From the moment Jennifer Taylor stepped onto the rugby pitch for the first time to represent the Outdoor Industry’s official rugby team, “Hookers & Grubbers," the happy-go-lucky Mountain Khakis marketing maven -- and former professional women’s football player -- knew she had found her place in the sun.
"I'd never played the game before in my life," said Taylor, "But right after I got in, this guy came running at me with the ball. Michael (Hodgson – scrum half and rugby veteran) yelled at me to tackle him when I asked what I should do. So, naturally, I smacked him…maybe too hard?"
Indeed, Taylor's crunching tackle which leveled one of the top players for the opposing side, was a defining moment during the inaugural 2009 match, a match that launched what has become an Outdoor Retailer trade show staple: a few dozen old farts, fit women, and washed-up ruggers getting together to play a gentlemen's (and -women's) match.
Unlike that inaugural match, the Hookers & Grubbers (yes, we have hookers on our team and no, it is not what you think so quit snickering in feigned shock) will not be playing a visiting team. This is an all-outdoor industry affair intended as a friendly match among peers who promise not to engage in the arbitrary removal of another’s body parts during the match. What happens during the after-match party, however, can get downright ugly. But nothing so ugly as the pain felt during that first match.
"Our first year was a bloodbath," said Gordon Wright, who stars at fly-half and moonlights as the president of Outside PR. "We scheduled a friendly match game with an 'Old Boys' side in Salt Lake, and they were clearly so terrified of us that they resorted to stuffing their roster with ringers -- including a giant who was currently playing for the U.S. national team in World Cup match play.” Click here to read the post match account of that sordid affair.
Naturally, like any good rugby match, the gathering of Hookers & Grubbers will be followed by that most hallowed of rugby traditions: the beer-fueled party. There may be some singing involved, which suits Scott Duer just fine. Duer, a sales manager for Genuine Guide Gear, says, "The singing may be more competitive than the rugby."
Entry to the match as a player is as simple as visiting Scrumbot.com , purchasing a kit (jersey, shorts, socks), and then showing up for the match wearing your kit.
"If you're wearing the jersey, you're playing," said Coach Tom McCarthy, "We really can't have too many substitutes. If it's over 80 degrees, none of us can last more than 10 minutes without throwing up or passing out." It is also recommended you wear shorts along with the jersey. Socks and shoes are also a good idea. Either way, though, half naked or not, you'll be playing as long as you have your jersey on.
The match will begin at 7 p.m. on Aug. 5, the second day of Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2011. Location of both the match and after-match party are still being finalized, so stay tuned to SNEWS® for details.
Still having doubts about your rugby worthiness? Consider this: By playing outdoor industry rugby, you will be increasing your sex appeal. Seriously! Chet Cisek’s wife tells us he actually looks better than ever after last year’s match and is limping – errr, walking -- with a more manly Pirates of the Caribbean-like swagger. So, are you ready to try a real gold molar on for size like Cisek? Of course you are. Sign up now –www.scrumbot.com.