The John Brown University Rugby Club qualified for Nationals to be held in Los Angeles in April.
Because the rugby team is a club rather than a University sports team, it is student led and almost entirely funded by the efforts of the players themselves, along with the assistance of club sponsor Brock Erdman.
This year, the week of Valentine’s Day, the rugby team put on the second annual Rent-a-Rugger fundraiser event. Posters on campus advertising the event read, “It may be a hooligan’s game, but it’s played by gentlemen”.
In a silent auction format, females on campus placed their bids at tables in Walker, signing ID numbers and their highest offer for players up until Thursday night at 10 p.m. The highest bids got to accompany players to the rugby semiformal banquet Saturday evening.
Team members prepared the spaghetti dinner that was served at Community Christian Fellowship Church. Afterwards, the group headed to downtown Siloam Springs’ new Joy of Motion Dance Studio, where they were joined by other students from the University and learned to swing dance.
The previous Tuesday, the team hosted a speed dating event from 6-8 p.m. in the Dye Conference Lounge where female students could pay $2 for brief conversation time with each of the players before bidding on them for Rent-A-Rugger.
“It was a great experience, just to get outside of my comfort zone and rent someone I didn’t know,” said sophomore Gabi Satola. “It [the banquet] was fun because we got to interact with others we normally wouldn’t have otherwise.”
Satola attended the event with a few of her friends on the suggestion of her mom, who said it would be a funny, memorable experience.
Long tables were set up with snacks and discussion topic questions while the Rugby men sat with their respective nametags. Every two minutes, a bell chimed and girls would rotate seats around the room for time with each of the players. About 40 girls attended.
“Rent-a-Rugger was a great success and it was wonderful seeing the community support us!” said senior Tyler Kinzer. “Everyone had an awesome time and we are thankful for the love everyone has shown us.”
Kinzer has been involved with the rugby team since his freshman year.
Between the speed dating event and the Rent-a-Rugger bids, the rugby team raised over $500, which will go towards their trip to Nationals. A few more fundraisers and sponsorships are being organized in the meantime.
Through various efforts, such as selling a variety of t-shirts in Walker Student Center, the team has been working to raise funds to offset the inevitable costs of game travel expenses and new uniforms.
Their next game is on Saturday at 11 am at home for family weekend.