Summer is nearly here and that means the rugby tournament season is oh so very close! Registering early for tournaments is the key to a good summer rugby season. So use the 2023 Wisconsin rugby tournament schedule below as a guide for your summer season.
The summer rugby scene in Wisconsin has changed quite a bit in the last 5 years. Before we get to the 2023 schedule, let’s review the differences this year compared to prior summer rugby seasons.
A changing landscape for summer rugby in Wisconsin
Back in 2019 there were 9 summer rugby tournaments for men’s and women’s club rugby. Just about every weekend from early June to mid-August had an event.
This was also a year of big changes in Wisconsin rugby:
- Leinies 7s changed to the 15s format, and moved from early June to mid-May.
- Titletown 10s in Green Bay was canceled.
- Legends 10s held their inaugural event.
- After 20 years in Minocqua, the Lumberjack 10s moved their location to Waukesha.
- The Lighthouse 7s held their final event.
2023 looks like it might be another year with significant changes:
- Madtown 7s (Madison) looks to be canceled for 2023 after not winning a bid to host a Midwest RFU qualifier.
- The Lumberjack 10s was cancelled in 2022 and has not yet announced a date for 2023.
- Leinies 15s has rebranded and changed format again. You’ll see them in the schedule below as the Tequila 10s.
- Legends 10s has not announced a 2023 date.
- This is the first year in recent memory that Wisconsin will not host a Midwest RFU Qualifier event.
Why so much change?
It’s no secret that rugby burnout is a real issue.
Club rugby in the Midwest has moved from a split fall/spring competitive season to late summer through late fall. That snags a few summer weekends from tournament season.
And in the Spring, most clubs have replaced league playoffs with exhibition matches and/or tours. Combine that with a busy summer rugby schedule and you can easily find yourself playing rugby 8 months of the year (more if you play indoors in the winter).
So perhaps it not surprising that lower attendance at some events have affected the number of events around the state and indeed across the country.
It’s also true that organizing an annual tournament is really, really hard. At the Lakefront 7s for example, we have an organizing committee of 12 people plus dozens of volunteers from the Milwaukee Barbarians.
This includes active players, alumni, plus family and friends, as well as a host of contractors and vendors. It’s a BIG JOB, and a big, dedicated team is needed to do this year after year, and decade after decade.
So it’s not surprising that tournaments wax and wane as clubs go through their typical high-low cycles.
Finally, COVID-19 has undoubtedly played a role as people discovered other hobbies during lockdown and made up for missed vacations with the emergency now over.
Looking forward, we can probably expect changes in the tournament schedule every year as event organizers continue to experiment with the right format, date, and location that helps them achieve their goals.
2023 Wisconsin rugby tournament schedule – club Men/Women
Despite the changes noted above for 2023, the Wisconsin rugby community still boasts a wide selection of 7s and 10s events to choose from:
- 5/20 — Tequila 10s (Greenville)
- 6/17 — Lion Hunter 7s (Wales)
- 6/24 — 40th annual Lakefront 7s (Milwaukee)
- 7/15 — Pigfest 10s (Oshkosh)
- 7/29 — Harborfest 7s (Kenosha)
- 8/5 — Memorial 10s (Madison)
Schedule updates for the 2023 Wisconsin rugby tournament schedule
Note that we will continue to update this 2023 Wisconsin rugby tournament schedule as new events are announced and/or finalized.
Please feel free to contact us if you have any updates or corrections.