Photo courtesy of Jason Halvorson.

DECORAH, Iowa — There was much to do in Decorah during the Nordic Fest weekend. Friday held a Molkky tournament and it was a meeting town for the bike ride across Iowa known as RAGBRAI. Saturday offered a parade, rock throw contest, and Kubb tournament. Most of the kubb participants had spent the prior hours watching the Grand Parade. They made their way up and over the hill from Water Street with bellies full of krumkakka, lefse, rømmegrøt, or varme pølse to topple Kings.

The kubb matches began at 1:30 p.m. with approximately 58 players gathered on the grounds of the Decorah Middle School to form 24 teams. Less than a dozen people raised their hands when asked “Who’s played in a formal kubb tournament prior to today?” Some that had never played the game before were reassured by their teammates that it would be fun and easy to learn. There was an even mix of age groups, friends, and families.

While the temperature stayed in the upper 70s with low humidity, it was a hot day under the windless sunshine. Only a few sporadic scattered clouds provided relief later in the afternoon. Just a few meters away from the kubb pitches, the Nordic Fest Rock Throw took place in front of a crowd that approached 100 people. Spectators could be seen turning to peak at the wood tossing nearby as the “rocks” (they really could be classified as boulders) were returned to the throwing line for each contestant.

Due to the late start time, teams played five rounds instead of the typical seven or eight rounds in most Klassic formats of qualifying play. The top eight made it to the championship bracket and the next eight were placed into a consolation bracket.

In the consolation bracket, Ron Jon Surfers (Ben, Logan, Elijah) met up with Rubik’s Kubb (Ross, Andrew) in a best of one match that took almost an hour to complete. All five players ranged in ages from 11 to 16 years old, beating out several all-adult teams. Rubik’s Kubb came out on top to claim first place in the consolation bracket.

The four teams that advanced to the semifinals had been in other kubb tournaments, except for one member of the Iowa River Assassins. Pat Rupp convinced his new-to-tourney-play teammate, Cody Walters, to leave work early to join him. The Iowa River Assassins were undefeated in the qualifying rounds. They lost a three game match in the semi finals to the Kubbesotans (Dee Dee Halvorson, Matt Nelson, Eric Nelson). In the Battle for third place, they defeated the Buddy Kubbs (Lars Arneson and Alisha).

The Championship Match was between team Kubbesotans and team Brozerkerz (Coleman Rydie, Clint Childers). In the first game, bottom of turn 10, the Kubbesotans knocked down six field kubbs, but left standing one penalty kubb behind the king, one penalty placed at six meters and a baseline kubb. At the top of turn 11, Brozerkerz faced six field kubbs and one base line. Childers threw four fields, one field, one field. Rydie followed up with a baseline and knocked down the king to win game one. Kubbesotans opened strong in game two with their two baton opener taking down two kubbs. In turns two, three, and four, Brozerkerz had a 3 meter advantage throw line. In the fourth turn, Brozerkerz drilled four and had one base line standing in the way for the win. Childers hit four field kubbs and a baseline, to leave Rydie with three batons in hand and one king standing. With the flick of a wrist and a single baton, he knocked down the king to take the win again in game two.

Final Results

  1. Brozerkerz (Clint Childers, Coleman Rydie)
  2. Kubbesotans (Dee Dee Halvorson, Matt Nelson, Eric Nelson)
  3. Iowa River Assassins (Pat Rupp, Cody Walters)

Consolation Winners: Rubik’s Kubb (Andrew, Ross)