This was no tournament of gnats. This was the real deal.

 
And Jaime and I competed well.

 
Here was the final 4 teams, and their specific awards:

 
KingPin (JP, John and Matt)

2nd Fall Kubb Klassic 2011
4th Fall Kubb Klassic 2012
2 years of experience at Nationals.

Dark Side of the Kubbsicles: (Mark and Luke)

Clash of Kubb Champions
2012 US National Champion driller
2011 US Nationals - 3rd place
3-6 years combined  US Nationals experience

Goofy Kubbers (Evan and Braden)

2nd Place Fall Kubb Klassic
Clash of Kubb T-5th

Big Damn Heroes (my wife and I):
 
2011 US Nationals Champion
2012 US Nationals runner-up
4 years combined US Nationals experience

Not bragging here, just painting the picture of the talent level that ascended on Spring Grove, MN on Saturday, Sept. 29th. So when we say Jaime and I took 2nd place in Spring Grove, I want you to understand how big of a deal that was for us. Our strategy going into the tournament: have fun, meet some new folks, play some of the biggest names in Midwest Kubb, enjoy the day and the beautiful city, and help James lay the ground-work for kubbing in Spring Grove.



"We are headed in the right direction"

Our strategy changed after taking KingPin down in the round robin…..we were there to bring home hardware! The match with Kingpin started as I expected it to; a Kingpin win in Round 2. But we threw first in the 2nd game and were able to edge out a victory. The third game was a slugfest; going back and forth with Chaska talent is always scary and demanding. But Jaime rose to the occasion, and we took the next 2 games from them….barely. 

Jaime had to warm up a bit, but her 8 meter was on fire when it counted. The groups were good in the field, and if I could knock them down for Jaime she could pick of baselines. That’s what we did all day.

We took a break for lunch after a grueling match with some local talent (they remind me of a 'young' Kubbsicles team, circa 2011). We edged them out, but their driller kept getting better every round. I feel like if we would have went a few more rounds with them, they would have got us.

During the break, there was a skills competition. Best "driller" with the stat being circumference of the group, a blaster competition, where the group was the same via marking it with spray paint, and a "Kingslayer" competition, which I didn't even try.
 
"Best Blaster" setup. Throw 2 batons, reset group. Do that 3 times; count your kubbs.
 
After the skills competition, the semi-finals began, and we were up against a team that had a driller of major talent. If I were to give out a “basta inkastare” aware at the 2012 Fall Kubb Klassic, Evan Fitzgerald was the guy. And his "short stack" was nailing fields like clockwork. We had our work cut out for us. We went back and forth but were able to take Goofy Kubbers down in the semi-finals. Both Jaime and I were amazed that we played so well, and we didn’t have any delusions of grandeur about success in the next game.

The final. Mark Blazel and Luke Piekart. Clash of Kubb Champions, taking down Sweden’s Sons in the final. The Zombie Bears of Midwest Kubb. You do not want to play "street kubb" with these boys. This team was solid, and they showed us the meaning of “mauled” in the first game. They destroyed us, and we started the 2nd, a little more relaxed in acceptance perhaps of the inevitable.

 
Their "zombie bear" strategy took us down in Game 1.

But when we opened 3 on them in the 2nd game, a rejuvenation took effect, and the tiredness and exhaustion of a full day of kubb washed from our bodies. Somehow, someway, we stole that game from them. They had us on the ropes, and Jaime hit her baseline, then the king to win it.


The 3rd game. They opened with 0 baselines, and at sometime early we were up 5 to 1 on baselines. They had one lone baseline the majority of the game, and they will agree with this most likely....they stole that game from us. They had an "immaculate double" in the last round to clear the field with their 6 batons. I threw an amazing group after that, and we hit solid on the group every throw, but Newton was at work, and force moved through a few kubbs quite awkwardly and we left a line. After that, our 3 baselines were no match. They used 2 to clean up 5 in the field, and they went 3 for 3 on the baseline. Baton in hand, the King was downed and the Dark Side of the Kubbsicles won the Uff-da Fest tournament.

Jaime went 100% on king hits for the day, and has earned the nickname “Snipes”. Hearing James announce our team as 2nd place to a team that has the firepower to take any team in the Nation down was amazing. When James handed that 2nd place trophy to my wife, the pride welled up. Look out world! I am married to a kubb player, and we get to practice EVERY DAY!

If I have learned anything from Uff-da Fest it is that character and chemistry are more important than reputation and talent. I would rather lose with a team that has the former than win with a team that has the latter. 

I got the best of both worlds on Saturday.

P.S. Did I overhear someone say: “But he’s bringing his wife…we can take ‘em” Maybe that was my imagination.