Huge upsets. Instant rivalries. Finishes that will be remembered forever. It’s been an amazing first three rounds of the inaugural Bracket of Steez tournament.
Before I go any further, let me say congratulations to the four teams that are now representing their bracket in the semifinals. This wasn’t easy, and for all four of them, it took traveling the world.
Coming from the west end of the Upper Peninsula is the Ironwood Region winner submitted by Karl P. This was taken in Fribourg, Switzerland. Its biggest advantage might be the artist edge it has. Its Ironwood Region championship came decidedly over a photo submitted by Nils S.
“Just to be in this position was an honor,” Nils said. “I tried to really focus on the moment, staying focused on the things I could control. I’m grateful I had the opportunity to live this dream.” The loss was tough for Nils, but he’s expecting to compete once again next year. “This isn’t my top Yooper Steez photo,” Nils said. “I look forward to an even stronger performance next year.”
In the Western U.P. Championship, the Swiss photo will compete with a photo submitted by Laura L. at Machu Picchu in Peru. The photo is the only one in the tournament to feature two Yooper Steez shirts, and also the only one to feature the limited edition “SISU” Yooper Steez photo.
Laura’s photo ended up being the top photo from a very competitive Houghton Region, which featured several photos that many bracketologists had as championship-caliber photos.
In the Eastern U.P. Championship, it’s the matchup everyone wanted. Antarctica against Antarctica. This should be an absolutely epic battle between the only two photos ever submitted to Yooper Steez from the southest of the south region of the world.
“I was hoping for many years to receive at least one photo from Antarctica,” said Bugsy Sailor, the founder of Yooper Steez. “When I did, I was beyond myself. When I received a second, I couldn’t believe it. Now, these two will battle it out for the ultimate prize.
Coming out of the Mackinac Region was a photo submitted by Megan G. with the classic white/green shirt. Megan’s photo defeated a French photo submitted by Stephanie that showed a lot of promise with big wins over a celebrity citing and a photo of an Ohio State fan that made it out of the first round despite near universal hate from Michiganders. Maybe it was an ode to the state that traded us?
In the Escanaba Region is Andrew F. with a light gray/black shirt. His win in the Escanaba Region semifinals was over the only North American photo to reach the round of eight. That regional championship was the only one between two people wearing the same shirt.
You can see the pride in both of the Antarctica submissions, who despite being in obviously arctic conditions, chose to show off their t-shirts.
Today and tomorrow are the final two days of the contest. On Saturday morning, just one photo will be crowned champion. Who will it be? Vote and make your voice heard.
Michael H. Babcock is one of Yooper Steez most experienced bracketologists. His writing and opinions come from years of experience in the field. Aside from being an expert in U.P. shirt brackets, Michael is a marketing professional, writer and freelancer in Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula.