MISSOULA – Rain or shine, the 43rd annual Maggotfest begins as planned.
And the rain can make things a little more interesting and fun. After Missoula essentially drowned on Friday with a day full of downpours, Saturday can see more of the same.
But it's a Montana spring, and the weather is 24/7.
But back to Maggotfest. The annual raucous rugby bonanza takes place Saturday and Sunday with 46 teams scheduled to compete. Hosted by the Missoula All-Maggots Rugby Club, each team will play three games in the tournament. Teams will play two games on Saturday and one on Sunday in Fort Missoula Regional Park. The tournament has eight fields created for it.
"We look forward to some good quality rugby and many old friends meet again and make many new friends too," said Maggotfest fixture chairman John Oetinger. "That's what rugby is all about.
"It has become a reputation over the years to be a great place to visit for the quality of rugby and the tournament. And as we all know, Missoula is a great place to live and visit so people enjoy coming here."
Oetinger said some of the farthest teams coming to the tournament are from New York and Arizona, as well as Saskatoon and Vancouver, Canada and Australia.
Oetinger added that Maggotfest is one of very few major rugby tournaments still in the US.
Teams are matched with similar opportunities for each match of men, women and old boys divisions. A trophy is awarded to best games on the pitch as a prize called the most honorable side given to the team that "most epitomizes the rugby spirit."
The event is open to the public and access is free. Beer is available at the tournament for those who are 21 and over. The Saturday night party at Missoula Fairgrounds is also open to the public with a $ 10 entry fee for non-players and another $ 10 for a cup. It starts at 8 am
All-Maggots play at 12:20 pm and 2:40 p.m. on Saturday. Playtime for Sunday has not been set yet. Games will run from 10am to 5pm on Saturday and at 10am. 10:30 to 10:00 on Sunday.