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Archive for March, 2015

MUL-CHA-THA BRINGS GILA RIVER INDIAN TRIBES TOGETHER FOR FUN WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS ! 30 YEAR STUDY OF PIMA BLOOD MAY CURE DIABETES

GARRETT CAYADITTO FROM NEW MEXICO DANCES NORTHERN TRADITIONAL

GARRETT CAYADITTO FROM NEW MEXICO DANCES NORTHERN TRADITIONAL AT SACATON’S POW WOW

Sacaton is a unique place few other Arizona small town can match! Many small towns in the South West are made up of transplants all of which hail from somewhere else and come together to make a community. Most everyone in Sacaton was born there, their fathers and mothers were born there and their grandparents likewise lived in

SPECTATORS AT THE TWO HOUR PARADE

SPECTATORS AT THE TWO HOUR PARADE

the small but vibrant Indian community, the Capitol and ancient homeland of the Gila River Indian Tribes. American Indians living today in the Gila River Indian Community history shows their ancestors were the first people to set foot in the Americas 30,000 years ago. They have lived in the Sonoron Desert near the Gila River in southern Arizona for at least 2,000 years. Called the Pima Indians by exploring Spaniards who first encountered them in the 1600s, these early Americans called themselves “O’Odham,” the River people, and those with whom they intermarried, “Tohono O’Odham,” the Desert people. Archaeologist say the Pima Indians descended from the Hohokam.

TRADITONAL DANCING ARENA

TRADITONAL DANCING ARENA

They are said to be a generous people, they gave the homeless Maricopa Indians (Pee Posh) a home and they became part of the Gila River community. Anyone who followed the Gila river, the southern route to the Pacific, encountered these peaceful traders who gave hospitality to travelers for hundreds of years. “Bread is to eat, not to sell. Take what you want,” they told Kit Carson in 1846. Today, it is not bread, it’s popovers-a glob of flour boiled in lard which is a huge hit during the 53rd Mul-Cha-Tha each March, when everyone comes out to see family and friends and to enjoy the day together. The “Community Day” celebration begins with a two hour parade Saturday morning,

FOLKS TAKE GREAT STRIDES DURING THE BATTLE OF THE BANDS

FOLKS TAKE GREAT STRIDES FOR THE BATTLE OF THE BANDS

followed by a mad dash and total gridlock to the Fairgrounds. Brown Amusements Carnivals was setup on the south end of the enormous fairground. Nearby were food carts, informational displays on health and teeth care, the Pow Wow arena, the Rodeo grounds, Horseshoe competition, and the Traditional Dancing Groups have their own stage while Chicken Scratch Musicians in a “Battle of the Bands” play to the full Waila tent and plenty of folks who can’t resist getting up and stepping out. The first band kicked off the competition with a spirited version of “Ghost Riders”, dozens, young and old danced on to the dirt dance floor. Waila is a combination of European polka and waltzes with a little Mexican influence mixed-in. Waila music is performed throughout southern Arizona by Tohono O’odham, Pima and Maricopa musicians.

PORTRAITS WITH HEALTHY CORN

PORTRAITS WITH HEALTHY CORN

HOT PLATE, BURNED FINGERS

HOT PLATE, BURNED FINGERS

I asked several people about their favorite Mul-Cha-Tha activity and surprisingly “Eating” was high on the list and an easy first! Some said they would grab the first food that grabbed them, others focused; one lady said “Popovers” without any of the toppings like red chili and cheese, or a combo with beans added, nor honey and powdered sugar toppings. A nice guy in the ticket line, escorting one year old Sophia, said he loves a large bowl of chips covered in hot salsa. Stopping by the food booths on the midway, I asked what was selling the most and it was a close race between popovers and hamburgers said the lady who was nonstop flattening out popover paddies to drop into the hot oil.

POPOVER COMBINATION; BEANS AND RED CHILI

POPOVER COMBINATION; BEANS AND RED CHILI

This year she brought her lunch trying to eat better she said, she brought a turkey wrap, but her son ate it. Up to

POWDER-SUGAR FRY BREAD

POWDER-SUGAR FRY BREAD

then she had only a corn-on-a-stick which is real popular every year. Next door, at the Kieto’s Navajo Taco Stand, everyone was busy filling the Navajo Taco orders

FRY BREAD

FRY BREAD

for the fry bread popover, covered with chili meat, cheese, lettuce and tomatoes. The sales team and cooks all looked frazzled and worn out but they were working furiously. Tortillas were gently laid upon the hot griddle and burnt fingers gingerly flip the tortillas, tenderly plucking the warm bread off the hot dome. One co-worker took a moment from the furious pace when I asked what the money from all these tacos will buy. The single mother said, her daughter Cherish, was graduating from high school and today’s profits would pay for her graduation cap and gown, plus pay for the announcements and give her cash to enroll at the University of Arizona in the School of Veterinary Science. Tears of happiness welled up in her eyes as she spoke about Cherish and how she had excelled in school and how she knew she would be a great animal doctor. Then she went back to filling orders for the huge crowd lined up in front of the booth.

