Photo courtesy of Brian Ramsey.

ELY, Minn. — The tournament was held at Whiteside Park in Ely, as part of the Ely Winter Festival. There were 35 players that made up 10 teams, with a minimum of three players per team. The majority of the players were from the Twin Cities or from the Ely area, with a few players from Red Wing, Minnesota; Thief River Falls, Minnesota; Colorado Springs, Colorado; and San Diego, California.

Tournament Host Dave Wigdahl had the park plowed and pitches set up for a start time of 10 a.m. It was a chilly start in the morning with sub zero temps that eventually rose to 10 degrees in the later half of the tournament. The first half of the day consisted of teams playing five 25 minute games, to figure out seeding for bracket play. At the lunch break, several teams took advantage of gift cards provided by tournament sponsor Insula Restaurant. Insula was a perfect atmosphere for kubb teams to meet up for a quick lunch and talk kubb.

In the quarter finals, Espland 1 of Minneapolis (Josh “Yoshi” Carpenter, Andy Lancette, Ben Lancette) beat Snow Angels of North Branch (Jason Kleschult) in two matches. On the other side of the bracket, it wasn’t so easy for Espland 2 (Jim Powell, Brian Ramsey, Timmy Tschida) to beat Ely TimberKubbs (Jasiah Wigdahl, Shayla Zaverl, Nick). Espland 2 took the first match, then was battered in the second, before eventually winning the third in several rounds.

In the third place game, the Snow Angels and Ely TimberKubbs proved to be fairly matched with each taking a game. The third game was a tough grind, with the Snow Angels winning third place. Wigdahl admitted that there was definitely a difference in the sides of the pitch, and that each winner came from the side that was easier to drill on.

There was a lot at stake during the championship game between the two Espland teams. For the loser, it meant they would never hear the end of it. During the first match, there was a little back-and-forth, but Espland 1 took it after several turns. The second match played out much better for Espland 2, as they jumped out to an early lead with 3-0 on baseline kubbs. It wasn’t until after the fourth turn that team captain “Yoshi” Carpenter made adjustments that would eventually pave the way for a come back win and seal a first place finish.

The top three finishing teams received a cooler and gift card to Zup’s Food Market in Ely. Zup’s is a locally run grocery store that is known for their selection of meats. Both Espland teams agreed to combine gift cards for Steak and Kubb.

Dave Wigdahl along with family, friends and sponsors, put on a tournament that is fun and welcoming.

Group photo of the 2018 Ely Winter Festival Kubb Tournament players.