Photos courtesy of Kyle Weakland.

CANTON, Ohio — With just three weeks until the U.S. National Kubb Championship, the Midwest Kubb Championship made for perfect training grounds for many teams across the Midwest. Sixteen teams from eight states participated in the three person tournament with skills ranging from first time players to national champions. The weather forecast called for rain, clouds, and thunderstorms, but other than a few minutes of sprinkles in the morning, it was sunny and beautiful most of the day.

The tournament started with seven rounds of Klassic qualifying rounds. At lunch, Stray Dog Food Cart joined the event, serving some Swedish specialties during the break along with Girls on the Run who sold snacks and water all morning. After qualifying rounds, Blox and Friends (Dave Ellringer, Christopher Jones, Demian Moore) led the way with six wins, followed closely by Tad Kubbler (Eric Goplin, Micah Schedler, Cole Vrÿens).

After the qualifying rounds each team was placed into a 16 team, single game triple elimination bracket. The teams battled it out, but Tad Kubbler was able to come away undefeated and qualified for the championship. The rest of the teams fought through the one loss and two loss brackets. The Kubb Snipers (Chad Bevers, Matt Green, Joe Hrejsa, J.R. Hresja) met Blox and Friends for the third time that day, but this time defeated them. Kubb Snipers would then take on Kingmakers (Josh Feathers, Jesse Fraim, Chris Hodges) for a chance to advance to the championship.

The Kingmakers got off to a strong start, taking out four baseline kubbs before the Snipers could get their first. The Snipers fought back with J.R. Hresja going two for two at 8 meters their next turn, but it wasn’t enough as the Kingmakers were able to clear the field, the last baseline and the king to advance to the championship. The finals would match Tad Kubbler against the Kingmakers. Since the Kingmakers had two losses and Tad Kubbler had none, that meant that the Kingmakers needed to win three times in a row in order to win the championship. One win for Tad Kubbler would clinch the championship for them.

In the first game, Kingmakers struck first with two baseline kubb and Tad Kubbler matched it in the next turn. In the next turn for Kingmakers, they added two more baselines kubbs and Tad Kubbler wasn’t able to answer back, allowing the Kingmakers to finish the game in the next turn with an on target 8 meter shot from Josh Feathers. This gave Tad Kubbler their first loss of the championship bracket, two more losses would mean the Kingmakers would win the championship.

In game two, both teams traded 8 meter shots back and forth until there was six kubbs in play, with three kubbs down from each team. In Tad Kubblers next turn, they left the Kingmakers a short porch that they used to take out two more baselines. In the next turn Tad Kubbler was able to eliminate the advantage but left a penalty kubb on the baseline. Slowly but surely, the Kingmakers took out the last 8 meter and were able to take game two a couple turns later, forcing a third game.

In the third game, Tad Kubbler turned it around, jumping out in front three kubb to zero to start the game, but the Kingmakers wouldn’t go down easy, dropping two baselines to tighten up the game. Tad Kubbler kept rolling, in the next turn, Micah Schedler hit a double followed by a field to baseline double. Tad Kubbler took the opportunity and won  it with Eric Goplin taking out the last 8 meter with his final baton and Cole Vrÿens won the championship with the final baton to take out the king. This was Tad Kubblers first tournament win since 2011 when they won the third Dallas Octoberfest Tournament.

Photo of the top four teams at 2018 Midwest Kubb Championship.