STERLING, Ill. — For one single day in June, this beautiful city of nearly 20,000 residents became the center of the Kubb Universe as 16 players from four states competed in the first Spring Fling Kubb Scrambler. A gorgeous day, with temperatures hovering around the low 80s, and plenty of shade provided by pitch-side trees made for ideal kubbing conditions. Owen and Rena Harrell opened their yard so that players from Wisconsin, Iowa, and Michigan could join eight Illinois kubb players (including four Sterling locals) for this much-needed day of in-person kubb.
The fabulous prizes were stainless steel tumblers and can holders made by Jenny Terveer of Glitter Girlz Creations.
The tournament used a scrambler format developed by Andy Terveer, with input from Matt Braa of Chaska Kubb, and based on a system from Steve and Chris McDiarmid of Kettle Moraine Kubb. Each player played seven games with seven different partners and their total points for all seven rounds were used to seed players into a bracket tournament. At the end of qualifying, the top two finishers, in points, were paired up as Team A, the next two as Team B, and so on.
- Team A: Evan Fitzgerald (South Beloit, Illinois) and J.R. Hrejsa (Indian River, Michigan)
- Team B: Pat Rupp (Belle Plaine, Iowa) and Matt Green (DePere, Wisconsin)
- Team C: Brad Vock (Sterling, Illinois) and Joe Hrejsa (Indian River, Michigan)
- Team D: Andy Terveer (Sterling, Illinois) and Scott Kent (Batavia, Illinois)
- Team E: Dan Ivanuck (Roscoe, Illinois) and George Sloan (Batavia, Illinois)
- Team F: Bryce Pecore (Fall River, Wisconsin) and Ronnie Keller (Clinton, Wisconsin)
- Team G: Nick Keller (Clinton, Wisconsin) and Chris Garza (Sterling, Illinois)
- Team H: Kent Bushman (Rock Falls, Illinois) and Kathy Wellnitz (Clinton, Wisconsin)
All tournament matches were best-of-three and the tournament went almost completely according to the chalk. One upset was recorded in the first round, with Team E knocking off Team D to advance to the final four.
Teams D and F met for the Consolation Championship. Andy Terveer and Scott Kent took game one, but Bryce Pecore and Ronnie Keller answered back in game two. A well-fought game three finally ended with the can holders staying in Illinois and a Team D victory. An ecstatic Kent was heard saying, “this is my first Kubb hardware!” That’s what it’s all about right there.
Teams C and E met for the third place match. There was a fair amount of (friendly-ish, spirited—literally) trash-talking between George Sloan and Brad Vock. Vock came through with some big-time inkasting and blasting and Joe Hrejsa pulled his weight on the 8 meters to hold the chalk line in two games and take home the prized tumblers. Ivanuck and Sloan were sent home with empty hands, yet (hopefully) full hearts.
There were a couple of charity skills contests as well. A “Sudden Death Kings” competition, began by 17 people doing king shots, with a person eliminated if they missed. Bryce Pecore finally emerged as the winner over Evan Fitzgerald after three rounds. There was also a “Drill and Kill” competition, with Dan Ivanuck surviving a final three field littered with both Hrejsas. All in all, the tournament and mini games raised $175 for PADS, a homeless shelter in Sterling.
In a match-up deserving to be found in a championship match at any well-established tournament, Team A’s Evan Fitzgerald and J.R. Hrejsa stepped up to the line to take on Team B’s Pat Rupp and Matt Green. All four states were represented by these world-class combatants in this title tilt.
The brothers (Fitzgerald and Rupp) started things off with a lag toss. Fitzgerald barely won it, and his team chose to go first. Green and Rupp chose to throw from the shady end of the pitch. The first game went back-and-forth, with a great deal of contemplation over how to set up drilled kubbs by both teams. Eventually, Team B came away with a victory after around 35 minutes and 10 kubbs in play. Unfortunately, for Rupp and Green, that was the end of their highlights for the day.
A 15 minute (four turn) second game went to Fitzgerald and Hrejsa. The third game went even faster, with Fitzgerald drilling eight kubbs on the third turn and only one base kubb left on each line. Fitzgerald blasted first, taking a double, a triple, and a double. Hrejsa stepped up, without even a hint of hesitation, and in less than 12 seconds, took out the final field kubb, the remaining base kubb, and the king to secure the title and take home the big tumblers. A happy Fitzgerald mentioned that, “it’s been a long time since I won a tournament in Illinois.”
This day was much needed. The world is a mess right now, but everyone was blessed to have had the opportunity to get together, shut out the outside world for a few hours, and just play their favorite game.