Hooligans and gentlemen alike came together on Saturday, July 9, for the 48th annual Cowpie Classic at the Ski Town Fields.
The bruises were blue, the tensions were high and the collars were popped for Steamboat Men’s Rugby.
After splitting the first two games with a 19-14 win and a 20-14 loss, Steamboat was determined to take Game 3 against Aspen and leave the hometown tournament on a positive note.
Steamboat’s Giovanni “Donut” Bonilla, rallied the team before Game 3 by getting his teammates to pop the collars of their jerseys for game time.
“It’s a beautiful sport we play. Rugby is all about confidence,” Bonilla said. “Sometimes you gotta pop the collar. You gotta let them know, you gotta show out.”
Bonilla did just that with a steal early on that he took coast-to-coast for the opening try of the game.
Steamboat was able to set the tone early and took command for the duration of the match.
Just before halftime, Steve Beamon extended the Steamboat lead with his first try of the season, and the team never looked back.
With a dominant victory over rival Aspen, Steamboat was able to take fifth place at the home tournament and leave with high energy for a toga party that would end the night.
“We still got a lot of season left to play, so we gotta keep our heads on straight, and I’m glad we still brought it out for our last game even though it wasn’t the championship,” Beamon said.
Rob Schwarz, the team’s captain for Game 2, preached mental toughness to the team ahead of the third game’s start. He thought the team had played sloppy in its second match and was happy they played smarter ball to close out the tournament.
“Seeing a lot of people out here is always great, and you know, it also says something about the tournament that so many teams come out so competitively as well. A lot of people take this seriously and so it’s never easy for us,” Schwarz said. “That makes the wins that much sweeter.”
Steamboat’s women’s team, the Charging Heifers, fared even better in the tournament with a second place finish.
They fell to Boulder in the championship for two tries despite a late comeback with Eve Mango, Brittany Mcguire and Maria Donovan all scoring for the Heifers.
This tournament is a sight to behold. Between the pine tree uprights, players running around the pitch fully nude and the Rocky Mountain landscape as a backdrop, there is nothing quite like the Cowpie Classic.
“It’s a beautiful thing. I love this sport, and I love this town,” Bonilla said.
To reach Tom Skulski, call 970-871-4240, email tskulski@SteamboatPilot.com.