Steamboat Springs Early in the day Saturday, long before the dozen or so kegs had been tapped out, Steamboat Rugby Club co-captain Robbie Shine’s right eye met some unyielding part of a player from Breckenridge’s body.
The result was a black eye full of colors worthy of any Steamboat sunset. But all the rose pinks, powerful purples and deep blues around Shine’s eye couldn’t keep him or Steamboat from getting back to the ultimate goal.
The Cow Pie Classic — the red-letter tournament on the schedule — is back in Steamboat Springs.
Thanks in large part to several additions and multiple locals, Steamboat recaptured the Cow Pie on Saturday, downing rival Wyoming.
“It’s rugby,” said Shine, who scored what proved to be the game-winner in a 36-8 beatdown of Wyoming in the championship game. “You have to play injured sometimes. I just might not be able to see out of it” today.
Steamboat, on the easier side of the draw, rolled through Breckenridge, Glenwood Springs and Santa Fe, N.M., in pool play.
The team had advanced to the finals and looked like it would play Mountain League foe Vail in the championship.
But in the final pool play game of the day, Boulder shocked Vail, allowing Wyoming back into the finals. That was just fine with Steamboat.
“We wanted Wyoming in the finals for sure,” Shine said.
Steamboat, after winning three straight Cow Pies, lost to Wyoming in the semifinals last year, 17-12.
This year it looked like it would be another battle.
Wyoming scored first on a penalty kick to go up, 3-0. From there, though, it was all Steamboat.
It started with a Shine try to make it 5-3. Chris Baumann added one minutes later, breaking five Wyoming tackles, to make it 12-3.
By that time — if the endless beer hadn’t done it already — the raucous crowd at Ski Town Fields got louder and louder at each subsequent try.
“I’m wired for success,” Baumann said. “The Steamboat Rugby Club is wired for success.”
From there, it was all Steamboat. The team led 17-3 at halftime, and by the time Jeff Collins closed with a try in the waning moments, the rout was on.
Wyoming has “been at every Cow Pie,” co-captain Tim Callahan said. “At one point they won it six years in a row. We wanted to make sure this year we didn’t hand them anything.”
To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email lgraham@SteamboatToday.com