Steamboat Springs Editor's note: The location of the tournament has been corrected below.
Cow Pie Classic schedule
Saturday at Ski Town Fields
9 a.m. Round 1: Steamboat vs. Breckenridge and Grand Junction vs. Santa Fe
10 a.m. Round 2: Wyoming vs. Barbarians and Boulder vs. Vail
11 a.m. Round 3: Steamboat vs. Santa Fe and Breckenridge vs. Grand Junction
Noon Round 4: Wyoming vs. Vail and Barbarians vs. Boulder
1 p.m. Round 5: Steamboat vs. Grand Junction and Breckenridge vs. Santa Fe
2 p.m. Round 6: Wyoming vs. Boulder and Vail vs. Barbarians
3 p.m. Feature matches: Old Boys and women's
4 p.m. Men’s semifinals
5 p.m. Feature matches: Old Boys final and women’s final
5:30 p.m. Championship final
Saying the Steamboat Rugby Club looks forward to the Cow Pie Classic is like saying a second-grade child looks forward to Christmas.
It’s not an average day for the club; it's the culmination of months of anticipation.
“It’s our No. 1 item on the rugby calendar,” said Julian Bristow, the coach of the Steamboat Rugby Club’s women’s and men’s teams. “There’s nothing quite like hosting seven other teams in your own backyard.”
The men’s bracket of the 39th annual Cow Pie Classic boasts eight squads, including Steamboat. There also is an Old Boys division for men older than 40 with four teams participating, and an additional four teams are competing in the women’s division.
Anne Zoltani, who picked up the game in college, and Sarah Tiedeken, who played for Oregon University, first formed the Steamboat Rugby Club’s women's squad last year and hope to improve this year, the tournament’s second year hosting women’s teams.
“I think we’re going to do really well,” Zoltani said. “We’ve got a lot of returning players.”
When it comes to the Cow Pie Classic, the Steamboat Rugby Club men’s squad has built a dynasty recently. It has kept the tournament title in Steamboat five out of the past six years.
The club’s rival, Wyoming, returns this year to try to assert the dominance it displayed in the early years of the tournament.
“That’s the big one,” Bristow said.
Although there is an excellent field of competition, fans most likely can look to that rivalry being renewed in the championship game at 5:30 p.m. Saturday.
Bristow encourages everyone, no matter their knowledge of the sport, to come out to Ski Town Fields and catch that game along with all the others the event has to offer.
The Steamboat teams play Saturday at 9 a.m., 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., then at various times after that depending on the results of those games.
“There’s going to be games going all day,” Bristow said. “If you don’t know much about rugby, it’s a great opportunity to watch the world’s second-biggest sport.”
Jake Miller, a 2012 graduate of Steamboat Springs High School, is working as a summer intern for the Steamboat Pilot & Today. He recently completed his freshman year at Nebraska Wesleyan University.