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 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: Jesse Fraim

jesse-fraimName: Jesse Fraim
Age: 32
Team: The Settlers of Baton

Where are you originally from?

Sturgis, MI

What’s your day job?

Assistant Banking Center Manager for Comerica Bank in Kalamazoo, MI

What do you like best about kubb?

What’s not to like? It seems so simple, yet has so much strategy and skill involved to become a really good player. You can pick up the basics of the game very quick, but takes a while to master all the shots necessary to be great. The level of sportsmanship in Kubb is beyond amazing. Every kubb player/tournament/organization you meet are elated to have you there and just want to see you do your best. Players shake hands before and after matches, they call fouls on themselves, and just want to see the game grow. Kubb has a major following in the Midwest but it still feels like you are in on the ground floor of building the sport. You can email, text, or call major stars or tournament organizers and they are more than happy to help you out in any way possible.

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

I’m not afraid to take any shot, at any time. I have to remind my team to not let me try anything stupid during tournaments. In friendlies I’ll go for the high risk, high reward shots so I generally do better with the 4 meter group shots when I’m taking the games seriously. I always want to throw first and I’m first blaster on Settlers of Baton and backup driller. I’m a very streaky 8 meter player, and you DON’T want me doing the king shot. Before the US National Championship, my team had me do the opening baton toss because I always came close to hitting the King but could never hit the King.

What’s your favorite kubb memory?

I’m sure the rest of my teammates will go with day one of the US National Championships this past July. Mine is the afternoon the day before the tournament. We arrived in Eau Claire in time to head to the park and practice. To see all these players and teams I have read so much about or only seen in You Tube videos was surreal. You could look down the pitch and see all of these Kubb superstars that were right there in front of me and I couldn’t believe we were actually there. Second place memory was the conversations I was lucky enough to have with Eric Anderson at the Des Moines Fall Kubb Klassic. The guy is such an inspiration and gets you pumped up to grow the sport.

What’s your biggest kubb goal?

Make it to Sunday at Nationals. We had 10 kubbs in play against Kubb’d in the round of 32 in our first ever tournament, so it’s just a matter of getting better this offseason. Everyone has been playing a lot and sharpening their skills, so I’m confident our best 3 or 4 players can do it.

Where do you see the future of kubb?

The sky is the limit with this sport. Michigan has great potential for growth and we want to do our part to help grow it in Southwest Michigan. I see kubb growing outside the midwest and spreading on the east and west coasts. As soon as we get a New York City, LA, Boston Kubb Club I think it will explode. I’d hate to think of Eau Claire ever losing it’s crown as Kubb Capital of North America, but I think Eric Anderson would be happy to give it up if we could grow it in these big coastal cities.

What are your interests outside of kubb?

I’ve always been a huge sports geek. I love college football (Notre Dame) and Major League Baseball (Chicago White Sox). I also like to listen to sports Podcasts, specifically The Tony Kornhesier Show, the Adam Carolla Show, and Fox Valley Kubb Radio (which they really need to bring back in this kubb offseason, I miss it badly).

Name a fun fact about yourself.

I used to be into professional wrestling, and not just watching it on TV. I made what they called an “e-wrestling” website called World Fantasy Wrestling where you made up wrestling characters, wrote up “promos”, and I would write a weekly show with line-by-line commentary and moves. It was quite the thing for a few years with members all across the Mid-West, Canada, East Coast, and even the UK.