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At the 37th annual Aspen Ruggerfest in 2004, the tournament added a new event, an Over-50 Division, pushing the age limit five-years higher than the previous Over-45 Division, which had once superseded an Over-35 Division. The desire never to hang up the boots must have brought delight to the 50 plus set who would now play against age appropriate opponents.
For many, the history of adding on teams for aging ruggers begins with the start of the Over Thirties founded in the mid-1960s by Manhattan RFC’s Cecil “Jacko” Jackson and the New York RFC’s John Tait. The team welcomed all New York area Metropolitan players, making occasional tours to Bermuda, and encouraging other eastern clubs to develop Old Boys sides.
As senior events started to proliferate around the globe - with special colored shorts to determine player’s age - Jackson originated a new, Over-40 club called The Gentlemen of New York that played in some memorable tournaments abroad.
In its 37th edition, the Aspen organizers invited two Over-50 sides, the Florida Old Boys and the Colorado Ol’ Pokes, to compete for the first title. The teams played twice with Colorado winning 7-5 to take home the trophy. The reporting in Rugby Magazine indicated the games represented the largest player array in North America of legal knee braces and other orthotic devices.
In other senior divisions that year, Missouri defeated Minneapolis 13-0 in the Over-45 Division, and the KC Blues beat the Gentleman of Aspen 13-6 in the Over-35 Division, which welcomed 14 teams. (See picture for the Over 35 final.)