South Pasadena’s own “Kubby Doo” –– Keith Pearson and Scott Parker – took home first place honors in the Silver Division of last week’s 4th annual West Coast Kubb Championships at Orange Grove Park in the city.
The sport is pronounced “koob,” is lawn game where two opposing players or teams up to six take turns trying to knock down their opponents wooden blocks by throwing batons, made of wood.
To become proficient, like anything, it takes a lot of practice inside the small rectangular field, known as a “pitch.” Some describe it as a combination of bowling and horseshoes.
There were plenty of competitors joining Pearson and Parker in the mix. Thirty-eight teams from eight different states competed in the daylong event.
Orange Grove Park was blanketed with kubb players, families and kids. “Everyone who came got to play at least seven games of kubb against different opponents,” explained John Pettersson, the marketing director for the Los Angeles Kubb Club, a team comprised of South Pasadena residents, noting there were “six seeding rounds in the morning and then at least one playoff match [for each team] after lunch.”
Pettersson explained that the top 16 teams after the morning rounds advanced to the championship bracket and the remaining 22 competed in the silver bracket, or where Keith Pearson and Scott Parker landed and eventually won their won the title.
As teams were eliminated, competition continued to heat up as the top teams knocked each other out throughout the afternoon.
“There was some solid South Pasadena representation in the round of 16 and quarterfinals, but by the semifinal round, the remaining teams were all accomplished players from the Midwest,” Pettersson explained.
In part, due to the record number of teams at this year’s tournament, the afternoon playoff schedule was forced to run later than anticipated.
Organizers decided to combine the championship match with the annual post-tournament barbecue, which was held at the nearby home of tournament director, Joe Zenas. “To make this a reality, a championship grass pitch was built for the occasion at the Zenas home, complete with bleacher seating and professional lighting,” Pettersson explained.
However, most of the action, including early rounds and round robin play, took place at Orange Grove Park, a venue Pettersson said was “the perfect place for scores of kubb players, fans and friends to watch these exciting matches between some of the country’s top players.”
The main event featured the LA Kubb Club – Midwest Chapter, comprised of defending champions Evan and Michelle Fitzgerald of South Beloit, Illinois and the Drill Pickles, including the duo of Christopher Jones and Demian Moore from Minneapolis and St Paul, Minnesota, respectively.
The Drill Pickles won the first of three games and were looking to unseat the champs, but were slightly outmatched by Fitzgerald and and Beloit, who won the next two to regain their title.
While competitors focused on winning, many in the crowd relaxed on blankets, in lounge chairs and enjoyed the music.
As a special treat, organizers welcomed Cinco de Mayo a little early by arranging for a Mariachi band to perform during the lunchtime hour, much to the delight of the teams.