Hosts hope to win

Steamboat rugby club likes chances in Cowpie Classic


— The Ski Town Fields were quiet Thursday except for a scattering of children and adults playing baseball on either end of the complex.

That changes this weekend.

The Cowpie Classic begins at 9 a.m. on Saturday with eight regional rugby teams competing for the coveted cowpie trophy, which is an authentic cowpie, albeit a dry one.

The tournament's name was coined more than 20 years ago when it began in a pasture that the rugby team shared with cattle.

It has been more than 20 years since Steamboat won the Cowpie Classic, captain Michael Hurley said. The local men have taken a backseat to teams from Wyoming and Aspen, among other towns, but things may change this year.

"Good. Better than average," player Stewart Beall said of the team's chances. "No, seriously, we have a good team. We have a lot of players this year."

Aspen and a team made up of University of Wyoming alumni likely will be the favorites, but they have to face each other in pool play.

Steamboat has to get past teams from Fort Collins, Colorado Springs and Breckenridge in pool play. Steamboat has beaten Breckenridge by 70 points once this season, but it has not faced the Front Range teams.

On Thursday, nearly two dozen men were training on the Ski Town Fields in preparation for this weekend. One field has been painted. The other field, and the posts for point after attempts, will be painted and put up today.

Steamboat will have two teams in this weekend's tournament, including one in the Old Boys division. Several men have been part of the Steamboat Rugby Club for years and want to continue competing.

Colorado Springs and Boulder also are bringing "veteran" rugby squads.

All games are 20-minute halves with five-minute halftimes. Hurley said spectators are encouraged to come out and watch a sport that is gaining popularity in Steamboat, particularly among former football players.

The official Cowpie Classic party is Saturday night at Sunpie's Bistro. New Belgium Brewery and B & K Distributing are helping sponsor this year's tournament.


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