WILD HORSE STAMPEDE

WILD HORSE STAMPEDE

I have always enjoyed the variety of events at the Mul-Cha-Tha, but the All Indian Rodeo can often be the most exciting, when local cowboys get beat up by the rough stock. I ask one Cowboy what his favorite part of “Community Day” and he looked taken back and asked “Really”! “I come for the Team roping, the Bull riding and the Wild horse Stampede! “I’m a team roper he proclaims proudly”, and the hundreds of people in the grandstands were all rodeo fans.

SACATON POWOW & RODEO, FAIR-9574

Lots of family come out to cheer on uncles, brothers, dad’s and wives, sisters and aunts. One rodeo fan was anxious to see the four reservation team roping event, which would give someone crowing rights, about who were the best ropers in Southern Arizona.

HANGING TOUGH IN THE JUNIOR RODEO

HANGING TOUGH IN JR RODEO

There was two Pima teams, one San Carlos Apache team and the Tohono Oodham stacked the desk with three teams and won. No one seemed to mind, they like good roping, and Indian rodeos in Arizona feature a lot of team roping, calf roping and steer wrestling. But the favorite hands down is the Wild Horse Stampede. Eleven three-man teams competed to saddle a wild horse and ride it! This year-the horses won, so did the bulls, they resisted anyone getting a eight second ride on Saturday. One bull fighter was launched more than ten feet from the ground but that was the only ride of the day. Earlier, in the week, on Thursday the Master’s Rodeo took place, featuring contestants over fifty and Friday was the Junior Rodeo featuring all the cowboys and girls under seventeen but older than six years of age. On Sunday, Pima women compete in the Thoka Tournaments, a lacrosse-style stick game, played in a large open field.

The Traditional Singers and Dancers, featured some favorites-two local Pima singing and basket dance groups, the Tohono O’odham Santa Rosa dance group performed, as did the Tohono O’odham dancers from Mexico, finished up with the Alex Gomez old time fiddlers. Keep in mind all of this is going on at the same time so folks either stick to their favorites or they go around catching a little bit of all of the performances.

TEAM ROPER HEELS AFTER A GOOD HEAD TOSS

TEAM ROPER HEELS AFTER A GOOD HEAD TOSS

Either way, when the sun goes down another group came out to hear their favorite performers after dark and late into the night. Thousands of people turn out for “Community Day”, at a time in Sacaton when the weather is perfect so they empty the nursing home, the “Caring House” and push residents about the grounds in wheelchairs. Everyone joins in the fun, earlier, as the rodeo announcer begins to warm up his crowd, he asks how many in the crowd are “visitors” and a small applause rises, then he asks how many are “Sacaton residents”, the applause is louder-but when he asks “How many are proud Native Americans” the grandstands explode with applause…

BULLS WOULD NOT GIVE UP A FREE RIDE

BULLS WOULD NOT GIVE UP A FREE RIDE

Today, the Pima Indians of the Gila River Indian Community are still an agricultural people, nurturing

FAIRGROUNDS MIDWAY

FAIRGROUNDS MIDWAY

eleven thousand strong members of the Gila River Indian Reservation who have participated in 30 years of research to help people avoid diabetes, have healthier eyes, hearts, and kidneys, and to understand how and why people gain weight and what can be done to prevent it. When researchers find a family with one parent who is diabetic and one who is not, they study the genes of both parents and their children to find the genes shared by those who have diabetes. After finding these genes, scientists hope to break the codes that cause insulin resistance, obesity, diabetes and kidney disease. Researchers are working on this complex genetic puzzle by studying blood drawn from every member of the Pima community who comes into Hu Hu Kam Memorial Hospital for exams. Their blood is checked for healthy levels of blood sugar, cholesterol and other nutrients. Then blood and serum are typed and some is reduced to a very small pellet of DNA. This genetic material instructs cells to function one way or another. So researchers study these families in an effort to find the genes that lead to diabetes.
SACATON POWOW & RODEO, FAIR-9541

EVERYONE TURNED OUT TO SEE THE PARADE

EVERYONE TURNED OUT TO SEE THE PARADE

“The Pima Indians are giving a great gift to the world by continuing to volunteer for research studies. Their generosity contributes to better health for all people, and we are all in their debt,” says Dr. Peter Bennett, Chief of the Phoenix Epidemiology and Clinical Research Branch of the National Institute of Arthritis, Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. The Pima Indians’ help is so important to the ability of doctors to understand and treat diabetes, obesity, and kidney disease because of the uniqueness of the community. There are few like it in the world.
PIMAN PATHFINDERS FOR HEALTH…CLICK HERE

