12th Annual Rocky Mountain Challenge Prep Rugby Tournament

The email discussion below was begun by David Buckingham regarding the Deep South Union sending a team to:

 Twelfth Annual Rocky Mountain Challenge
*“America’s Premier Prep Rugby Tournament”*
Aurora Sport Park, Colorado  *june 16-19, 2012*

 The tournament is the premier Under-17 & Under-19 rugby tournament. The tournament is sponsored by the Eastern Rockies Rugby Football Union (ERRFU), and is the Twelfth Annual Tournament.
 The Rocky Mountain Challenge attracts *regional all-star rugby* teams from
 throughout the United States. Last year’s Challenge included teams from Florida, Southern California, Northern California, Texas, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Nebraska, Heart of America (Kansas City area), and Colorado
 “For the twelfth year, we are honored to host the Premier Prep Rugby Tournament in America,” said Tournament Director, Jeff Calhoun. “Rugby is the fastest growing youth sport in America, and will be a new sport in
 the 2016 Olympics in Rio.  The Rocky Mountain Challenge is a great
 showcase for teams and players from all parts of the US.  The players that you will
  over the course of the tournament weekend are the future USA Eagles
 Rugby  Team, and could qualify for the 2016 US Olympic Rugby Team.
 “In fact, James Patterson & Todd Cleaver, two members of the US
National Rugby Team and 2011 World Cup players, starred in past RMC’s,”   said  Calhoun.

  The Tournament has two competitive divisions.  One division teams
 players under the age of 17 and the second division teams players under the age of under the age of 19. 
 Last year, the teams from Northern California won both the Under-19 and Under-17 Tournament Championships. 

 The Rocky Mountain Challenge is one of five Regional Tournaments and is a key part of the process that will ultimately lead to consideration for the  National USA U-20/U-18 selection pool for international team play in 2011. The
regional All Star teams are comprised of the top young players competing for an opportunity to be chosen for a place in USA Rugby’s Elite High Performance Development System.
 The Challenge could feature the next “Jeremy Lin” of youth rugby.
 The weekend event will feature over 30 matches between the participating teams, with preliminary rounds on Saturday June 18, and the semifinals and championship games played on Sunday, June 19.  A banquet, honoring all
 players, will be held at the RMC’s Official Hotel, the Crown Plaza
Hotel. .

 On Wed, Mar 21, 2012 at 9:41 AM, David Buckingham wrote :
Coaches and others,

I think we need to decide on leadership for either the trip as a whole or separate U17 and U19 leadership as soon as possible. The coaching and administrative duties are significant but I think there’s a general consensus that we want to make this happen again.  I would recommend that maybe for the next week or two Gary could take volunteers and or nominations for either one or two people who will be in charge of the whole trip.  This person or two wouldn’t have to do everything obviously but they would pick/recruit the coaching staff and admin support in order to organize both teams and make it all happen. We need to be organized BEFORE  the HS State Championship because if the players aren’t involved or aware by then it will be hard to get them back.If you’re not interested in being involved or just hearing about the planning process just send me buckdr3@gmail.com an e-mail and I will  take you off this distribution list that will be used for the trip.  Anyone can be added as well.

Side note:  Niceville and MS Rugby both have good players but as you know both teams are undesirable because of the distance for practices, etc.  IF you think your going to be short players you should consider checking out the guys at the Playoffs on April 21st?!   Just a thought…. Lori Sutherland  MS Rugby Club

 — On Wed, 4/4/12, Tim Falcon  wrote:

From: Tim Falcon Subject: RE: 12th Annual Rocky Mountain Challenge Prep Rugby Tournament
To: “Saade Bou-Mikael”  mccormick, giepert,  buckdr, cadoe,  “Adam Ducoing” , bill goodelllaw, hill, japgenthon, “cibreit”, “rfitzgerald’,  bobscully, sparrill, john-gopurplemonkey, kevinkern,  fontenelle, diannemarkel, johnleitz , “Coach Scott”, spud, Jarrett Falcon, farnet, rugbybuzz, oakrafter, docfrisbee, jerrymalina, missicameron, “deepsouthrugby@hotmail.com” , samfnet, wsrugby, cgothreaux, dgcuccia, cpdube, vendettoj, carlopedalino, bwmcintyre, selu.edu
Date: Wednesday, April 4, 2012, 8:04 AM

