Kid Stuff

Schooled on Kubb

the Kubb Capital of North America starts 'em young

Ben Rueter |

BATONS AWAY! Students have been picking up kubb thanks to the help of Eau Claire kubb guru Eric Anderson.
BATONS AWAY! Students have been picking up kubb thanks to the help of Eau Claire
kubb guru Eric Anderson. Above: St. James Elementary, Eau Claire

Kubb has been tossed around the Chippewa Valley for a few years now and it’s only getting more popular each year. Not only are adults enjoying knocking wooden blocks over but kids are getting in on the trend.

Perhaps this is to be expected, as Eau Claire has  officially named itself the "Kubb Capital of North America."

The horseshoe/lawn bowling hybrid game has been popping up in schools all over the area thanks to Chippewa Valley’s kubb guru Eric Anderson.

“A handful of schools now have kubb sets in their buildings,” Anderson said. “So I go to a handful of schools and introduce them and any teachers to the game. Then they take it over ...”

St. James Elementary School students
St. James Elementary students

Andy Niese at Regis High School in Eau Claire has introduced kubb into his P.E. curriculum.

“It’s given the kids another option for a lifetime sport, and the sport is what I call an ‘equalizer’ meaning that you don’t have to be extremely athletic to be good at it.” Niese said.

Niese said he holds off on his kubb unit until the Winter. But in the Fall he has   “Kubb Day” where he introduces the game to students and Anderson comes along to teach/play.

Even if kubb isn’t part of a school’s curriculum some teachers have taken it upon themselves to “spread the gossip of kubb” as Gregg Jochimsen says.

Jochimsen is an eighth grade social studies teacher at Chippewa Falls Middle School and has been teaching his students about kubb for the last three years. hosting  pick up games during his student advisory hours.

“It all started a few years ago when I learned about the game and shared it with some of my students who thought it sounded like a lot of fun,” Jochimsen said. “We presented the game to one of our unified arts teachers who decided to work with them on making a few sets for our ‘team.’”

One of the kubb sets created had a very special king piece that they named “Top Jimmy.” The unique piece soon spawned a Facebook page where the students – and you – can follow Jimmy’s adventures.

Along with creating special king piece, Jochimsen said he has been able to organize student vs. teacher kubb matches and through the school Voyagers program – an after school program where students can learn to play kubb. Jochimsen said he continues to introduce kubb to as many students and schools as possible.

Outside of the school year, Anderson said last summer he helped form – with the help of the parks and rec department – a kubb clinic for kids. The program is set to continue in 2013.

With Winter approaching it seems that kubb enthusiast aren’t shelving their kubb sets just yet.

“I can only see it becoming more popular,” Jochimsen said. “I enjoy the excitement and time spent outside of the classroom with my students playing kubb, and I’ll continue to share it with my students as long as I’m teaching at the middle school.”

Flynn Elementary, Eau Claire
Flynn Elementary, Eau Claire
, Eau Claire
A kid's kubb clinic in Eau Claire's Boyd Park