Photo courtesy of Jesse Fraim
ALANSON, Mich. — Phil and Stormy Dickinson own 17 acres of property about 30 miles south of the Mackinac Bridge in the northern reaches of Michigan’s lower peninsula. It is affectionately called “Windy Acres” and has hosted countless family reunions and gatherings throughout the years that are centered around camping, bonfires, swimming, and Phil’s love of yard games. Each April, the Great Lakes Kubb club uses the property to host players from around the region in a competition to find out who is the best singles player in what is one of only two 1v1 tournaments currently in the United States. The newly minted Great Lakes Kubb Stadium played hosted to the second annual Michigan 1v1 Kubb Championship on Saturday, April 29.
It was a sunny, yet cool day with temperatures starting in the mid 30s that warmed into the low 50s by the championship game. New this year, as players entered the kubb pitch area, there were two wooden kings which formed an entrance. Players and spectators could climb to the top of the kings to overlook the pitches and surrounding area.
Twelve players from three states were competing — Michigan, Wisconsin, and Illinois. All skill levels were represented, ranging from a former U.S. National Champion to a player competing in his first ever kubb tournament. This format played at this location really made the day feel more like a kubb retreat than a cut-throat kubb tournament.
Players competed in nine rounds of the Klassic system and then all players were seeded into a championship bracket. Players that lost in the first round of the championship bracket then entered a consolation bracket. All matches in the playoffs were a best-of-three format.
The quarter finals went to the higher seeds, but both Chad Bevers and Evan Fitzgerald were pushed to the brink of elimination in their respective matches. J.R. Hrejsa took top seeded Bevers to nine kubbs in play in game three of his match, and Jesse Fraim took second seeded Fitzgerald to 10 kubbs in play in game three of their match. Both J.R. Hrejsa and Fraim had the batons in their hands to defeat both Bevers and Fitzgerald, but could not take advantage of their situations. Phil Dickinson defeated Matt Green and Joe Hrejsa defeated Will Dickinson in the other quarter final matches, both by a two to zero margin.
In the semifinals, Bevers defeated Joe Hrejsa two games to zero, and Fitzgerald defeated Dickinson two games to one. Pushed to a third game in his second straight match, Fitzgerald turned his lucked around by shedding his socks and shoes, going barefoot for the rest of the tournament.
The finals saw a rematch of last year, as Bevers would defend his 2016 championship against Fitzgerald. Game one was a back and forth battle that saw Fitzgerald push the game to nine kubbs in play before Bevers cleared his group of nine field kubbs with three batons. He would then slay the king to put game one in the win column. Game two started innocently enough, as both players traded one base kubb, but Bevers would take a commanding lead in his second turn as he cleared all but one base kubb. Fitzgerald cleared his group of five field kubbs with three batons and would eliminate two more base kubbs in his third turn. That would prove to not be enough, as Bevers would clear his group of seven field kubbs with two batons and then eliminate the last base kubb before slaying the king to win the tournament for a second straight year.
The third place match saw two members of the local club fighting for the final spot on the podium. Dickinson ended up winning two games to zero, resulting in the same top three standing as last year. In the consolation finals, Mark Weaver defeated Bryan Jones.
Congratulations to all of the competitors on a well played weekend of kubb. The finals of the tournament were live streamed and can be viewed on the Kubb On Facebook page. The first and third place matches were also recorded and will be available on YouTube in the near future.
See photos from the tournament
We’ve added great shots to our Facebook album.