Cowpie draws a crowd |

Cowpie draws a crowd

Traditional rugby tournament supplies plenty of entertainment

— Despite losses for the men and the women, there was no shortage of entertainment during Saturday’s Cowpie Classic rugby tournament at Ski Town Fields.

The Cowpie Classic is a 42-year-old tradition, with the first tournament having been held in 1973.

That year, rodeo livestock left their mark on the pitch the night before the tournament, and Steamboat Springs rugby players were left with the dirty task of cleaning up the field.

There were 12 teams on the men’s side this year.

During Steamboat’s first game against Grand Junction, the action got off to a slow start, with Steamboat leading 5-0 at the half. They finished the game with a 29-0 win.

“Just had to shake off a bit of rust,” coach Julian Bristow said.

Bristow was all smiles after the team’s second-game win over the Misfits, a squad composed of players from various clubs. It was one of the most physical and close games of the day, and it didn’t take long for Steamboat players to learn they had some serious competition.

“The boys suddenly realized they are in a massive match and had to pull out some magic at the end,” Bristow said.

The Misfits rallied to take an 8-7 lead with a minute left in the game. That’s all the time Steamboat’s Billy Coffey needed to score a tri and steal the win from the Misfits.

“Pretty much that was the game,” Bristow said.

The women had six teams in the tournament.

This was the fifth season for the women’s team, which had 17 people on the roster Saturday.

“It’s kind of a benchmark for us,” player Heather Biewick said. “It’s proof of longevity. I think Steamboat Rugby will always have a women’s side.”

The women had a little trouble waking up early in their first game, which ended with a 12-7 loss to the Boulder Babes.

“By the second half, that’s kind of when the battle began,” Biewick said.

The women dominated their second game against Colorado Springs with strong defense.

“This game was awesome,” Biewick said. “Our tactic was to be on the ball as soon as it was out.”

Biewick said the annual Steamboat tournament helps build a foundation for the rest of the season.

“This is your time to really build your confidence,” Biewick said. “Obviously, having the fans here is huge.”

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland

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