Boulder ruggers carry on at Aspen tourney
The Aspen Times
Despite the recent flash floods, a few Boulder rugby players made the trip to Aspen for the annual Ruggerfest while others had to stay put.
Rodger Lamb, who has lived in Longmont, Boulder and Broomfield, said the St. Vrain river in Longmont has split the town in half, isolating family members from one another.
“Having the amount of rain that we had on the Front Range, … I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Lamb, a member of the Boulder Rugby Club, a team that has been forced to play shorthanded because players have been dealing with flooded basements — and worse — in Boulder.
“A lot of guys made arrangements and made it up (to Aspen), but other guys had other things they couldn’t quite rearrange,” said Deron Dempsey, captain for Boulder’s Over 35 team. “It’s a tricky situation right now in Boulder. A lot of people are unaccounted for.”
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Lamb lives in Broomfield, where he and his wife own horses. The animals are fine, he said, but there is very little access to the barn. He’s heading back to Broomfield today to deal with a few things, but he plans on making it back to Aspen on Sunday, when the Ruggerfest finals take place.
Lamb remembers the Big Thompson Canyon flash flood of 1976 that killed more than 140 people, including a handful who never were found. His family had planned a trip to Estes Park that weekend, but the morning they were supposed to leave, something came up, and they canceled. An estimated 2,500 to 3,500 vacationers were in the Big Thompson River valley on July 31, when eight inches of rain fell in a one-hour stretch, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
By Friday, 13.55 inches of rain had fallen in Boulder since the storm began, according to The Denver Post. Two deaths had been confirmed, with one person missing, and 20 adults were unaccounted for.
Dempsey left Boulder at 4 a.m. Friday, and he said it took an hour to get out of Boulder County. As of Friday afternoon, he wasn’t sure if the Over 35 team was going to have a full squad to play today.
John “Barkey” Barkmeier, captain of the Over 50 team, who has been coming to Aspen for Ruggerfest since 1977, said, “It’s pretty hairy down there: Six or 7 inches of rain in a short period of time doesn’t happen very often (in the high country).”
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Pools in Aspen and Pitkin County will be allowed to open Monday, though COVID-19-related rules will apply.