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  • Mandy Nurrenbern

Maggotfest, full of Maggots, flies, and a Xigubo dancer

About 10 years ago, I went to the rugby tournament in Missoula, MT known as Maggotfest. I didn't have a team, I didn't know ANYBODY there. I found an e-mail of an alum of the women's team of Missoula, the Betterside. I e-mailed her (Kelly), she picked me up somewhere in Missoula, hung out in what we call the Bacon Basement, played some rugby, socialed my heart out with these ladies, and made amazing new friends.

Getting back to Maggotfest has always been the hard part. 2010 I actually lived in Montana. After that, I was just all over the place, Mozambique in Peace Corps, San Diego scooting around on my scooter, Alaska for a summer, back to Mozambique...

In 2017, I made the choice to just do it. I was back in the USA, so what's my excuse to not just fly up there and join this amazing rugby tournament again? I got ahold of Kelly and the rest of the ladies. Tami and Cindy picked me up at the airport, handed me maggot earrings right away, and it was like I never missed a Maggotfest.

Maggotfest will now be a part of my every year trip now. It's a great place to meet more like-minded people. Rugby is this amazing thing that, yes, we love to play rugby, yes, we love to drink... a lot, but yes, we love to reach out our hands and be a family, help each other out, help the community we are in, help grow the game of rugby.

Last year, I met some great people. Geoff, who connected me with Microsoft and donated a good amount to help ADEDAR live on! Holly, who is the loudest, most positive person ever, constant smile on the face, and used her ability to raise funds here and there at the tournament. John, who is now on my board and helps out with many ideas and constantly finds donations to help out ADEDAR throughout the year.

This year, Holly was my 'saleswoman' helping me get donations for the pants I made. Pablo from New Mexico, was a constant positive supporter, reminding me to take photos to show what rugby really is and then went out of his way to make sure ADEDAR got a rugby ball. Jenny is making connections with someone who might be able to financially support ADEDAR through the year.

It wasn't all about rugby the whole weekend either. Rugby really showed it's character in Missoula that weekend. Last year, Montana had some awful fires, leading to awful floods this year, affecting those in Missoula. Without even second-guessing what we were doing, we as a rugby community went to help fill up sand bags for a day. Well over 1000 sandbags were filled by players from all over the country.

In the end, who also doesn't love to play in fields of soft grass, mountains lingering in the background, chance to play in costumes, and free beer throughout the day? See you next year Maggotfest. Hope I can bring someone from Mozambique to experience all this!

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