By Maria Wyllie Explorebigsky.com Associate Editor

BIG SKY – Big Sky will hold its first ever rugby tournament on Saturday, June 29. Hosted by the Bozeman Cutthroats, teams of seven will play in what is called the “Summer 7’s” before a party at the Broken Spoke later that evening.

Ben Johnson, who has lived in Big Sky for two winters and played rugby throughout his college career at the University of Montana and then with the Missoula Maggots, is partly responsible for bringing the tournament here.

Johnson has been working with the Cutthroats in an attempt to generate interest among Big Sky locals in forming a Big Sky rugby club. His vision is to find enough people to play in the “7’s” this summer and then in “15’s” this fall. Traditionally, Union Rugby is played with 15 players per team, and with this in mind, Johnson’s long-term goal is joining the Montana Rugby Union.

The MRU is an independent union of nine men’s rugby teams located throughout Montana, Washington and Idaho.

“The social aspect of rugby, especially in Montana, is really important,” Johnson said. “This tournament being here will hopefully be the Big Sky Rugby Club’s first chance to play,” Johnson said.

No experience in football is needed, as Johnson says they are very different sports.

“Success is tied to how well conditioned you are to move around the field as opposed to how well you can tackle,” Johnson said, adding that aggression is still a big part of the game.

Both men and women are welcome to attend the weekly Tuesday and Thursday practices at the Big Sky Community Park field from 6-8 p.m.

For more information, visit the Big Sky Rugby Club Facebook page, or contact Ben Johnson at benjamin.jay.johnson@gmail.com or (406) 207-2964. Men, women and high school players are all welcome.