May 5 Rugby festival marks 25th anniversary on Catalina

The annual Catalina Rugby Festival is an “Old Boys” event for players 40 years old and older, as seen in this picture from a past Festival. Courtesy photos

The 25th annual Catalina Island Rugby Festival will be held Saturday, May 5, at Joe Machado Field.

The festival is an all-day masters 40 and over “Old Boys” rugby event starting at approximately 8 a.m. This is a 12-team event where all teams are guaranteed third place. This is meant to be a social occasion. Some of the highlights include Noland and Veronica Day being married next to the field at the end of the days matches. Veronica had a train of rugby jerseys to walk on. Noland and Veronica were a couple in the third-and fourth-grade and reunited after 40 years.

The event will also include the USMC Old Boys team and the presentation of a American flag flown over Camp Ripper in Afghanistan. Teams from as far as Australia and Canada have attended in the past. This year the vent will feature the Tight Five Rugby Old Boys from Washington, D.C. Also check out the Ancient Aztecs from San Diego. Each year they do a tour shirt. At noonish a match will be played for Ruggers 55 and over. There will be food and drink provided at the Plaza next to the field plus a excellent array of Festival merchandise available for sale.

The festival was started by Joe Hendrix and has become a fundraiser for the Cancer Support Community of Redondo Beach and for youth rugby.

The 25-year-old Catalina Island Rugby Festival was initially played at Avalon High School, but in time the festival has relocated to the Joe Machado Sports Complex. After Hendrix was diagnosed with cancer he started the fundraising aspect of the festival. Cancer Support was instrumental in Hendrix’s battle with cancer and related issues. After Hendrix passed away in 2011, his identical twin Tom took over the festival with help from the Los Angeles Rugby Club.

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