Eau Claire can thank Sweden for game of kubb - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Eau Claire can thank Sweden for game of kubb

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - 

Each year, as the Kubb Championship games grow, so does word of Eau Claire's connection to the game. Back in 2011, the city council passed legislation to name Eau Claire the Kubb Capital of North America.

"It's growing more and more, so more people are learning about it," said Eric Anderson, who organizes the event each year.

The game of Kubb is steadily becoming a big attraction in the city of Eau Claire. Fans packed bleachers on Sunday to watch the championship match. 

"I like to think that Eau Claire is the center of Kubb here in the U.S. I mean we have the U.S. championships here. When my wife and I moved here in 2007, we didn't really know anybody, and it was a fun way to start meeting people, to introduce them to the game of Kubb. And we had a passion to introduce it to kids and different levels of people, age and multigenerational," explained Anderson.

But before the first kubb was struck here in the U.S. the game had already been around for a while; quite a while in fact.

"The game is a thousand years old, so supposedly the Vikings played it a thousand years ago. If that story is entirely accurate or not I guess no one really knows, but there are historical records that it goes back numerous centuries or different forms of the game go back numerous centuries," Anderson said.

Nicknamed Viking chess, kubb is a mixture of accuracy and strategy that only recently began to spread worldwide.

"It's a big part of people's culture on the island of Gotland in Sweden. And so in the 1990's it started becoming more commercialized, where you could buy sets on the mainland," explained Anderson.

For the 2013 U.S. National Kubb Championships, the sets have colors. It's something new this year that's a kind of tribute to the tournament where the best of the best play.

"We've always tried to follow the best we can the World Championships in Sweden, and we just try to say "Ok, we know they're doing a great job, how can we follow their lead and do what they do?" And they play with painted Kubbs so we wanted to do ours as well," added Anderson.

With over 320 people signed up, the U.S. tournament in Eau Claire is still a drop in the bucket compared to the world championships, where more than 1,000 people compete. But the game is growing here in the states thanks to the fact that it really doesn't take much to get started.

"That's the great thing about the game, if your little kids want to play, you make the field smaller, and if you want to make your own set, you make your own set. So I think there are a lot of things about the game that kind of make people really interested in it," Anderson said.

The Eau Claire Soccer Park is actually the fourth location for the championship tournament. It started out in a lot on the corner of First Avenue and West Grand Avenue before temporarily moving to both the Forest St. Park and Boyd Park.

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