ELY, Minn. — On Feb. 9, 2019 kubb players gathered at Whiteside Park in Ely to play kubb for the Ely Winter Festival. There were teams from Minneapolis, St. Paul, Nimrod, and Thief River Falls in Minnesota and Superior in Wisconsin. It’s believed that Nimrod and Thief River Falls brought the weather with them because it was the coldest (-25 degrees) start since the tournament began five years ago. All together there were 15 teams and 37 players who braved the cold for the 9 a.m. start. Players were treated to “Handsome” Jim Powell’s wood heated canvas tent for a break from the cold. Participants were also give a swag bag, in which players found gift cards to tournament sponsors Insula Restaurant and J&L Hardware. There were also gifts from Potluck and Zups.
This year, the tournament used the Klassic system, and it proved to be a hit. After five 25 minute rounds, many teams took advantage of the Insula gift card and ventured there for the lunch break. Following lunch, teams were split into best of three championship and consolation brackets.
The championship match pitted Choke Me Out Elmo (Ben Lancette, Tim Motzko) against The Shakies (Clint Childers, Andrew Thibodeau). Thibodeau and Childers took game one and it looked like they were going to take game two, but failed to knock over the king twice. This left a door open for Lancette and Motzko, and they capitalized and took game two. The third game was a real grinder. Eventually Choke Me Out Elmo took the king and became the 2019 Ely Winter Festival Kubb Tournament champions. Both first and second place finishers received a cooler and a gift card to local supermarket Zups.
Pretty Nutz (Josh Carpenter, Andy Lancette) finished in third place, beating the Kubby Doos. Ely’s very own Wolves took home the consolation championship with a cooler and gift card to Zups of their own.
Ely is a beautiful town that welcomes kubb to be part of their Winter Festival every year. Players are honored to be part of the festival activities. In addition to kubb, there was snow sculpting, a chili contest, kick sled demos, and fat tire bike rides in the the park.
Photos courtesy of Brian Ramsey.