Maybe the way to go is have an open try out. See how many players want/can go, then we can select the best 23-25 per team. Part of the problem in the past is getting enough players. If we put it out as a selection process then we can achieve Saade’s goals. Coach tim

 From: Saade Bou-Mikael  Sent: Tuesday, April 03, 2012 10:36 PM
 I am in to coach for the summer, and may be able to go for the trip.
Also, just as a suggestion, just from my experiences at LSU… rather than pitch it as “anyone can go”, i think if we would like to bring in the elite players of every team, that we make it exclusive, or at least seem that way. Go to the 5 or 6 players (or however many you think are capable) on your team and tell them you want them to make the trip, and that we see them as having the best chances of making the baby eagle camps.
When I first played on the team, I really only came because i was selected on the “all star” team of the tournament… had I not made that team or thought we weren’t selected to represent new orleans by the coaches as the best players from our league, I probably would not have gone.
I will be happy to ask adam, eric, cullen, and other guys who made the eagle camps go to one of each practice and pitch this thing to the best players of each team, who the coaches have picked, and talk about their experience and that having the best players from each team is what made it fun and gave them the best chances of being noticed… In my mind it’s the best chance of making these kids feel special and selected, and more motivated to do this.
Anyways, regardless of how we handle it, I will be up for assisting wherever i can, coaching wise.

Date: Tue, 3 Apr 2012 18:06:35 -0500
From: tjfmccormick
Gary has suggested these exact same guidelines/deadlines every year for as long as I can remember, and it seems like each year we make things considerably harder on ourselves by not following them. It will be especially crucial this year with so many teams to have everything organized and on paper as soon as possible. 

 The key is to get the information to the parents as soon as possible. You will get nowhere by giving the information to the kids and expecting them to get themselves (and their checks, more importantly) where they need to be. Parents want to know 1) where my son is going; 2) when he’s going; 3) who is going to be responsible for him; 4) how much is it going to cost me? 

On Tue, Apr 3, 2012 at 8:41 AM, <giepert@cox.net> wrote:

All coaches should be promoting this with their teams.  We need practice days, times and locations set now for practices  starting the week of April 23rd.  I would suggest practice once or at most twice a week to start.  We need a blast e-mail to send to Coaches with all of the information, date of trip, cost of trip, deposit needed, check payable to, etc.  Coaches could then take this e-mail and blast it to their players.  We also need a flyer with info to hand out at State.   I would suggest a $100 deposit due by May 1st with $50 returned if the player is not selected.  The player will receive  $50 of gear- shorts, socks, T-shirts.  What about jerseys?  Do we have two sets of exile jerseys?  Do we want to buy team sets, (preferable) or do we want each kid to buy their own?  If we do not have 22 committed for either team by May 15th, I say we then pull the plug.  Anyone interested we need to meet soon.  Any suggestions?


—- David Buckingham wrote:
 *Welcome Saade and Fitz to this e-mail list.  Everyone receiving this
 e-mail should also get an invite in a new google group.  This should help
 manage some of the sharing and let people choose whether they want to keep
 getting occasional e-mails on the topic.*

 To date I haven’t heard much response, chat, or buzz about the LA Exiles
 and the Colorado Tournament.  If you’re working on it secretly let us know
 so we can start collaborating.  If that’s not the case then I guess I will
 volunteer to put together some of the initial items needed to get this going.
 *My goal this week is to brainstorm with people in the know and create a
 list of what needs to be done and when*.  Then we can set up some smaller
 committees or meetings and really attack some of the to dos associated with
 this great opportunity for our young men.
 Please give me a call or e-mail me with comments and suggestions.  I’ll try
 and have some materials ready to go by the end of the week.

