Photo courtesy of Bryan Jones.
DALLAS, Wisc. — On Saturday, Oct. 7 over 100 kubb enthusiasts invaded the park in the Village of Dallas, Wisconsin for the annual Oktoberfest Kubb Tournament. The village normally has a population of 400, but on the first Saturday of October, they hosted the 21st annual Oktoberfest celebration. This was the ninth year the kubb tournament was a part of the festival, which included vintage baseball games, Valkyrie Brewing Company beer booths, food stands, polka music and dancing, and much more.
While many fans of kubb view the Dallas tournament as an end of the season celebration, there are just as many teams that come to the tournament ready to battle the best clubs from across America. The 16 team field included known clubs, established teams, and variety of skill levels. Teams included players from at least five states—Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Iowa, and Michigan.
Because the tournament is held in October in the Midwest, participants must be ready for all kinds of weather. Tournament Director Eric Anderson said the weather has ranged from snow to t-shirts and shorts weather throughout the years. This year, a steady rain moved in Friday afternoon that continued through the lunch break Saturday. At the start of the tournament, temperatures struggled to move out the 40s, but did warm into the 60s by the time of the semi-finals.
The format of the tournament remained unchanged, as the 16 teams were placed in groups of four and utilized a round-robin format. The top two teams in each group advanced to the championship bracket, while the bottom two teams played in the consolation bracket.
Here are the results after the round-robin phase.
- The John Blazel Gang (3-0)
- Steve and the Shufflers (2-1)
- Kubb de Grace (1-2)
- No You Go (0-3)
- Chaska Kubb (3-0)
- Kubboom (2-1)
- Stop Kubbing Baby Seals (1-2)
- DUB-six (0-3)
- Kubbitz (3-0)
- Claire Mni (2-1)
- My Boyfriend Floyd (1-2)
- Kubb Shot J.R. (0-3)
- Skubbatrubbas (3-0)
- Shinbuddies (2-1)
- Kettle Moraine Kubb (1-2)
- Stupid Beavers (0-3)
The championship bracket was seeded and playoffs were underway after the lunch break.
At the top of the bracket, the three time reigning champions, the John Blazel Gang (Casey Anderson, John Blazel, Darren Finger, Scott Forster, Gregg Jochimsen, Luke Peikert) were matched up against Claire Mni (Aaron Ellringer, David Ellringer, Sy Ellringer, Eric Goplin, Scott Graham, Cole Vryens).
With the match tied one game apiece, deep into the third game, the John Blazel Gang left a advantage line. Claire Mni inkasted in their kubbs and plotted each throw knowing this was their chance to steal the game and the match. The team came up one throw short, as they cleared the pile, the two punishment kubbs, and the last remaining baseline. However, they did not have any batons remaining to slay the king. On their next turn, Finger would make them pay. After a great group, Jochimsen and team blasted down the group and won the match.
The remaining championship bracket matches were all resolved two game to zero.
The first of the semi-finals would match up the John Blazel Gang against Chaska Kubb (Phil Dickinson, Matt Erdman, Jason Larson, John Oman, Mark Oman, Ford Rolfsrud). Chaska would come out strong with a quick two-for-two on 8 meters, and the Blazel Gang would need three batons to clear the two kubb group. Chaska would return the favor, as they need four batons to clear a three kubb group on their next turn. Both teams would go back-and-forth clearing one or two baselines avoiding leaving advantage lines and both teams going cold on 8 meters. Finally, the Blazel Gang broke through as Jochimsen threw a great pile of eight kubbs that the team blasted down and Scott eliminated the final baseline in clutch fashion. However, team captain Blazel would miss the king shot that allowed the game to continue. Erdman would inkast nine field kubbs and Chaska took three batons to clear. He would leave no doubt as he eliminated the last baseline on their first 8 meter shot and John Oman slayed the king.
Game two started with both teams trading a couple baseline kubbs after the first few turns. Erdman would have a great blast of three field kubbs which pumped up his team to eliminate all but one baseline in that turn. The Blazel Gang could not answer, as they had a couple tough-luck misses in their blasting game, resulting in no additional baseline kubbs being eliminated. Rolfsrud threw in a good group of six field kubbs that the blasters eliminated in three throws, and Mark came through in clutch again with his 8 meter shot. John Oman slayed the king and Chaska kubb advanced to the championship match.
