Denver Barbarians roll in Ruggerfest final
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO, Colorado
ASPEN – The 44th annual Ruggerfest rugby tournament came to a close in anticlimactic fashion Sunday at Wagner Park, with a 61-10 blowout of the Willing, from the United Kingdom, by the Denver Barbarians in the open division.
The tournament ended in front of a crowd of hundreds on the best weather day of the weekend, according to tournament spokesman Bill McEnteer. By the afternoon, both the players and the field were covered in mud because of rain in previous days.
The Barbarians play consistently in the tournament’s championship game, and throttled the Willing behind constant pressure from captain Logan Collins and back Tommy Pasque.
Noticeably absent from the weekend’s final match was the tournament host: The Gentlemen of Aspen, who had won 12 of the last 16 Ruggerfests, lost to the rival Barbos in the quarterfinals.
“It’s usually us and Aspen in the finals,” Collins said. “It was a tough game, but we came out on top.”
“[The Gents] were winners for so long, it got to the point where teams didn’t want to come up,” McEnteer added. “It’s not a bad thing for Aspen Ruggerfest, but I don’t like my club to lose.”
Ruggerfest is one of the top tournaments in the country, and Collins said it is Denver’s main tournament of the year and officially kicks off their fall season.
McEnteer said it’s a top tournament because they have great rugby and because participants get to play in Aspen. He said that it also provides a boost for the local economy, particularly in the offseason.
The tournament welcomed more than 24 teams from all over the country, as well as Australia and Great Britain. McEnteer said having teams that travel from overseas is good for competition.
“These guys are so phenomenal in the spirit of the game,” he said. “That’s the way it’s supposed to be.”
McEnteer is hoping to attract a similarly high level of competition next year, when the tournament will celebrate its 45th year.
Public address announcer Buddy Ortega summed up the weekend simply, saying: “The brutality and elegance of this game is neverending.”
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