THIEF RIVER FALLS, Minn. — Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017 a field of 14 two-person teams competed in the second annual Thief River Falls Winter Kubb Tournament. The event, created by local kubb enthusiast Ryan Kolden, was held at the local Eagles Club. Kolden has held 33 tournaments over the past seven years in Thief River Falls. He says,
“Being way up north, we live in our own kubb island. Meaning not many competitors travel from different areas to attend them. Having national competitors attending TRF tournaments brought a breath of fresh air to our northern kubb community. They brought competitiveness, sportsmanship and good positive kubb energy to this year’s tournament. Thank you to everyone that participates and supports TRF Kubb”
Five qualifying rounds of the Klassic system seeded a championship bracket of the top eight. It was a cold day—never reaching double digit temperatures—but the sun was present and the wind was at a minimum for most of the day. Players were also able to warm up inside the Eagles Club between matches, making it a little more manageable.
At the end of the qualifying rounds, the Lumber Tumblers (Christopher Jones, Brian Winistorfer) of Minneapolis were the only team left undefeated. It wasn’t until the semifinals that they finally dropped a game. In the finals match, the Lumber Tumblers met with Thief River Falls local team, SKOL Kubb (Danny Behm, Michael Gray). SKOL Kubb proved they weren’t to be taken lightly when they took advantage of a line and won game one. The Lumber Tumblers seemed a little deflated in the beginning of game two, where SKOL had a chance to clinch it but missed a king shot. The Lumber Tumblers saw their opportunity and came back to win game two and tied the match. Now it was time for the epic final game that would crown a champion. Most of the game went back and forth, with the Tumblers gaining a slight lead, only to be foiled by a missed field kubb. SKOL tied it back up on their next turn, but in the end it wasn’t enough. The Lumber Tumblers won the game, the match, and the day.
Kolden’s plans for the 2018 winter tournament are to expand it to eight pitches and 24 teams. It will be held at the same venue and include live music.