Welcome to the “Kubb Capital of North America”
by Mike Paulus
Whilst traveling abroad (say, to Tomah or Rice Lake), Eau Clairians can now tell people that they're from “Eau Claire, the Kubb Capital of North America.” And when people respond with a blank stare, we can tell them all about the game of kubb, how awesome it is, and how Eau Claire is a bone fide hotbed of a kubb-related action. So much so, our city council has officially declared us the capital of it. For North America, anyway.
In case you haven’t heard, kubb (pronounced “koob” and rhymes with tube) is a modern version of an old European lawn game. Grass is nice, but it can really be played almost anywhere, even on a foot of snow as is the case at Volume One’s Winter After Hours socials in Boyd Park. The basic idea is to throw batons and knock over all of the opposing team’s kubb blocks and then their king. It’s often been called “Viking chess” because of its alleged medieval Nordic beginnings and the strategy involved.
And local man Eric Anderson is gonzo for kubb, having organized and executed the U.S. National Kubb Championship right here in Eau Claire since 2007 (with plenty of help. of course). Last summer, the 2011 National Championship brought 84 teams and 186 participants (from eight different states) to town for huge kubb-tacular. Beyond the tournaments, the game has spread across town, backyard to backyard, as locals play and teach their neighbors.
The game is huge in Sweden (home of the world championship) and other countries, and while there are some very active kubb communities around the United States, Eau Claire is unique in its efforts to attract players from across the country to its annual tournament. And based on the sport’s local economic impact, the Eau Claire City Council has officially declared Eau Claire as “The Kubb Capital of North America.” The resolution to do so, sponsored by Council Members Kerry Kincaid and Andrew Werthman, passed at 4.28pm yesterday (Dec. 13). Anderson, of course played a big role in forming the resolution. He had charts and graphs and everything. Like this.
So welcome to the Kubb Capital of North America, everyone. Let’s play.