That is a behind scenes look at putting together Kubbnation Magazine (learn more Sunday night on the radio). But it got me thinking. It got me thinking about Dave Ellringer’s kubb year. (BIG DISCLAIMER HERE: I am not questioning Grant, Evan, Chad, and online voting that awarded Josh “Dobbie” Feathers the award or whoever each of them voted for. Not at all. I don’t know the criteria that they looked at regarding getting on the initial nomination list, and I don’t know what each/all of them used as a basis for their individual picks, or who each picked. Also, Dobbie (or perhaps you voted for Mark Blazel) also have a lot of photos in there as well, if podium finishes was a criteria. Regardless, one could have argued easily for Dobbie or Mark and either of them deserved it). OK, back to the blog.
Now, Dave is probably never going to win a 1 vs. 1 tournament (OK, he won’t), nor would he probably be in the top two or three of any ongoing ladder tournament like they have in Des Moines, Chaska, and Minneapolis. However, I do think looking at his year will tell us all a little about him. Actually, it will tell us a lot about him as a person and a kubb player.
Loppet in Minneapolis, MN – 2nd
Played with son Aaron. They are the original The Ringers, the 2010 U.S. Champions, and the mainstays of the team and promote kubb endlessly here in Eau Claire. They beat the defending champion Kubb Snipers in what was an absolute slugfest of a three-game match in the semifinals. If kubb matches can be violent, this one was violent. An injury made it so that I went to the Loppet to watch last year and witnessed it first-hand. If there was one match that did not get videoed from 2013, that I wish could have been videoed, that was the absolute one, period. They then lost to Team Knockerheads in the Final, after Team Knockerheads opened Game 2 with five kubbs and forfeiting their last baton. The Ringers did come back and get two off their baseline.
Madison, WI – Not in the top four
Midwest Championship in Rockford, IL – 3rd
Played with son Aaron and also Mike and Shannon Paulus (Throw Storm) from Eau Claire. This is his second different team. They lost 1-2 against Dark Side of the Kubbsicles in an all-Eau Claire semifinal. Being the director of the tournament in 2013, it was fun to watch the "older" EC kubbers battle the "younger" EC kubbers for a spot in the Final. From there, they beat Tad Kubbler to secure third place.
Was going to play with son Aaron and myself as a three-person team. Due to one of the kids that was travelling with us getting sick, he had to switch teams and played with his grandson Sy. Three tournaments = three different teams. Aaron and I finished third. I would like to think that we would have still finished third with him, but such is life, and getting to play with you grandchild, that is nice. Someday I hope to play with my grandchildren as much as I can.
Summer Tri-Loppet – Minneapolis, MN – 3rd
Played with grandson Colton, who visited him from Flagstaff, AZ. Four for four with different teams. Ahead of them were King Pin and Sav Face, which consist of two of the better kubbers in the MN Kubb club.
Kubbing to Kick Cancer – Kasson, MN – 2nd
Played with Colton again and finished 2nd to Team Knockerheads
Minnesota Kubb Open – Minneapolis, MN - 1st
Played with two players from the Minnesota Kubb club. Six tournaments and five different teams.
U.S. Championship – Eau Claire, WI - T17
Played with son Aaron and grandson Sy. They lost to Leinenkubbels, who finished T5, with their only losses of the tournament were to the top two teams. Seven tournaments and six different teams.
Nordic Fest – Decorah, IA – T5
Played with mostly Sy, and Aaron played a little. Made it to the final 8 and lost to Team Knockerheads. Playing mostly with Sy, that is now eight tournaments and seven different teams.
Clash of Kubb – Appleton, WI – 1st
Played with Mark Blazel of Kubbsicles and grandson Sy. Yep, nine tourneys and eight different teams.
The Meatgrinder – Fall Klassic – Des Moines, IA – 3rd
I had the honor of playing with him in Des Moines. We gave it all we could that day to bring home a back-to-back first place, but didn’t have enough to get past King Pin in the semifinal in the third game. 10 tourneys and nine different teams.
Dallas, WI Oktoberfest – 1st
Teamed up with five others, myself, Aaron, Eric Goplin, Cole, and Scott Graham. 11 tourneys and 10 different teams.
Chaska 1 versus 1 tournament – Chaska, MN
I don’t know where he finished. He was not in the top eight, I believe, but as I mentioned above, that is not his game. 12 different tournaments and 11 different teams.
Chippewa Valley Kubb League Spring Fling – Eau Claire, WI – 1st
Mixer style tournament when you play with and against new people each game. 13 and 12.
Yes, 13 different tournaments and 12 different teams.
What a kubb year for Mr. David Ellringer. The guy is 68
years old. He played in 13 tournaments in 2013 with different teams for 12 of
the 13 tournaments. Dave and his son Aaron don’t just take new players on their
team, they embrace having new and different players on their teams, more so
than any team I can think of. And, remember, at the Loppet, cancer was
destroying Dave’s body. Later that winter they found out he had it, and the
rest of the spring and summer, he was battling it, and now, thankfully the
cancer is gone.
Sure, not all tournaments are equal when it comes to competition levels. But there are some very high 2013 finishes on some of the most competitive tournaments in the U.S. and with everywhere from two to six players, all with different players as teammates.
If your thing is best all-around player, he is not going to be the best all-around player in the U.S. If your thing is 1 on 1, he is not the best 1 on 1 player in the U.S., nor will he be. But I will tell you one thing, in my book, I think he might be one of the best kubb players in the U.S. I will always treasure the opportunity to play alongside Dave. Hopefully I will have many more opportunities to join him on the baseline again.
Thanks for the inspiration and all the kubb memories we have had Dave. I appreciate it.