In the other semi-final match, Steve and the Shufflers (Jamie Feathers, Josh Feathers, Steve Feathers, Jesse Fraim, Dave Giese, Heidi Schwarzenbart) were up against Skubbatrubbas (Steve Dolan, Ben Lancette, Aaron McKie, Tim Motzko, Andrew Thibodeau, Brian Winistorfer).
The Shufflers made it to the semi-finals by excellent 8 meter play and living dangerously in the their 4 meter game. Game one saw that when the team would have great groups, they would have some crucial missed blasts. When they cleared their groups with ease, they would go cold on their 8 meter shots. Not being efficient in either phase of the game was a bad formula for success against the St. Paul Kubb Society. McKie and Winistorfer were very impressive with their inkasts, while Motzko was very efficient with their teams first blasts. Thibodeau and Winistorfer were very consistent all day on their 8 meter game. However, deep into the first game, the outcome was still in doubt. With six kubbs in play, the Shufflers would leave an advantage line for Skubbatrubbas. While they couldn’t finish the game on this turn, they eliminated the remaining baseline kubbs. The Shufflers left a line on the next turn, and St. Paul did not let them off the hook again as they eliminated the pile and Winistorfer slayed the king.
Winistorfer and Thibodeau started Skubbatrubbas off on a two-for-two 8 meter start to game two. The Shufflers were able to clear the pile and get one baseline and this pattern continued over the next few turns. Each team would eliminate the pile, sometimes making it an adventure, and then clear only one baseline kubb. With seven field kubbs in play, Winistorfer had one punishment kubb that the Shufflers placed near the back of the pitch. Motzko blasted five of the six kubbs in the group, leaving McKie to clean up the last kubb in the pile. Winistorfer carefully measured how far away the opposing team had place the punishment from the endline, stepped back to his side, and cleared what the Shufflers were hoping would be a pesky punishment kubb. The Shufflers would survive the remaining three batons at their last baseline kubb, but they could not take advantage in their next turn. Josh Feathers threw a great group of seven kubbs, and the Shufflers blasted it down in three throws. Having the batons to win the match, Fraim, Giese, and Steve Feathers would all miss their respective 8 meter shots. St. Paul would take the second game in their next turn and advance to the championship match.
In the championship, Skubbatrubbas would win the king toss and started two-for-two on their 8 meter shots by Winistorfer and Thibodeau. Chaska would struggle to clear, as it took three of their four batons in their first turn. Mark Oman would have a rare miss at 8 meters and leave the door open for the Skubbatrubbas. They also struggled to clear and had their own rare miss at 8 meter by Thibodeau. Rolfsrud cleared their group of three with one baton and Mark Oman, Dickinson, and Erdman all connected with their 8 meter shots to swing momentum back on their side. Skubbatrubbas wouldn’t have them feeling great about their chances for long, as Motzko blasted six of the seven field kubbs on their first blast. The team cleared the last field, but had one miss too many on their 8 meter shots. They cleared the two remaining baseline kubbs, but didn’t have any left for the king. Knowing their backs were against the wall, Erdman threw in a lefty-friendly pile of eight and Larson cleared six from halfway down the line. Rolfsrud stepped and cleared the seventh kubb, while Erdman cleared the eighth and last field kubb. Mark Oman and Dickinson both stepped up to the line and cleared the two remaining baseline kubbs and John Oman slayed the king to take a one game lead.
Game two saw Skubbatrubbas start out abnormally cold, as Chaska had eliminated three baseline kubbs before St. Paul could get their first. Thibodeau and Winistorfer combined to get their team’s first baseline kubbs down. On their team’s next turn, Lancette took out another baseline after McKie, Winistorfer, and Thibodeau all missed on their attempts. Rolfsrud did all the heavy lifting for Chaska on their next turn as he blasted down his own group of seven with one baton. Mark Oman stepped up and hit his 8 meter shot to clear the baseline and the reigning 1v1 World Champion Erdman took out the king to win the Dallas Oktoberfest Kubb Tournament.
- Chaska Kubb (Jason Larson, John Oman, Mark Oman, Matt Erdman, Ford Rolfsrud, Phil Dickinson)
- Skubbatrubbas (Steve Dolan, Ben Lancette, Aaron McKie, Tim Motzko, Andrew Thibodeau, Brian Winistorfer)
- The John Blazel Gang (Casey Anderson, John Blazel, Darren Finger, Scott Forster, Gregg Jochimsen, Luke Peikert)
- Stop Kubbing Baby Seals
- Kubb de Grace