Gentlemen of Aspen launch recruiting drive
The Aspen Times
The Gentlemen of Aspen are looking for a few good men.
A few good Gentlemen.
The historic rugby club in Aspen is launching a recruiting drive for the upcoming summer rugby season.
Fleming Trane, a longtime rugby player with the Gents, is the new president of the Gentlemen of Aspen rugby club.
His first order of business, he said, is to draw more players to the rugby club that dates to the 1960s in Aspen.
“This is a call to arms for prospective players,” Trane said this week in an interview with The Aspen Times. “The Gents start the spring season in March. The Junior Gents start their season Feb. 28. Their first game, at 1 p.m., is Feb. 28 at Willits Field (near Basalt).”
Trane said the Gentlemen of Aspen and the Junior Gents are training now with an eye on the upcoming season openers.
Prospective players are invited to come out to a training session and join the fun, Trane said.
“My guess is there are some more rugby players in town,” he said. “We want to connect with them.”
Plus, he said, the Gentlemen of Aspen rugby club is a great step for former college and high school football players to learn a new sport.
“We need bodies, any sized bodies,” Trane said, adding that rugby is unique in that there are positions for all sizes of athletes. “Anybody that wants to come out and have a lot of fun is invited.”
He said joining the Gentlemen of Aspen is like joining an international rugby fraternity.
“The camaraderie of rugby is unique,” Trane said.
To assist prospective and current players, Trane said the Gentlemen of Aspen have named Kyle Larson as the director of player relations.
“He’s the primary contact for players,” Trane said.
Anyone with questions about rugby or about the club can contact Larson at 716-830-8095.
Trane said training sessions for the Gentlemen of Aspen are held at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Cozy Point Ranch horse barn.
Weekend practices generally are held at Willits Rugby Field near Basalt.
Practice times as well as game schedules will be posted on the Gentlemen of Aspen website at aspenrugby.com.
“The Junior Gents are training at the same time,” Trane said, adding that high school-age players are invited to join the Junior Gents, who have played in three consecutive state championship games. Two of the Junior Gents will participate in an all-star 7s prep tournament in Las Vegas this week.
Trane said the Gentlemen of Aspen are eager to return to their primary pitch at Wagner Park in downtown Aspen.
The park was closed last season for turf renovation.
“Ruggerfest will be back at Wagner this year,” Trane said of the fall rugby festival in Aspen. “We’ll be back to having two fields with a full complement of teams and divisions.”
Last year, a limited Ruggerfest tournament was played at Rio Grande Field in Aspen.
But this year, Trane said, the festive atmosphere of Aspen rugby will be back at Wagner Park. Ruggerfest dates for 2015 are Sept. 17-20.
The Wagner Park venue, he said, is a special one for rugby players worldwide.
“Ruggerfest is part of the worldwide rugby culture,” Trane said. “Players from all over the world know about Ruggerfest.”
And the experience of playing a big Ruggerfest match in front of a big Ruggerfest crowd in Aspen is unsurpassed.
“There’s really no other feeling in the world than playing at the base of Aspen Mountain, at Wagner Park, with 3,000 people cheering us on,” Trane said. “You really get a feeling for how great the game is when you play at Wagner in front of a big crowd.”
He invited players to join the club, join part of Aspen history.
“We have a history of rugby that is integral to Aspen,” Trane said. “Being a part of that is just fantastic.”
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