 *In your practices leading up to the state tournament please start the buzz
 with you guys.*  The basic blurb is EVERYONE can participate in the
 practices and we won’t make cuts until we have too many participants.  The
> tournament is June 15th-17th in Colorado.  Historically the trip has cost
> around $400.   We will need coaches and parents to travel with the two
> teams.  Practices will start after the state tournament and go through the
 week of the tournament. Thanks,Buck

 On Wed, Mar 21, 2012 at 10:19 AM, Trip McCormick  wrote:
 Excellent points all. I would love to be involved again, but won’t be able
 to this year. Buck’s most important point is that the trip AND THE DETAILS
 (costs, itinerary, etc.) need to be advertised as early as possible. Last
 year, we had a different plan in place for the U19/U17 program, and at the
 last minute we switched gears to try and take them back to Denver. It
 didn’t work.
 You have to get the parents on board, then it gets much easier much
 faster. If you rely on word of mouth from players, it will not work. That
 worked when we had one team, and 90% of that team came from three high
 schools and LSU, and 75% of that team were close friends who had known each other since grammar school.
 I nominate Buck as Manager, Program Director and Head of Coaching and Personnel.

 On Wed, Mar 21, 2012 at 9:20 AM, giepert wrote:

 Subject: Attention All Teams- Announcing the 12th Annual Rocky Mountain
Challenge Prep Rugby Tournament
From: Colorado Rugby <colorado.rugby@gmail.com>

The release below has been mailed to all National Rugby and Colorado media outlets.

 If you have any questions, please respond to this email, or Jeff Calhoun at  gscalhoun49@aol.com .
 For more information, visit http://www.rmu19c.com/

  Another contact is colorado.rugby@gmail.com

As he second oldest on this email, except for Markel the trilobite, if I can be allowed add something to the excellent points Saade and Tripp make.  Consider:

When I first started coaching high school at ESA we had a hooker Stephen Killingsworth, virtually unknown to the coaches and selectors, who did not make any all star list  but who drove to New Orleans from Laffy several times  to make practices, made the trip to Denver, and ended up starting. Because he was the best hooker there. So those who are seen as the best based upon historic performance, certainly acknowledge that. You know they are good. BUT, if there are others willing to practice and make the trip let them go and give them a shot if the opportunity presents itself……… you never know who will step up. 
Hell, when I was at LSU Mini Mumbles was still in high school, we went to the second  Battleship tournament (1978) and out of need had to start him at hooker. He scored the try that put LSU in the finals which we won with him  hooking against a men’s club side from Orlando I think. You never know guys. 
BTW The  team Killingsworth played on was the first time LA  won that tournament as I recall. 

On Apr 4, 2012, at 8:36 AM, Trip McCormick wrote:

I would respectfully disagree with Saade’s recommendation as tagging the whole team(s) as “invite-only”. We have tried this in the past, and when everybody who receives an invite doesn’t show up, we end up scrambling for extra players, which is embarrassing and inefficient. This had a residual effect going forward–even after we abandoned the “invitation” model, we continued to have good players not show up because “nobody invited me”. To be fair, I was the main proponent of making the process look as exclusive and competitive as possible–I believed that this was the best way to attract the best players. The theory still seems to make sense, but it just hasn’t worked out that way in the past. 

My humble recommendation: do what we did during our most successful years with the Exiles. Choose a 1st and 2nd All-State Team following the state tourney, and emphasize that everyone on either of those two lists should consider themselves prime candidates for the Colorado trip. Then bill the first two weeks of practice as a sort of open tryout. 
The bottom line is that I don’t ever remember having to turn a player away from this trip. One year we had to take two or three guys aside and explain that they could go, but they shouldn’t/couldn’t expect much playing time–as it turned out, we had several injuries and I think they all got on the field. On the contrary, every year but one or two has seen us scrambling to boost numbers within the last two weeks before the trip. 
I strongly recommend that you cast as wide a net as possible, then trim down if you have to. 

On Wed, Apr 4, 2012 at 8:04 AM, Tim Falcon  wrote:

Maybe the way to go is have an open try out. See how many players want/can go, then we can select the best 23-25 per team. Part of the problem in the past is getting enough players. If we put it out as a selection process then we can achieve Saade’s goals. Coach tim  

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