Photo courtesy of Bryan Jones.
EAU CLAIRE, Wisc. — The yearly kubb pilgrimage to Eau Claire took place July 14 and 15. This year, a 128 teams of three or more players arrived Saturday morning to compete in group play. From there they were ranked and put into the big bracket. First round losses dropped to the bronze bracket and second round losses to the silver bracket. The 16 teams that managed to stay alive by the end of the day would play on Sunday.
Despite questionable weather forecasts the week leading up to the weekend, the skies stayed clear and other than intense heat, Mother Nature played nice. As always, it was a reunion of old friends and a chance to make new ones. This year’s tournament had participants from 13 states and five countries.
Sunday morning started with the top 16 playing another round robin within four groups. The winners of these groups then moved on to the semi-finals. There were a lot of familiar faces and a few new ones in these groups. Perhaps the most exciting, however not that unexpected, was Kubboom Jr. (Scott Graham, Max Klages, Sam Klages). The Klages brothers have been up-and-comers in the kubb world for some time now. Both have U.S. Junior National Kubb Championship titles under their belts, and they’ve always been a threat at any tournament they play. This year they made it to Sunday—an accomplishment on its own— and then had a spectacular run in their tough group, leading them to the semi-finals. Other group winners included KubbUnited.com (Josh Feathers, Chris Hodges, Dave Giese), El Forringers 99 (Dave Ellringer, Sy Ellringer, Björn Görlitz), and 2, 4, 6 Mafia (Scott Forster, Gregg Jochimsen, Grant Scott).
The crowd was really into the semi-finals. They made lots of noise thanks to Jason Larson and the supply of cowbells he handed out before the matches. It was awesome to hear the crowd cheer for both sides as great shots were made.
Kubboom Jr. matched up against KubbUnited.com and they came out strong with a two for two opening. The teams went back and forth a few turns before a clutch 8 meter followed by a king shot by Sam Klages won game one for Kubboom Jr.
In game two, KubbUnited.com was the hot team. They found their 8 meter game and cleared their baseline before Kubboom Jr. managed to get even one. Game two would go to KubbUnited.com
Kubboom Jr. looked like they returned to their first game form with a big two for two open, but in the end, KubbUnited.com would prevail in the third game and see their third finals appearance in as many years.
The other semi-final matched up 2, 4, 6 Mafia against El Forringers 99. Both sides had a lot of experience, but 2, 4, 6 Mafia was playing very well and cleaned up their backline in what seemed like no time at all. They’d take the first game.
The second game was a little more competitive, but 2, 4, 6 Mafia proved to be too much for El Forringers 99. 2, 4, 6 Mafia would take the second game and the match, sending them to the final.
The final was set and full of former champions. KubbUnited.com had been runner up the last two years and Jochimsen was defending his back-to-back wins. Everyone on the pitch had at least one championship under their belt. The enthusiastic crowd anxiously awaited to find out if KubbUnited.com would finally get the gold, or if Jochimsen could get a third straight.
The king toss went to KubbUnited.com who opted to go first. Feathers and Giese both missed, giving 2, 4, 6 Mafia the opportunity to throw four and they connected on three. A rough turn by KubbUnited.com only saw them clear, paving the way for a hot-shotting 2, 4, 6 Mafia to clean up their back row. Down five kubbs to none, KubbUnited.com needed a big turn, but it was not meant to be. They were only able to add one kubb from their back row. That extra kubb wasn’t enough to slow down 2, 4, 6 Mafia who would take game one on their next turn.
Game two saw 2, 4, 6 Mafia open with an 8 meter hit. KubbUnited.com was able to answer with an 8 meter of their own. The game would go back and forth a few more turns before there were nine kubbs in play. With no baton to spare, Scott slayed the king giving 2, 4, 6 Mafia the 2018 U.S. Kubb Championship title.
This was a historic win that made Jochimsen the first three-peat champion. Forster earned a repeat win, and Scott added his name to the trophy for a third time.
- 2, 4, 6 Mafia (Scott Forster, Gregg Jochimsen, Grant Scott)
- KubbUnited.com (Josh Feathers, Chris Hodges, Dave Giese)
- El Forringers 99 (Dave Ellringer, Sy Ellringer, Björn Görlitz)
- Poplar Culture (Drew Brandenburg, Jeff Brandenburg, Matt Franson)
- El Ringers Family Reunion (Aaron Ellringer, Sy Ellringer, Christopher Jones)
Watch Videos from Sunday
Watch archived live streams of various matches from the U.S. National Kubb Championship.