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September 20, 2012
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Throw some wood at the Kubb Klassic

By Dave Mable

Des Moines Kubb Member Mary Tapken “drilling” kubbs in the 2011 Fall Kubb Klassic. Photo courtesy of Josh Feathers

What the helvete is Kubb? Nope. No idea. None.

This 1,000-year-old sport has some branding issues. Not to worry, though, it’s catching on.

Kubb (pronounced “koob”) is a lawn sport that is said to have been invented by Vikings and is sometimes referred to as Viking Chess. Though this ancient sport has a strong presence in Norwegian countries, it enjoys a small but growing following in the U.S. A dozen Kubb tournaments are held each year throughout America with the U.S. National Championship tournament in Eau Claire, Wisc., each year. And there’s one coming up at in Des Moines on Sept. 22.

Des Moines Kubb Club began in 2009 by Josh Feathers and a friend who searched Wikipedia one day for a “fun, interesting outdoor game.” Kubb was at the top of the search, he said. A homemade set was made and so began the fun. It hasn’t stopped since.

“The game is growing here in the Midwest, but it has some growing to do nationally,” said Feathers. “Most of the active teams are from neighboring states, but interest is growing around the country.”

As the Des Moines Kubb Club began to grow, the idea of a tournament came out of the desire to increase awareness in the game and allow the better players in Des Moines to be challenged by other top teams in the region. The first Annual Fall Kubb Klassic tournament began in 2010 and has grown to include teams from across central Iowa and six other states.

The 2012 Fall Kubb Klassic will be held at Tower Park in Des Moines on Saturday, Sept. 22 starting at 9 a.m. Registration begins at 8 a.m. and is $40 per team. Hoping to also raise money for charity, an auction will be held during the tournament, benefitting Child Life Council.

“We want beginners to come out and play,” said Feathers. “It’s a really easy game to pick up. You just throw wood. It’s like chess: The more you play, the more strategy you learn and use.”

To make the game interesting for both beginners and experienced players, the tournament is set up to pair teams of similar ability in the same brackets.

“The teams that are traveling from different states want to be challenged by other experienced teams,” said Feathers. “Likewise, we don’t want beginner teams to be crushed in their first game and lose interest. By pairing like-ranked teams, we keep it fun and challenging for everyone.

“It’s also a very social game,” continued Feathers. “Teams are never paired up with the same team twice, so they will meet all kinds of people.”

Des Moines is the only team in the Midwest that pairs like-ranked teams, which makes it popular with some of the better teams from neighboring states. The extra challenge has been beneficial for Des Moines teams as well, giving them the best competition to play against. That extra challenge has helped teams from Des Moines score high at the national meet in Eau Clair. Two years ago, a Des Moines team won the meet, and last year area teams finished second and fifth.

No experience is needed to participate in the Fall Kubb Klassic. Teams must be at least two players strong, so grab a friend and head over to Tower Park. Throw some wood. It’s more fun and more challenging than you think.

Game rules and tournament information can be found at http://www.desmoineskubb.com.

CV



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