Anderson spread the word of the kubb tournament at the local farmer’s market and just about anywhere else there were groups of people gathered. That first tournament, The U.S. National Kubb Championship, in 2007 hosted 15 teams (35 players) at a small park in Eau Claire, WI.
Since then, the tournament has grown into the largest kubb tournament outside of Europe, outgrowing three different parks in Eau Claire before finding its home at the Eau Claire Soccer Park. The 2014 tournament saw 88 teams (320 players) and Anderson is aiming for 100 teams (more than 360 players) in 2015.
“We worked with the city of Eau Claire each time we looked for a new park to host the tournament,” said Anderson. “We needed to find the ‘perfect’ location, one that had adequate bathrooms and shelter so players could get out of the heat if they needed to.”
One thing Anderson has learned in nine years of planning a national championship tournament? “One person can’t do it,” he said. “That first year it was pretty much just me. I was doing the brackets, organizing the raffle, grilling food for everyone. Everyone had fun, but I was doing everything halfway and realized, for instance, I needed someone just to do food.”
So that second year, Anderson teamed up with a former co-worker who had started a local chapter of Girls on the Run (www.gotreauclaire.org) and enlisted the group to handle all the food for the tournament. They’ve handled it ever since and are able to take with them the profits from the food they sell.
With that first lesson, came the second lesson, “You can’t have enough good volunteers,” said Anderson. “For everything from registration, scoring, selling merchandise, and concessions to set up and field preperation in the days leading up to the tournament.”
Today, there’s a five-person, U.S. National Kubb Championship board that meets monthly and the tournament is a registered non-profit organization.
From the very beginning, the tournament has been a fundraiser, with proceeds going to Darfur, Sudan, the first three years. Local charities and organizations have since been added to the mix and today Girls on the Run receives a donation in addition to their profits from food sales and another Wisconsin-based organziation, We Help War Victims (www.wehelpwarvictims.org), also receives a portion of the tournament proceeds.
Anderson added that most communities have organizations that are more than likely willing to help out at tournaments and are a great source of volunteers.
Over the years, Anderson has found inspiration in other events including events he has helped organize in Dallas, WI, and his hometown of Rockford, IL. Additionally, he attended the 2011 World Championship in Sweden. While there, he took the opportunity to observe how they were meeting and handling their large numbers of teams and participants.
“I don’t call myself an event planner or organizer,” said Anderson. “But I’ve been able to learn by observing and asking people how and why they are doing things the way they do which has helped us handle the growth of our event over the years.”Looking forward, Anderson hopes for continued growth for the U.S. National Kubb Championship and the continued promotion of kubb. Hits on their website (www.usakubb.org) have more than doubled the last couple years, so they’re on the right track.
While all ages are welcome to play in the tournament, the addition of Kid Kubb (U.S. Junior Kubb Championship) in 2014, the only kubb event in the U.S. that is specifically for kids, is helping Anderson introduce kubb to new generations.
The game is played on a 15 ft. by 25 ft., rectangular pitch with the king placed upright in the center and the kubbs placed along the sidelines (the long edges of the rectangle). Corner pins mark each corner of the field.
Team A throws the six casting pins at their opponent’s lined-up kubbs. Kubbs that are knocked down by Team A are thrown by Team B onto Team A’s half of the pitch and stood on end (now known as field kubbs).
Play then changes hands and continues in this fashion until a team is able to knock down all kubbs on one side, from both the field and the baseline. If that team still has casting pins, they attempt to knock over the king.
Visit www.usakubb.org/rules.php for a great video from SkyMotion Media on “How to Play Kubb.”
Kubb can be played anywhere from one-on-one up to six-on-six, making this the perfect game for the next time you need a group activity at your meeting or event.