2015 Great Lakes Kubb Championship Recap

ALANSON, MICH.—On Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015 the second annual Great Lakes Kubb Championship was held in Northern Michigan. The tournament used a “meat grinder” format. Matches were best of three games with a 50 minute time limit. After five rounds, the top two teams played for the championship, and the third and fourth ranked teams played for the third place trophy.

Teams from all over Michigan, one from Wisconsin, and one player from Minneapolis were all present. This year’s tournament featured 14 total teams, including two representing Kalamazoo Kubb—Kubbing Up With the Joneses (Christopher and Bryan Jones) and PHNQ (Jesse Fraim and Tyler Wood).

Kalamazoo Kubb players under Great Lakes Kubb Championship sign.

Kalamazoo’s two teams were matched against each other early in the day. It was a long-fought battle, ultimately ending in a last-minute game one win by PHNQ just before time expired. PHNQ and Kubbing Up With the Joneses would both finish the day with a 6-2-1 record.

PHNQ would end ranked in the top four and qualify to play in the third place game. They won that match against Karli and Crystal in two games to claim the third place trophy.

The championship game was played between local team Kubbigans 2.0 and Wisconsin team Rhymes With Tube. After two games, Rhymes With Tube took the win and with it, the 2015 championship title.

2015 Great Lakes Kubb Championship top 4 teams

The Great Lakes Kubb Championship is held every year on the weekend after Labor Day in Alanson, Michigan. The tournament raises money for the Fallen and Wounded Soldiers Fund, and hosted by Phil Dickinson of the Great Lakes Kubb Club.

2015 U.S. Nationals Live Team Draw

I recently relocated from Kalamazoo to Minneapolis. I still consider myself part of Kalamazoo Kubb, and I’m still playing (and hope to continue playing) tournaments with fellow Kalamazoo Kubbers. Basically I’m the Minneapolis chapter of Kalamazoo Kubb now, or at least that’s what USA Kubb‘s Eric Anderson called me last weekend.

One of the nice things about moving to the Twin Cities is the proximity to so many Kubb events. That long seven and a half hour drive to Eau Claire is shortened to an hour and a half now. That’s why I was able to head there this past Saturday for the annual live team draw. This is an event held at Lazy Monk Brewing (a great Eau Claire brewery I would highly encourage you to check out). Many people of the Kubb community come together to watch this year’s groups get put together. There is quite literally a bowl of team names being selected and seeded into groups on a big board. You can even tune in live online and be treated to various interviews and discussions led by Eric Anderson.

I knew that since I was close enough now, I wanted to check it out in person this year. My wife, Abby, and I made the relatively short drive east and settled in with a beer for some good conversation with fellow Kubb fans and to find out where my team was going to end up this year. As the “show” got underway I realized it was a little tough to hear Eric over the crowd so I moved in closer. He saw me and motioned for me to join him at the webcam. Before I knew it, I was having and interview about Kalamazoo Kubb and my nationals team, The Settlers of Baton. It was a lot of fun. Abby and I even got to draw a few teams out of the bowl. To top it off, I got a text shortly after from fellow Kalamazoo Kubber, Jesse Fraim, who was just as excited to watch me online as I was to be there.

Christopher Jones and Eric Anderson talking about Kalamazoo Kubb at the 2015 U.S. National Team Live Draw.

The Kubb community never ceases to amaze me. It’s such a great group of people from all over, from all kinds of backgrounds, coming together for this great game. Kubb really does unite people.

I had a great time at the live draw, but the main event is really next weekend’s national tournament. I can’t wait!

2015 Rockford Swedish Historical Society Kubb Tournament

2015 Rockford kubb tournament trophyThis past weekend Kalamazoo Kubb members Jesse Fraim and Christopher Jones (half of The Settlers of Baton) competed with friend-of-the-club Phil Dickinson at the 2015 Rockford Swedish Historical Society Kubb Tournament in Rockford, Illinois.

After a strong first match, the team, playing under the name Kubbigans, struggled to stay consist throughout the qualification rounds. It wasn’t until the team fell to consolation bracket C that they finally found their groove.

In the consolation bracket it was “win or go home.” The Kubbigans managed to stave off the competition and hit that all-important final king shot to bring home some trophies. Congrats, guys!

The Kubbigans pose with their consolation bracket trophies.

Player Profile: Christopher Jones

Photo of Christopher Jones.Name: Christopher Jones
Age: 29
Team: The Settlers of Baton

Where are you originally from?

Monroe, Mich.—south of Detroit and north of Toledo

What’s your day job?

I’m a Webmaster at Western Michigan University. I’m also a freelance graphic and Web designer.

What do you like best about kubb?

Kubb is a unique experience each time you play it. There is plenty of strategy and in my mind, that makes it more exciting than other yard games. It’s so simple in theory, but has proven to be very challenging in practice. That said, it’s a very approachable game. I’ve seen seven year olds, 82 year olds and everyone in between play the game (quite well I might add). This approachability also extends to the people. Every kubb event I’ve been to and everyone I’ve met involved in kubb has been extremely positive. Good shots are celebrated by everyone, even your opponent. Everyone’s willing to have a chat and compare tips. That’s a rare find amongst the dog-eat-dog mentality in most of the sports world.

What’s your kubb speciality? (short, long, king, etc)

I’m almost always my team’s king slayer. I’m pretty consistent on hitting the king and while the pressure to hit it is quite high, that just makes knocking it over that much more rewarding.

What’s your favorite kubb memory?

My first tournament was the 2014 U.S. National Kubb Championship. The whole trip was an amazing experience, but the biggest highlight was being in game three against a very good team, Kubb’d, and taking it to 10 kubbs in play. We started the day hoping to win a match, and there we were, just a step away from the round of 16.

What’s your biggest kubb goal?

As a player I want to make it to Sunday at Nationals. On a bigger, kubb-advocate level, I want to make kubb a big deal in Michigan.

Where do you see the future of kubb?

Ideally it becomes an Olympic sport, but in the more near term I see it growing to a wider U.S. audience. I think the pockets of kubb in Michigan, Pennsylvania, etc. will continue to snowball and soon we’ll have kubb all over the country.

What are your interests outside of kubb?

I enjoy disc golf, cool gadgets and good movies. I’m also very passionate about design and technology. When it’s the right time of year you’ll see me at Western Michigan University hockey games (I’m a season ticket holder) or watching my beloved Red Wings.

Name a fun fact about yourself.

I once spent a summer living and interning in Switzerland. If only I had known about kubb back then I could have met up with the community there. I guess I need to go back!