CHAKSA, Minn. — The 2018 World 1v1 Kubb Championship kicked off Saturday morning at a chilly Firemen’s Park in Chaska. This year’s 26 person field was the most talent-laden to-date, according to the observations of numerous participants. But noticeable absences included last year’s third place finisher Brian Winistorfer and fourth place finisher Ford Rolfsrud, as well as Phil Dickinson, who made the 10-hour drive from to tip of Michigan’s mitten only to withdraw the morning of the tournament due to illness. Matt Erdman returned to defend his crown, adorned in the stylish grey jacket awarded to each year’s World 1v1 victor.
Though chilly, the wind was largely non-existent throughout the day and despite the cloudy sky there was no real threat of rain. Jason Larson presided as the tournament director. Paul Knutson provided beautiful kubb-related, hand-painted artwork as the prizes for the top three finishers. Play began with seven single-game round-robin matches using the Klassic scoring system, and the 100 percent in and neighbor rules were used.
One notable aspect of the World 1v1 event is the recognition of individual achievement throughout the day. Any player taking a game from a former 1v1 champion was acknowledged with a clamorous bell ring, and got to choose something from the prize table. The bell seemed to ring more frequently this year than last, signifying, perhaps, that the overall skill level across the local kubb world is steadily rising.
Following lunch at the Crooked Pint Ale House, which is housed alongside the beautiful Chaska Curling Center, the top 16 players moved into the championship round.
Phil Goetstouwers and Mark Oman both finished the morning with perfect 6-0 records. Goetstouwers earned the number one seed based on the opponent score (32.67 points compared to Oman’s 25.33). The remaining top 16 players were, in descending order: Matt Erdman (2017 Champion), Evan Fitzgerald, Luke Piekert, Gordon Kauffman, Ryan Kolden, John Oman, Dave Ellringer, Aaron McKie, Demian Moore, Lars Arneson, Steve Dolan, Tyler Patterson, Joe Dekan, and John Ellingsen. Pat Rupp finished the morning a surprising seventeenth, which paved the way for him to become the first ever World 1v1 Kubb Championship repeat consolation bracket champion!
After easily winning his first afternoon match, number one seed Goetstouwers was knocked out by number eight seed John Oman in the quarterfinal round of eight. Fitzgerald was also beaten in the quarterfinal round, by Piekert, who then went on to lose to eventual finalist John Oman. Kauffman, who doesn’t play in a lot of tournaments but is a well-known and skilled competitor, was the one to take down 2017 champ, Erdmann, on his way to the cage. The big “mover” of the afternoon was McKie, who entered the round of 16 as the tenth seed. McKie advanced to the round of heat by beating five seed Kolden before being ousted by Mark Oman. Mark Oman then took out Kauffman in the only semifinal match to go three games.
Befitting such talent, there was little suspense in either the semifinal or final matches. Aside from a few missed 8 meter shots, no games saw any penalty kubbs or porches. The Kauffman-Mark Oman match was the only one that went three full games in the final two rounds of championship play.
In the Oman versus Oman final, Mark Oman prevailed in straight games to win the 2018 World 1v1 Kubb Championship. After playing out single games to determine the third and fourth place finishers, Chaska Kubb ended up sweeping all four top spots.
Photo courtesy of Jason Larson.