MORE PHOTOS FROM SACATON’S MUL-CHA-THA CLICK HERE

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SACATON POWOW & RODEO, FAIR-9796

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DESERT WILDFLOWERS, JUST THE ICING ON THE CAKE FOR HIKERS, PHOTOGRAPHERS AND LOVERS OF THE SOUTH WEST BACK ROADS AND SCENERY…

PICACHO PEAK BLOOMS

PICACHO PEAK BLOOMS

It’s wildflower time in the Desert Southwest, that special time of the year, when desert dwellers watch the Sonoran Desert reveal its golden lining. It can vary from year to year depending on winter rains, but driving north on I-10 toward Picacho Peak, motorists can’t miss the riot of color lining that concrete strip between Tucson and Phoenix. Over the years I have seen bumper blooms at Picacho Peak State Park which have coated the sides of that picturesque peak which yell out to motorist on the freeway, hey you are missing the big show, and in those years many more visitors drive through to see the over whelming bloom. This year, the California Poppy crop, fell short.

PICACHO POPPIES

PICACHO POPPIES

Not a bad showing says the ranger at the front desk, “there are many good carpets which are thick and rich with their golden coverings, but this isn’t one of those every nine year blooms that cover the entire mountain”, just taking your breath away as you stand in their midst. This is the year of the Brittle Bush, which always line the region’s roadways and hillsides, but this year they define the mountain ridges in the Tucson Mountains and line I-10 center median
BEST CROP OF LUPINE IS FOUND ALONG THE PINAL PARKWAY TOWARD FLORENCE

BEST CROP OF LUPINE IS FOUND ALONG THE PINAL PARKWAY TOWARD FLORENCE

for a hundred miles up the road. One Arizona seasonal visitor carefully making his way across the state park’s hiking trail, finds the poppies and lupine “very delightful” but he had hoped for more variety for his camera lens. It’s early in the day, and many of the flowers don’t open their petals until 10-11 am but early hikers are still out in force, an entire boy scout troop lines up in single file to begin their ascent to the top of the peak. Many long lenses grace cameras on tripods, and photographers are working the low light angles trying for intimate compositions of this color blast from the desert. The rangers believe this year’s crop may have started its downside but the Civil War in the Southwest weekend (March 21-22) will probably eclipse all the weekends so far this spring, there a hundred re-enactors will battle out the New Mexico Civil War engagements of the Battle of Valverde and the Battle of Glorietta Pass plus the very quick but decisive fight between Union Troops who ran head-on in to a Confederate Patrol at the pass. As one might expect, shots were fired, a man died but the two groups ran off.
PICACHO PEAK POPPIES

PICACHO PEAK POPPIES

and went their separate ways. Thousands of spectators turn out for the battles and the poppies, and often four-five thousand people attend. To find the best blooms in the Sonoran Desert, locals have come to expect certain places to have the best spring coats. The Pinal Parkway (State Highway 79 or it’s sister highway SR77), splitting off at the Oracle Junction north of Tucson, have long been accepted as a great place to see early blooms of Poppies, Lupine and Brittle bush. Further south but north of Tucson in Oro Valley, Catalina State Park, is a long-time favorite and usually pretty reliable. This year, Catalina State Park and Saguaro National Monument West, both are having a good year and are offering up the variety missed by many visiting Picacho State Park. Both spots require a little hiking and getting off the main road and searching out the color for your camera lens.
OFF RIVER ROAD, SOUTH OF REDINGTON PASS ROAD THIS POPPY CROP YIELD COMES FROM A RECORD FOUR INCH RAIN.

OFF RIVER ROAD, SOUTH OF REDINGTON PASS ROAD THIS POPPY CROP YIELD COMES FROM A FOUR INCH RAIN.

