The Aspen Ruggerfest Committee is awarding the winners of the Men’s Open Division and the Masters competition $5000 each at the 48th annual tournament.
At the award ceremony immediately after the finals on Sunday, checks for $5000 will be given to the winner of each of those divisions. The prize money is being added to the tournament this year for the first time ever. The checks will be written out to clubs or teams names or to a charity of their choice but not to individuals. Select-side teams do qualify.
The purpose of the purse is to encourage teams from North America and overseas to travel to Aspen to compete in the tournament. The professional world of modern rugby is focused on league play, the rugby festival as an experience is being missed by many.
An important part of the rugby culture has always been the tour and the tournament. Since the professional model was introduced after the South African World Cup in 1995, professional leagues have precluded many players from playing in tournaments.
Even in North America where players in league play are typically not paid, the demand and expense of travel for league competition has made many clubs pass on non-league tournaments.
The prize money will help teams with their expenses, either related to their league competition or associated with traveling to Aspen Ruggerfest.
The awards are not meant to signal the capitulation of the tournament to the professional model. Aspen Ruggerfest is committed to attracting the best teams and most passionate rugby players to compete for the love of the game and not for money.
For more information please go to http://www.aspen-ruggerfest.