With the Olympics dominating much of the sports coverage world-wide, you might be a little tired of watching swimming, basketball, and gymnastics plastered all over the internet. Well, we’re here to give you coverage over a slightly less-covered sport championship that just happened here in the United States.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Kubb, it is a lawn game invented hundreds of years ago by the Vikings. Players try to knock over the other team’s wooden blocks, ending with the king kubb in the middle of the pitch (playing area). Also called Viking Chess, it is a lawn game that utilizes throwing skills, strategy, and teamwork to win. While this game is still widely unknown, it is an ever-growing phenomenon, with groups popping up from California to Utah and Florida. But the home base of Kubb is undoubtedly Eau Claire, Wisconsin, where the US National Tournament was just held in July.
From Then to Now
From its birth in 2007, the US National Kubb Championship has grown in both fame and participation every year. Having its tenth tournament this year on July 8-10, this decade-long tradition in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, has brought players from all ages and from all around the US together to play Kubb. The first tournament in 2007 had just 15 teams and 35 total people. Now the 2016 tournament had hundreds of people play in the main tournament, with a 128 team limit. The weekend of fun now includes, sponsors, charities, and even a tournament for youth players ages 12 and under.
Kid Kubb Tournament
You may smile at the cute team names, like “Kubbicorn”, “KubBlast”, and “Girls Just Want to Kubb”, but you’ll take them more seriously when their great playing knocks you on your kubb (if you know what I mean). Kids compete over the weekend, and if you watch them, you might just be watching the future US National Kubb Champions. While right now their shorter play time and friendly atmosphere keeps the tournament fun, exciting, and carefree, the skills and strategies that these kids display in throwing their batons and kubbs is impressive to even a casual observer.
The US National Kubb Tournament doesn’t just bring the country together to play wholesome games, but also to benefit those both in the local Eau Claire community and around the world. Locally, the US National Kubb Tournament teamed up with Girls On the Run of Eau Claire, which teaches girls through fun and creative methods, including running, that they have limitless potential, and that they can do good in their community. In exchange for their help in the tournament, the tournament donates money to helping this charity empower young girls. In this way, the organizers of the tournament did a great job showing that competition can be a win-win for everybody involved.
A more global charity that the US National Kubb Tournament supports is that of “We Help War Victims”. This group, started by Jim and Marty Harris of Wisconsin, supports war victims and refugees in Southeast Asia by creating school libraries, giving extensive medical assistance, supporting local clinics, and by eradicating explosive devices like rockets, land mines, and bombs that continue to threaten civilian life even after war has left their area. So by having fun with the family at this friendly kubb tournament, the national event has positive effects on communities around the world.
While you may have missed the tenth year of the tournament, there is no reason to miss the eleventh! Grab some friends, get a kubb set, and start brushing up on your kubb skills. Check out some local tournaments to hone your strategy and teamwork amongst your friends and family (even the kiddos!). And who knows? We might just see you at the Championships next year