HAPPY POPPIES JUST POPPING UP ALL OVER THE HILLS SURROUNDING THE SAN PEDRO RIVER

HAPPY POPPIES JUST POPPING UP ALL OVER THE HILLS SURROUNDING THE SAN PEDRO RIVER

One lesson learned can be gained by watching the winter rainfalls, and places where record rains fall may also have record blooms. Last December Tucson’s east side had a record four inches in one downpour, filling the washes, streams and rivers running east. Close by this spring, poppies filled the hillsides along the San Pedro River, between San Manuel and Benson, but one spot just south of the Redington Pass, behind Tucson’s Rincon Mountains, took this year’s award for Best of Show. There I found a fine carpet of reddish-yellow poppies and they flowed from one hilltop down the gully and onto the next hillside. It was very beautiful and camera compositions filled my Nikon from every direction….
SAGUARO NATIONAL MONUMENT WEST PICTURE ROCKS PASS

SAGUARO NATIONAL MONUMENT WEST PICTURE ROCKS PASS

In town, flower lovers and photographers can find good blooms at Sabino Canyon, Saguaro National Monument East,
TUCSON'S WEST SIDE BLOOMS

TUCSON’S WEST SIDE BLOOMS

Tohono Ochul Park and the Tucson Botanical Gardens. Recently I drove out Tucson’s Ina Road west through the Tucson Mountains and through the pass toward the community of Picture Rocks. Breaking the summit one immediately recognizes the distinctive Brittle Bush lacing the roadway but at the bottom of the hill, the carpets of poppies, lupine and numerous other varieties bring you to a halt, for my hunt of wildflowers, this one spot perhaps had more variety and flourish than many of the other desert spots I surveyed. March is a time for blooming, running noses, sneezing and anti-allergic medications can be part of the search but it is also Arizona’s windy time. It can really blow passing around
SAGUARO WEST MONUMENT

SAGUARO WEST MONUMENT DISPLAY


the pollen, hoping to spread those seeds, further and wider, to build on future Springs and greater wildflower displays. Soon your nose will really be stuffed up by the Palo Verde blooms which coat the Tucson foothills and back roads, in two separate phases, first comes the brilliant Blue Palo Verde bloom which has a striking yellow coat followed by the second phase of Palo Verde blooms which are duller but last longer. Following this comes the second blast of color from the sunny Southwest, in my travels I found the Hedgehog Cactus was beginning to build it’s bloom and soon that purple blossom will be joined by red, yellow or orange Cholla blooms, massive displays from the yellow Prickly pear flowers and finally the white blossom of the giant Saguaro Cactus which is the distinct symbol of the American South West. Once that bloom has sprung, the desert quiets down until the summer monsoons kicked out those beautiful red Barrel cactus blossoms in August.

SAGUARO NATIONAL MONUMENT WEST

SAGUARO NATIONAL MONUMENT WEST HILLSIDES OF BRITTLE BUSH


VISIT DESERT USA WILDFLOWER HOTLINE: REPORTS OF THE LATEST SIGHTING AND REPORTS…CLICK HERE

BOY SCOUTS TACKLING THE TALL PEAK ENJOYING THE BRITTLE BUSH

BOY SCOUTS TACKLING THE TALL PEAK ENJOYING THE FLOWERS


MORE VARIETY SEEN ALONG THE PINAL PARKWAY THAN ANY OTHER SPOT IN SOUTHERN AZ

MORE VARIETY SEEN ALONG THE PINAL PARKWAY THAN ANY OTHER SPOT IN SOUTHERN AZ

For photos of the Sonoran Desert Wildflowers and Cactus blooms, visit South West Photo Bank Galleries and Blogs….click here

SOUTHWEST WILDFLOWERS…CLICK HERE


SPRING IS BUSTING OUT ALL OVER, CACTUS ARE BLOOMING NOW AND BIRDS ARE NESTING, COLOR ABOUNDS IN ARIZONA’S SONORAN DESERT

For VIDEO of photos from the Civil War in the Southwest, Picacho Peak’s annual celebration and re-enactments of these historic battles….click here

STILL IMAGES FROM THE CIVIL WAR IN THE SOUTH WEST … CLICK HERE

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TUCSON RUGBY: “THE LONGEST 40 MINUTES IN YOUR LIFE-YOU WANT OUT-BUT ARE AFRAID SOMEONE WILL LAUGH AT YOU” RUCKING AND MAULING IS TEAMWORK

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The Tucson Rugby community scrums and drinks together – “when the beer flows, what happens on the field, stays on the field”! After a day of combat on the pitch, ruggers reconvene to No Anchovies and The Frog and Firken, both UA Main gate Bars with outdoor patios right next to each other, there players from each team votes for the “Player of the Match” recognizing those who “really made a difference and played above himself”, those guys get the extra drinks” says Magpie coach John Rouff. The Tucson Rugby adult Community is made of the Magpies, Blackbirds, the Barbarians, Old Pueblo Lyons, and their Women’s Lightning league, and include both the University of Arizona Men and Women clubs and they all carry a grudge on the field but bond together as members of the Arizona Rugby Union off the field.

