Column: Ruggerfest’s memorable images of 2015 |

Column: Ruggerfest’s memorable images of 2015

Dale Strode
The Aspen Times
Dale Strode

Memorable snapshots from Aspen Ruggerfest 2015:

Rugby returns to Aspen’s Food & Wine Park.

The Gentlemen of Aspen in the championship game of the featured open division of Ruggerfest after a nearly 10-year absence in the grand final.

New Orleans rugby players sporting the colors of the Kansas City Blues. New Orleans’ rugby shirts didn’t make it to Aspen. They’re apparently sitting in a baggage claim in a galaxy far, far away.

One of the Colorado Cougars, playing the Boulder Babes in a Ruggerfest exhibition, subbed herself out to tend to the tears of her 3-year-old daughter on the sidelines.

Aspen High School students cheering wildly as Gentleman James Aldridge breaks loose for a scintillating run along the sidelines at Wagner, flashing the double-take, explosive speed of the former Notre Dame running back. Aldridge is a track coach at the high school and previously led the school’s weight-training program.

The Junior Gents taking on the Grand Junction Griffins in a prep game.

Former Junior Gentlemen Wiehan Pretorius and Jonny Medrano on the Ruggerfest turf, playing for the open division Aspen boys, alongside and against top international competition. Barely two years ago, the two helped the Aspen Junior Gents win a state high school championship.

Aspen rugby legend Mark Williams holding court, revisiting rugby friends from around the globe. Williams, with scores of appearances with the U.S. Eagles, once won a Ruggerfest title for the Gentlemen of Aspen with a 55-yard drop kick in the final seconds of the championship game. His booming kick went up, up, up, eventually heading for table 6 at Su Casa.

Breakfast anyone? There was a brief stoppage in play Saturday morning when the Gentlemen of Aspen squared off against the Kansas City Blues at Wagner Rugby Stadium. In mid-scrum, the referee stepped away from the action, bowed at the waist and blew breakfast right on the Wagner turf. Not once either.

“Did I see just see that?” announcer and former rugby player Buddy Ortega said.

Yes, Buddy. We all saw it.

And we’ll never forget it.