Overview & History
Rugby has an extraordinarily long and rich history in Wyoming, with a tradition of quite success driven by grassroots efforts. Rugby is dominated worldwide by countries with relatively small populations that are dedicated to the game. Wyoming has built a organization that could position it similarly in the growing US rugby landscape. Wyoming’s rugby community is already notable in terms of its national presence and impact given the very small population in Wyoming.
The acceptance in august 2015 of Wyoming Rugby Organization to USA Rugby’s state-wide rugby organizations, made Wyoming the 44th state-rugby organization. The WRO was granted 501(c)3 non-profit in January 2016. WRO changed its name from Wyoming Rugby Foundation and established Wyoming Corporation status in March 2016.
Wyoming rugby is joining the efforts of USA rugby in building a foundation for the game of rugby across America. Our plan will encourage thousands of Wyomingites across the Cowboy state to ‘pick up a rugby ball, run with it’ and ruck over it’. Wyoming youth and adults will not only create a new image for the state and sport, but create future national team players and Olympians.
Furthermore, the WRO is comprised of working or Standing Committees, which in consultation with the Executive Director, do the majority of the work of the organization and provide direction and guidance to the Board of Directors on their respective areas. The committees include, Boys & Girls High School, Junior youth, Men & Women clubs, Referee, Safety, and Members. The Committees meet (or Skype conference) regularly and establish their programs with their given budget and Master Schedule parameter.
The University of Wyoming men’s team was established in 1972 and has regularly punched above its weight, competing with much larger schools for national dominance repeatedly over the past twenty years. It has built a passionate, alumni base that supports the team financially and with volunteer time. The alumni group convenes each year at a July tournament in Steamboat Springs and in Laramie during Homecoming. Notable successes to date include:
• 1 national championship runner up
• 3 national Final 4 teams
• 8 national sweet 16 teams
• Ranked #21 among D1A teams in the US in 2015
The University of Wyoming women’s team has likewise achieved surprising success, fielding a team since the early 1990s and producing the following notable milestones:
• 1 national final 8 team
• 1 national sweet 16 team
• Various Collegiate All American players and national team players
The Moose Rugby Club in Jackson Hole is the longest standing club team in the state, putting forward a men’s team continuously since 1990. Other men’s club teams in Gillette, Casper, Cheyenne, Lander, Riverton, and Laramie have operated occasionally. Recently, those men’s clubs have established the Wyoming Cup tournament held each summer.
Players from all of these organizations regularly continue their rugby careers, with some reaching top regional club teams and US national teams.
Recently, rugby as a sport has begun to reach high schools in Wyoming, with development efforts underway in Gillette, Casper and Jackson Hole, among others.