Wyoming Plays United 2018 Campaign

September 20, 2018 WRO

Our focus is on using rugby to catalyze inter community ties and opportunities for youth, including at risk populations. We are working to raise $50,000 to build & support youth rugby, pay for coaches & supporting staff, train referees, and support the overhead for the Wyoming Rugby Organization.  

cheyenne youth rugby club


Wyoming Rugby Organization is building community fabric across Wyoming. Our focus is on using rugby to catalyze inter-community ties and opportunities for youth, including at-risk populations. Rugby has been used extensively in other locations to accomplish these goals. WRO has demonstrated that it can be used in Wyoming as well. The organization is seeking donor, volunteer and player support so that it can expand execution of its mission and reach sustainable and profitable operations on non-donor revenue streams.

Mission & Impact

The sport of rugby has built a worldwide community of players and enthusiasts that is inclusive, body-positive, and character-driven. That community exists in Wyoming, with strong decades-old adult and college rugby traditions in Jackson Hole and at the University of Wyoming.

Wyoming Rugby Organization (WRO) is building on that community by extending it to youth, including at-risk youth, around the state. WRO aims to increase social fabric between communities and increase participation in that fabric by youth in order to improve quality of life, increase success pathways, and reduce negative outcomes for Wyoming citizens.

This strategy has been successful in other locations. For example, the US Rugby Foundation and Play Rugby USA regularly uses a similar strategy to build community and reduce risk factors for inner city at-risk youth. Examples of their successes can be found at http://playrugbyusa.com/why-rugby/outcomes/. US Rugby Foundation includes a board member, John Jelaco, who is a Wyoming native. WRO is in close contact with USRF in order to insure our programs are deployed in a best practices manner.

Player and Parents Testimonials

Teresa Thompson Statton and Gabe Thompson (son) The WRO wowed me when my son played in their summer program in Laramie last season. He was 8 at the time and beginner. He loves sports and we have tried almost every sport offered in town. Hands down, this group is one of the most dedicated, passionate, and organized in Laramie. Practices were 60-90 minutes and I remember thinking that would be a mess with 6-8-year-old…WRO proved my wrong. I was amazed at the staff to player ratio and the fast paced learning environment that jumped from drill to drill while holding the attention of the kids. I recommend this organization to any athlete interested in a superb sports experience. You will not be disappointed!
-Teresa Thompson-Statton

Ben and Lily Marks (Daughter)
Ben “I’m impressed at how well-run and well-equipped the program is. Having actual rugby players and fans coaching the kids lends authenticity to Rookie Rugby, and their genuine love for the sport shows in how they nurture the next generation of rugby fans and players.”
-Ben Marks

Lily “I like it. I learned teamwork, rugby skills, and I made some new friends. My favorite thing about Rookie Rugby are the games.”
-Lily Marks


WRO was founded in 2016. In the last 18 months, the company has made significant progress in developing, refining and demonstrating its mission. Key highlights include:

• WRO has been designated a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation.
• WRO has been sanctioned by USA Rugby, the parent rugby organization for rugby in America, as the umbrella organization for all rugby in Wyoming.
• WRO has won start-up funding from USA Rugby and Blue Sky Group of Laramie, amounting to $70,000 through 2017.
• The initial board of directors includes Rich Cortez, Wyoming native, decorated rugby coach and USA Rugby’s director of collegiate rugby, and John Pope, UW alum, rugby player, coach and Inc 500 entrepreneur.
• WRO’s executive director is Bobby Watkins, an inner-city Chicago native and UW alum who was a walk-on football player at University of Wyoming who took up rugby and became an All American.
• Sustainable revenue streams, including youth camp registrations, coaching and referee clinic registrations, tournaments and events, and branded WRO and club rugby merchandise, have been demonstrated and are active.
•WRO actively travels to K-12 physical education classrooms around Wyoming to introduce, teach and promote rugby. Wyoming’s youth have a fun, safe and exciting rugby experience.
• WRO has established and keeps active the “307” traveling adult side of players from all clubs across Wyoming, enhancing the rugby community and building grassroots support for youth rugby programs.
• WRO has assumed organization of the Wyoming Rugby Cup in June in Lander – the foundation for a state-wide event that includes youth, college and adult participants.
• WRO has conducted a range of youth rugby camps and events, including three initial camps involving 30 youth on the Wind River Native American Reservation and has members that are actively involved in supporting youth and adult populations on the reservation. Specific statistics are:

Location Registered youth Supporting volunteers
Cheyenne (city camp)                                         94 David Finnoff
Ft. Washakie (city camp)                                    20 Naomi Harris
Laramie (city camp)                                            52 Chris Mellore
Sheridan (city camps)                                         60 Chris Crow
Laramie (Spring Creek Elementary)                  120 Bobby Watkins
Cheyenne (Sunrise Elementary)                        70 Bobby Watkins
Riverton (city camp)                                           18 Jason Kintzler
Riverton (high school rugby)                              12 Stephen Smith
Douglas (city camp)                                           22 Dax McCarty
                                                        Total youth 468

Vision & Plan

Over the next three years, the organization expects to achieve the following major milestones:

•Expansion of the organization to provide regular local and state-wide camps and leagues across Wyoming, with associated community-building events.

•Profitable operations based on sustainable(non-donor) revenue streams.

•Well-established academic and athletic development pathways for all youth participants in the state, including at-risk populations.

The company’s plan is clear and under execution. The phases are:
Phase 1: Start-up and prove the business model (completed) Phase 2: Expand execution of the mission (underway; 2018 and 2019) Phase 3: Reach profitable operations on non-donor revenues (targeted for 2020)

Wyoming Rugby goes from startup to financial profitability within 3 years

1.Summer and Winter camps/leagues
Summer 2017 – Four youth camps
Summer/Winter 2018 – 12 youth camps
Summer/Winter 2020 – 17 youth camps

2.Wyoming Rugby Shop
307 Rugby Club – Wyoming traveling side
Increased sponsors and advertisements year-by-year
Wyoming Rugby tournaments

3.Introductory rugby sessions
Coaching clinics 
Referee clinics

Call to Action

In order to execute Phase 2, WRO needs to broaden its donor base. In order to do so, WRO has launched a fundraising campaign with a target of $50,000. The following donation levels exist:
Coach $20,000 Blue Sky Group (committed)

Gold $10,000

Silver $5,000 open (2)

Bronze $1,000 open (5)

Player $500 open (20)

In addition, WRO is seeking support and participation from advertisers, volunteers (board members, coaches, referees and staff), merchandise purchasers, and players.


Convenient Ways To Help Wyoming Rugby

Cash or Check – payable to Wyoming Rugby Organization:
1525 Industry Dr.
Laramie, WY

Payroll Deduction – available at your place of employment

Credit Card – payment online at www.wyomingrugby.com/donate

Wyoming Rugby Organization

Contact Information
Bobby Watkins – Executive Director | 307-399-4687 bwatkins@wyomingrugby.com


About WRO
Wyoming Rugby Organization (WRO) is a 501c3 nonprofit organization. WRO is sanctioned to develop and grow the sport of rugby for all youth, high school, college, and clubs in Wyoming. The organization’s focus is on development, safety, sportsmanship and the strengthening of Wyoming rugby players character by introducing the core values of rugby into a team sports experience that will endure for a lifetime.