2013 Ruggerfest kicks off with senior games
September 11, 2013
Aspen gets is ruck on this week.
The 47th annual Aspen Ruggerfest will kick off today with rugby action scheduled all through the weekend.
The tradition of the fall rugby tournament in Aspen will begin yet again with matches in the Over 45 and Over 55 divisions today at Wagner Park, which is christened Wagner Rugby Stadium for the annual Ruggerfest.
Play will begin at 11 a.m. today at Wagner in the senior divisions.
“It makes all the difference when you have the commitment of the City of Aspen. For us to have two fields in town is huge.”
John Lassalette, Ruggerfest chairman
On Friday, play is scheduled in the Over 35 and Over 50 divisions. Games will be contested at Wagner Rugby Stadium and Rio Grande Park.
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Play in the featured Open Division will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday at both rugby venues in downtown Aspen.
The final day of competition will be Sunday. Championship matches in all division will begin at noon at Wagner.
The Open Division championship will be played at 3:45 p.m. Sunday.
"We're really excited about Ruggerfest this year," said Ruggerfest chairman John Lassalette, who added three more entries to the field on Wednesday morning. "We're up to 27 teams now, which includes all of our defending champions."
He said the field is just two teams below the high-water mark of 29 teams that participated in the 2012 Ruggerfest.
"Along with our defending champions (in each division), we have two foreign sides this year," Lassalette said.
He said the Willing RFC from Great Britain will play in the Open Division this year — a division that includes defending champion CrossFit Colfax Barbarians (the top team in the Denver Barbarians system).
In addition, the Richmond Heavies from Great Britain will play in the Over 35 Division at the 46th annual Ruggerfest.
"We also have the U.S. Air Force team. And this isn't the Air Force Academy team of cadets," Lassalette said. "This is a … select team to represent the entire Air Force.
"They are prepping for a big international service competition … with the RAF (Royal Air Force) rugby team," he said. "We're excited to have them here to get ready."
Lassalette said several of the top Open teams will be preparing for the upcoming USA Rugby season. The Aspen Ruggerfest is a great tournament format for teams preparing for their seasons.
Teams scheduled for the Open Division include two Air Force squads, the Kansas Jayhawks, Boulder and the Glendale Raptors, who lost to the Barbos in last year's Ruggerfest championship.
The Denver Highlanders also will return to Aspen for Ruggerfest this week.
The Gentlemen of Aspen will field a team in the 35s this year.
They'll take on the likes of Boulder, the Denver Barbarians, the Virginia Cardinals and a squad of former Atlanta Renegades players.
Lassalette said the Ruggerfest event would not be possible without the support of the City of Aspen.
"It makes all the difference when you have the commitment of the City of Aspen," he said. "For us to have two fields in town is a huge difference."
The schedule today will begin with a 55s game between the Cardials and the Florida Old Boys.
At 12:10 p.m., there will be a game in the Over 45 Division: Cardinals vs. Dark & Stormy Misfits.
At 1:20 p.m. today, in the Over 55 Division, the Cardinals will take on CSOB.
Boulder will play the Dark & Stormy Misfits in a 2:30 p.m. match in the Over 45s.
The Florida Old Boys will play CSOB in an Over 55 game at 3:40 p.m.
And at 4:50 p.m. today, Boulder will play the Cardinals in Over 45 play.