"YOU REALLY HAVE TO GO AFTER THE BALL-LIKE YOU REALLY WANT IT'

“YOU REALLY HAVE TO GO AFTER THE BALL-LIKE YOU REALLY WANT IT’

Rugby has not always been so peaceful, its history goes back centuries and can be traced back to ancient England. In the 10th Century, great mobs would get involved in games that involved kicking and throwing an inflated pig bladder through town streets and squares. Villages would compete against each other and any means short of murder could be used to get the ball across the goal. In 1823, during a game of school football (soccer) in the town of Rugby, England, a young man named William Webb Ellis picked up the ball and ran towards the opposition’s goal line. In 1871, the Rugby Football Union formed and led to a split in 1895 which resulted in the sport being named the rugby union by some while the others took the name of the rugby league.

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Rugby students took the game, carrying the ball with them
when they graduated and soon rugby clubs were TUCSON RUGBY -8961forming throughout England. The first known club started at Cambridge University in 1839. Matches were played under fairly informal rules. In 1845, three Rugby School students established the first set of written rules. Not all clubs knew these rules or chose to abide by them. It became clear that if they game were to thrive, a central organization was needed, in December 1870-22 rugby clubs met so those rules could be agreed upon and form the Rugby Football Union.

Some believe American football is more dangerous because in football, you hit full-force. In Rugby, contact rules don’t allow tacklers to slam into the ball carriers. Instead, Rugby players use the wrap tackling technique — wrapping their arms around the ball carrier to bring him down. Some folks still believe Rugby is too rough, but ruggers believe if you play smart, you’ll be OK. What makes Rugby really rough is the fact you’re running the entire match. It’s a demanding sport and new players are often surprised because if lack conditioning, you really feel it. Today many prefer rugby over football. They like it without pads because it’s a faster pace with less stopping, rugby has a lot more sportsmanship.

TUCSON RUGBY -8828Macho members of the Tucson blackbirds point out a Rugby half, “is the longest 40 minutes of your life, you want out, but you are afraid someone will laugh at you if you head to the sidelines.” As a game of stamina, rugby developed into a fast-paced physical game that requires tremendous endurance and teamwork, much of the practice is built around strength-building. In Rugby, two teams of 15 players compete in two, 40-minute halves, on a 120 meter field. Play is continuous, unless the referee stops the clock for an injury.

A team can score in four ways: Try-5 points: A try is scored when the ball is carried across the goal line and grounded in view of the referee. Conversion-2 points: A conversion kick follows a try. The kicker attempts to kick the ball between the goalposts. Penalty is 3 points: When a penalty is called, the other team may elect to attempt a penalty kick from the spot of the foul. Drop Goal-3 points: At anytime during a match a player may attempt a drop from anywhere on the field. If the ball goes through the goal posts, the team is awarded three points. Many games have been won by last-second drop goals but often the ball is positioned further from the opponents goal.

TUCSON RUGBY -8957Rugby became a popular sport in the United States in the late 1800s and early 1900s. James Naismith, who created basketball, was a rugby player. Actor Boris Karloff was an exceptional rugby player in Hungary and founded a rugby league in Southern California after he moved to Hollywood. The United States owns two of the four Olympic gold medals ever awarded in Rugby won in 1920 and 1924. When rugby was tossed from the Olympics after 1924, interest in the game diminished. Since the 1960s, interest in the sport has grown and the USA Rugby Football Union was established in 1975. Today, more than 50,000 rugby players belong to the union. The men’s U.S, national team has qualified for four Rugby World Cups. The women’s national team won the first-ever awarded women’s Rugby World Cup in 1991. Today, 97 nations have rugby unions and more than 3.8 million people watched the last Rugby World Cup on television. That’s a lot of people who understand and appreciate the nuances of a scrum and the strategy of a lineout.

Rugby has grown into a global sport played by tens of thousands of players in over 100 countries. The game features national teams that play each other regularly including the Rugby World Cup played every 4 years between the top 20 eligible countries. Rugby is the No 1 winter sport in New Zealand, South Africa, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga and Wales and is a top 3 sport in Australia, England, Ireland, Scotland, France, Italy and Argentina these 10 teams consist of the tier one countries. Rugby has become popular in dozens of countries and particularly in the United States which is now one of eight countries in the second tier of competition.

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The ARIZONA RUGBY UNION consists of the Division One (National Division 2) Men’s Clubs including the Phoenix RFC, Red Mountain Warthogs, Scottsdale Blues and the Tempe Rugby Club The Men’s Division 2 (National Division 3) includes: Camelback, Northern Arizona Landsharks, Old Pueblo Lions and the Tucson Magpies. The Associate Men’s Members include: Phoenix Storm, Prescott Blacksheep, Thunderbird and the Yuma Sidewinders. The Arizona Women’s Clubs include Northern Arizona Timberdoodles, Tempe Women’s Rugby Club, and the Old Pueblo Tucson Lightning College. College Men Clubs include: Arizona State University Men Rugby and the University of Arizona Wildcats. The College Women Clubs include: Arizona State University Women Rugby Club and the University of Arizona Women’s Rugby Team. There are several “Under 19 Clubs” or High School Teams including: Scottsdale Wolves High School, Tempe Rugby Club Youth, the Old Pueblo Lyons, West Vally Misfits and the Red Mountain U-19. Youth Teams include : Scottsdale Wolves Youth – U14/U12/U10/U8, Phoenix U14 Firebirds, North Valley Scorpions and the Laveen Golden Eagles.

