move out. So we’ll usually rent or get a hotel room, have dinner, watch movies all night, stuff like that.
What’s your favorite movies?
Rebecca: We love the movie Hamilton and he actually likes Disney movies. He really likes cars… toy story. He loves all the toy stories, and the movies that were made for Disney channel. He likes a lot of those. And of course, they’re all like sports movies and stuff like that.
If money didn’t matter, what would your life look like? Is there anything you would change about what you currently have going?
Rebecca: The only thing I would change is that we’d be living together. That’s pretty much it and we would start having kids. I really want to be a mom, everyone who knows me knows that. But we’re not at that point yet. We do want to get financially stable, get married, get a house, all that kind of stuff before we do have kids. So that’s kind of like the only thing that would change.