LAMBERTON, Minn. — Lamberton hosted the fifth annual Hot Iron Days Kubb Tournament on Sept. 8, 2018. It was a beautiful day to play some kubb at the city park surrounded with other activities for all ages. The park is filled with people creating molds for the iron pour, playing at the petting zoo, going on tractor rides, playing in a volleyball tournament, looking at the car show, buying and selling many different arts, crafts, and homemade foods, and, of course, playing in the kubb tournament.
The tournament format in the past included group play with the top two teams advancing to the championship bracket. This year, there were 14 teams and the Klassic System was used for five rounds of single 25-minute timed games. Teams from three different states were represented (Minnesota, Wisconsin, and South Dakota). After five rounds, The Chaska Long Haired Country Boys of Mark and Jacob Oman were undefeated and earned the number one seed, followed by Stick People (Megan Knutson, Paul Knutson). The other teams who made it to the championship bracket included: third seeded Updawg (John Oman, Nathan Oman, Zach Oman), fourth seeded Licensed to Drill (Anne Bogstad, Drew Strait), fifth seeded Tweet Hinder (James Erdman, Lily Erdman, Matt Erdman), sixth seeded M & N Drilling (Nick Anderson, Matt Braa), seventh seeded Vollmer (Dave Vollmer, Travis Vollmer) and eighth seeded Kubbanators (Phil Goetstouwers, Penny Mattison, Mike Vollmer).
The top four seeds all advanced to the semi-finals with solid play. In the semi-finals, Licensed to Drill had cleared the baseline of Chaska Long Haired Country Boys and drilled eight kubbs in game one looking to win, but left a line. Mark and Jake Oman took advantage and finished it on the next turn. Country Boys used that momentum to win game two fairly quickly.
In the other semi-finals match, Updawg and Stick People had a three-game battle. Both teams drilled effectively and had many blasts from multiple players that took down many kubbs. Updawg dominated game one 5-0 in baselines, but Stick People had a solid game two. After tying it up 1-1, Updawg put themselves in a position to knock down the king with their last baton. Nathan Oman had previously missed a king shot in the match and now was holding the last baton to advance their team to the finals. He turned away from the king, took a big breath, turned back around and knocked down the king!
This set up a family finals with Mark Oman and son, Jake, versus John Oman and sons Nathan and Zach. This was an exciting, as well as a long, championship match. Each game seemed to go back and forth with slow advancement on the baseline kubbs. You could physically see the enjoyment as well as anxiety on both families competing against one another playing for not only first place, but also pride. Updawg eventually took game one with some nice clearing from Zach and Nathan Oman. In the final turn of game two, Chaska Long Haired Country Boys drilled a nice group, which led Mark Oman to clear it in two batons with one baseline left. He stepped up and missed. Jake Oman had three batons in hand. On his first baton, he wiggled the baseline kubb. He had to walk away for a moment, but after clearing his head and some encouragement from his dad, he lined up confidently and nailed the last kubb. Elated, he lined up for the king rather quickly and knocked it down. Game three was again back and forth, but Updawg had the opportunity to take advantage of a tightly drilled group to save some batons and Nathan Oman was able to knock down the last king to declare his team as the 2018 Hot Iron Day Kubb Champions!
In the third place match, the third and fourth seeds faced off in a match either team could have won. Both teams left multiple lines within the match. Strait and Bogstad had a great start in the third game and had another opportunity to close out the match after they cleared their opponents’ baseline. Unfortunately for Stick People, they had just left a line to make it worse. Paul Knutson said to his daughter Megan, “You know, it’s not over until it’s over.” Megan Knutson looked over to her dad and asked, “Who do you think you’re playing with? I know it’s never over till it’s over.” Lo and behold, Licensed to Drill left a line themselves and Stick People battled back to win third place.
In the consolation bracket final, it was Kubbacle Warfare (Nathan Kent, Taylor Vollmer) and May the Kubb Be With You (Freddy Big Bear, Jeremiah Frasher). May the Kubb Be With You placed second in the championship bracket last year, but found themselves in the consolation final this year against a new tournament team from Minneapolis and Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Kubbacle Warfare attacked the baseline quickly and were up 5-0 in baseline kubbs for a couple turns until they were finally able to slay the king for their first hardware.
Thank you to JP’s Backyard Games for sponsoring the tournament and sets as well as the free t-shirt giveaways! Thank you also to Clayton Hubert and the Hot Iron Days Committee for providing us with the iron trophies! Last, but surely not least, thank you to the fellow Chaska Kubb members for all of their assistance and support!
Photo courtesy of Phil Goetsouwers.