TUCSON RUGBY -8963The Tucson Magpies and the Old Pueblo Lyons call Estevan Rugby Pitch home. The field is one of the nicest in the state equipped with stands for fans attending games. Estevan Rugby Pitch is located on the Southwest corner of Speedway Blvd. and Main Ave, and home matches begin at 1:00 pm.


Old Pueblo Lyons RFC
is celebrating its 40 anniversary in 2015 of being an active rugby club in Tucson. Created in 1975, by a group of former University of Arizona ruggers, Old Pueblo has never looked back. Old Pueblo has a tradition of traveling to tournaments and international tours. The Lyons have played on pitches from El Paso to Pasadena, Ireland to New Zealand. Additionally, Lyons have hosted several players from France, Wales, New Zealand, South Africa, Ireland, Scotland, Australia and England. In the mid-nineties, the Old Pueblo included a new group of ruggers. The U.S. Air Force was being deployed overseas and the rugby club at Davis-Monthan AFB was struggling for players, so the two clubs combined to make Old Pueblo a stronger club. Over the years Old Pueblo has been the club for a number of military personnel passing through Tucson. It has been a source of pride that OP can be a temporary home for the military personnel looking for a rugby team. This successful program is credited to Col. Richard “Dick” Battock. Dick was a genuine rugby enthusiast and past President of Old Pueblo. Today, Dick Battock’s spirit lives on in the club.

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Old Pueblo competes at the Division III level of the Arizona Rugby Union. The OP Lyons also develops youth rugby in Tucson, it has supported the Tucson Barbarians Under-19 team. In 2006, Old Pueblo created a women’s squad now called the Old Pueblo Lightning. Old Pueblo Lyons RFC is truly a Rugby Community. The Lyons are always recruiting, and athletes of all abilities are welcome regardless of background, size or skill. Because rugby is a challenging and physically demanding sport, they train and practice twice a week to build fitness, skills, develop game plans. Practices are Mondays and Wednesdays at 8:00-10:00 pm at George Mehl Park, 4001 E. River Rd.

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Old Pueblo Lightning Women’s Rugby unofficially began in 2006 and it was composed mostly of alumni from the University of Arizona Women’s Rugby Club. In 2007, Lightning joined the Southern California Rugby Football Union. In the Spring of 2008 Lightning was the Division II champion, and in 2009 and 2010 Lightning finished second in the division. In the summer of 2012 Lightning joined the Old Pueblo Rugby Club, changing its name to Old Pueblo Lightning Women’s Rugby and changed their team colors from black and yellow to navy blue, sky blue, and yellow. The merge made it the first and only rugby club in Tucson to have a men’s team, women’s team, U19 team and master/old boys’ team.

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The Tucson Barbarian Rugby Football Club is U19 organization that always welcomes new members. Practice takes place Monday and Wednesday evenings from 4pm-6pm at Udall Park- 7200 E Tanque Verde Road in Tucson.

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The Tucson Magpies are celebrating their 35th anniversary this year, founded in 1980 by three standouts from the University of Arizona: Dave Sitton, Rick Rendon and Rich Rectanus. In the Magpies history they have developed a strong tradition of winning, taking titles in the Warren Lee Sevens in 1983 and 1984 and the Kachina Sevens in 1984. Playing in the Arizona Rugby Union, the Magpies have won the league championship in 1989, 2003 and tied in 1988, sharing it with the Tempe Old Devils. 954804_339030259559492_1889501693_nThe Magpies also won the Western Division Michelob Rugby Classic title in 1993. TUCSON RUGBY vert-8845 Known as a hard hitting and aggressive team the Magpies are also known as gentlemen, in 1989, 1992 and 1993 they were recognized for Sportsmanship and awarded the Craig Sweeny Memorial Trophy, awarded to the club that demonstrates outstanding sportsmanship, team spirit and pride in the game of Rugby. Magpies practice at Joaquin Murrieta Park at 1400 North Silverbell in Tucson between 6-8pm Tuesday and Thursday. Their Host Pub is No Anchovies on University located at 870 E. University Blvd. The ‘Pies are always there on Thursday nights after practice.

