Ruggerfest returns for 49th year |

Ruggerfest returns for 49th year

The Gentlemen of Aspen rugby football club prepares for Ruggerfest this weekend with a practice Wednesday evening at Wagner Rugby Stadium.
Anna Stonehouse/The Aspen Times |

Thursday’s ruggerfest schedule

All games played at Wagner Park

9:45 a.m. KC Rugby Club 45s vs. Cardinals Rugby 45s

10:35 a.m. Florida Old Boys 55s vs. Cardinals Rugby 55s

11:25 a.m. Olympic Club 45s vs. Dark ‘n Stormy Misfits 45s

12:15 p.m. Maccabi USA 45s vs. Cardinals Rugby 45s

1:05 p.m. Cardinals Rugby 55s vs. Florida Old Boys 55s

1:55 p.m. KC Rugby Club 45s vs. Olympic Club 45s

2:45 p.m. Dark ‘n Stormy Misfits 45s vs. Cardinals Rugby 45s

3:35 p.m. Maccabi USA 45s vs. KC Rugby Club 45s

4:25 p.m. Cardinals Rugby 45s vs. Olympic Club 45s

5:15 p.m. Maccabi USA 45s vs. Dark ‘n Stormy Misfits 45s

The expanded diversity of English accents and the extra testosterone permeating through Aspen this week can only mean one thing — Ruggerfest is back.

In its 49th year, Aspen’s annual rugby tournament gets going Thursday and runs through Sunday at Wagner Park in the heart of downtown Aspen, with some of the weekend games also being played at Rio Grande Park.

“Mountain towns understand rugby and have seen it for a number of years,” Cameron McIntyre said. “The general public, hopefully, will get a sense of a fast sport, continuous sport, without too many breaks.”

McIntyre coaches the Gentlemen of Aspen Rugby Football Club, which was founded in 1968, the same year as the first Ruggerfest. The Gents have won Ruggerfest 20 times, the most recent title coming a year ago after a five-year drought.

After a summer in which they lost only once in 15 matches, the Gents are hopeful they’ll return to Sunday’s open division men’s championship for the second time in as many years.

“We’ve gone out of our way to make our team better before the weekend. So it would be a waste of someone’s money and someone’s time if we don’t do pretty well,” Gent player Grant Prior said. “So our expectations are to win the tournament, but we’ll see. I don’t know much about the opposition.”

Prior is one of the new faces playing in Ruggerfest this year. A native of South Africa, Prior has only been in the United States for five months and in Aspen for three. It was the draw of playing rugby in Aspen that brought him to the Roaring Fork Valley.

While some other names may be familiar from year’s past, there are just as many, like Prior, experiencing Ruggerfest for the first time this weekend.

“Been a real building process in the last couple of years to put the summer squad together, and that’s carried over into Ruggerfest,” McIntyre said. “Come Sunday afternoon, hopefully we are in that final game, and that will make for a championship final that hasn’t been seen for a few years.”

The action gets going Thursday at “Wagner Rugby Stadium” with the Cronies (45 and older) and Fogies (55 and older) divisions. The first match begins at 9:45 a.m., with a new match scheduled to start every 50 minutes until the final match of the day at 5:15 p.m.

Friday will see the Codgers (50 and older) and Masters (35 and older) take the field, which includes the Gentlemen of Aspen’s 35-and-over squad. The open and women’s divisions get going Saturday morning, with all championship matches scheduled for Sunday.

For a full schedule, visit

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