The Tucson Black Birds
, Magpies Under 19 Team, assistant coach Jeremy Fonoimoana Assistant Coach said it best “I didn’t choose the rugby life; the rugby life chose me. ” 2011 Marks the inaugural year for The Black Birds. Led by head coach Tim Pappas, who believes the Black Birds are certain to be one of the top youth programs in Arizona. The U19 program is a great way to get kids into the game early,he says and assures them future success as a Magpie. “We believe in three ideas and all three stem from the same word, RESPECT: Respect yourself, Respect your teammates and Respect the game of rugby”, says Pappas. “Our players have positive attitudes and are challenged physically and mentally each week. Our goal as a club is to develop competent and well-prepared young rugby players in a Safe, Fun and very Competitive environment.”

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Following the Blackbird’s 22-50 thrashing by Phoenix Desert Vista Club Team a few weeks back Coach Pappas after the game noted “We have huge hearts, we’re going to have games that are going to be nightmares, all we can do is play hard and concentrate on safety. It was a respectable performance, a time to learn-you are younger-but we’re right there, Desert Vista was first in the league, we came here to learn. We need to work on the art of deception and moves. They were moving moving new players in constantly, how do you defeat that! We have good kids, and its like going into combat, if you get hit, you get to learn-immature teams have lots of kids that haven’t played so next year you will be great. No real patsy’s, you are just going to get bigger and stronger.”

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Coach Pappas continued his pep talk online, noting Saturday’s effort. “We lost a little momentum there at the end but the 10 or so fresh players they substituted in-may have contributed to that. I saw improvement in many areas. Our young players tackled extremely well, we took the ball hard into contact and were able to win most of our offensive rucks. Line outs continue to be a strong point! Congratulations to Freshman Zachary Roberts for winning the coaches votes for PLAYER OF THE GAME. Quite an accomplishment considering Captain John Barney turned in his usual outstanding performance. Our goal will always be to win every game and in order to do that we must begin by focusing on the one-on-one battles. Once we are able to win these situations, we can then turn our focus to the bigger picture. Our next game will be Saturday, March 7th against Basis Oro Valley. This game will be for players 8th grade through 10th. There will also be a U-14 contact game and also a youth touch game.”

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Assistant Coach Hans Gregg notes online that the Blackbird’s success is measured one young man at a time, building on the lessons provided by their parents, helping make them be the best person and rugby player possible. Inorder to help thee Blackbirds grow they recently had a chance to work with UA Coach Sean Duffy. It was fun and gave the Blackbirds the opportunity to learn from a successful college coach. Duffy’s message to the under 19 team was clear-commit to learning the fundamentals and it will serve you well in your rugby career at whatever level you pursue. Coach Duffy emphasized you can only learn the fundamentals if you’re attending practice.

DAVE SITTON

DAVE SITTON

The University of Arizona rugby team was coached as a labor of love by Dave Sitton for 35 years, following Coach Sitton’s death in August, the UA hired new head coach Sean Duffy. Sitton was known as “Pops” to his players and he championed the sport as a coach and announcer, influencing the game on a national level. The men’s Division I MVP Award for the 2013 USA Rugby College 7s National Championship has been renamed The Dave Sitton Memorial Trophy. “We will miss his energy and enthusiasm,” USA Rugby Collegiate Director Rich Cortez said in October. “With this award, perhaps we can remember that excellence is an objective worthy of a lifelong quest.”

The University of Arizona Men’s rugby team then named Sean Duffy – assistant head coach at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, and former USA Rugby employee who helped develop the sport’s popularity both in the Eastern U.S. and internationally – as the first paid head coach in the Wildcats’ 45-year history.

Duffy, 26, replaces the late legendary coach Dave Sitton who passed away on August 12, 2013 after thirty five TUCSON RUGBY INJURYONE9171years at the helm of the University of Arizona program. The program currently has 60 players and has turned out numerous collegiate All-Americans, Eagles 15’s, and 7’s representatives. “I’m honored to be appointed to this position and to carry on the legacy of Dave Sitton who helped establish Wildcat Rugby as one of the most successful collegiate rugby programs in the U.S.,” said Duffy.

Heath Bray, former Arizona football player and assistant coach, said after Sitton’s death, “I want everyone to know how much of a loss our friend Dave Sitton is. I have had the pleasure of meeting many people in my life. I have never met a person that I liked more than Dave. I have a deep hole in my heart over his loss. He was one of the smartest, nicest, most sincere, and informed men that I will ever know. He was so supportive of me, and so many of us. We lost one of the greatest wildcats ever today. He is one of the people that I can’t wait to have a beer with in heaven. You are missed bro. Cheers. Another of Sitton’s Rugby players said about him: “He bled red and blue.” Don’t think there’s a simpler way to describe him”.

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TUCSON RUGBY INJURYTWO5891The Arizona Wildcats Rugby Club continues the grudge tradition of battling with ASU Sun Devil Rugby Team earlier in the year the Wildcats took a 38-10 victory this past Fall and last Spring’s season matchup against ASU club team, the Wildcats defeated the Sun Devils 51-38 in the first ever game on William David Sitton Field. The Sun Devils took this year’s matchup winning the Dave Blank Trophy 34-15.

The UA Women’s Rugby Club finished up their regular season play with a 49-24 win over Kennesaw State University, and they will begin play-offs March 29th. This was the last home match for the senior class, and they could not be happier with the way the Ruck Tide played this season: their motto is Get Dirty, Play Rugby…President and 4-year member of the club, Caitlin Reilly stated on Facebook, “Every Sunday when I wake up the sorest that I have even been (since the last Sunday) I ask myself why I keep playing rugby. Then I show up to practice on Monday, tackle my friends and remember. Can’t wait to head to playoffs with you wonderful ladies, and I’m so proud of our team!”

Rugby Union was played in the Olympic Games in 1900, 1908, 1920 and 1924. The United States won the gold medal in rugby against France in both 1920 and 1924 making the United States the only country to hold two gold medals in rugby at this time. In 2009, the International Olympic Committee voted to re-introduce rugby to the 2016 and 2020 Olympic Games but in a sevens rugby four-day tournament format instead of the rugby union 15’s rugby. The next Rugby World Cup will be held in England in 2015. In addition to the Olympics and the Rugby World Cup, other major tournaments are held every year including the Six Nations Championship, The Rugby Championship, Super Rugby, and The Heineken Cup.

Rugby Sevens at the 2016 Summer Olympics is scheduled to be held in August in Rio de Janeiro. The competition will take two days. The 2016 Summer Olympics is the first time rugby sevens will be played at the Olympics, though rugby union was last played at the 1924 Summer Olympics. Rugby sevens, also known as seven-a-side, is a variant of rugby union in which teams are made up of seven players, instead of the usual 15, with shorter matches. TUCSON RUGBY kid-9065 The game is popular at all levels, with amateur and club tournaments generally held in the summer months. Sevens is one of the most well distributed forms of rugby, and is popular in parts of Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas, and especially in the South Pacific

Since its beginning, rugby has developed into one of the world’s most popular sports, with millions of people playing, watching and enjoying the game. It is enjoyed by men and women of all ages from young children in youth programs to masters (over-35) rugby leagues. Rugby is also played at a variety of levels from amateur to competitive collegiate and professional levels. At the heart of the sport is a unique ethos which it has retained over the years. Not only is rugby played to the letter of the laws established by World Rugby, but within the spirit of the laws. Among all fans, players, referees and coaches, you will find a common bond of dedication and passion for the sport that unites them all. From the school playground to the Rugby World Cup final, Rugby Union offers a truly unique and thoroughly rewarding experience for everyone that is involved in the game.

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In Arizona, within the Arizona Rugby Union, there are now 16 Men’s Clubs in the State that play each season for a state championship trophy and can progress to regional then to a national club championship competition. The Devil’s Rugby Cup is one premier rugby 15’s tournament that is held the first weekend in December each year in Tempe. The event attracts some of the most competitive sr. men’s, sr. women’s, collegiate (men’s/women’s), and youth (HS boys/girls) clubs from around the nation and offers an exceptional social program for the rugby fans! FUTURE DATES: December 5–6, 2015 and December 3–4, 2016.

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The Tempe Sizzling 7’s Rugby Invitational and National Qualifier is a premier rugby 7’s tournament that is held in June, annually. The Sizzling 7’s Invitational also attracts senior men, senior women, collegiate men and women, and youth (HS boys/girls) programs from around the nation. The Southern California Rugby Football Union (SCRFU) has also designated the Sizzling 7′s as one of four qualifying events and Sizzling 7’s is hosted by the Tempe Rugby Club and sponsored by the Desert Southwest Athletic Club.

The Tucson Rugby Cup is scheduled for March 28th and will feature a long-lived grudge match between the Tucson Magpies and the Old Pueblo Rugby Teams and will conclude with a Senior contest. Rugby words to live by; “that flanker will be in the World Cup in four years and if you are playing your very best and you get your ass kicked-you’re getting your ass kicked by the very best!”

Magpie Coach John Rouff is trying to gather a club team to tour Wales this year and if you are interested call him.

MORE RUGBY PHOTOS VISIT SOUTHWEST PHOTOBANK RUGBY GALLERY….CLICK HERE

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