Thursday, I packed up the car - rugby kit, changes of clothes, toothbrush, dog - 'cause I'm off for the weekend. Time once again for Maggotfest, 4 days of rugby, beer and no holds barred partying.

Fest '95 kicked off (so to speak) with a double-header that night. In the early game, Missoula's Betterside got the better of the women of the Minneapolis Menagerie, who were returning for a second year of their brand of strangeness. Next up, the Maggots took on the Stanislau Harlots from central California. Stanislau featured a strong back line, with some terrific wheels. Fortunately for us, they also had one of the softest packs yet seen, enabling us to take away numerous tight head scrums and finish with a 17-13 win. Much beer and some food followed, with a few new songs from the California boys, and several interesting twists on popular tunes by the Betterside. Then off downtown (and, eventually, various homes) for more beer and camaraderie until late into the night.

On Friday, the Harlots and the Menagerie were hosted to a white-water float trip down the Lochsa River. A rainy day, they report having felt much warmer and drier after the boats flipped in the river. Several of the women also contracted VD (vomiting and diarhea) from lunch on the float, which really made them a lot of fun at parties.

Many Maggots spent Friday setting up the six pitches for the Fest, 'cause chicks really dig guys on the field crew, and can't get enough of men covered from head to toe in lime dust. Just another day of doing lines and filling holes.

Friday night, the Fest began in earnest, with all 36 teams converging upon downtown Missoula. The kickoff party at Jay's featured free beer all night long, as did the rest of the Fest until Sunday afternoon (176 kegs emptied). This night also brought out several of the teams in costumes, a time-honored Maggotfest tradition. Best of all being the Betterside dressed as Brownies Troop 69. Someone with far too much time on her hands had stitched together beanies and sashes for the whole team. They also had merit badge books, and attempted to accumulate badges through various deeds over the weekend. "Fetching Beer" was a useful one, but my favorite was the "Trip Around the World" badge, which consisted of kissing seven men from seven different countries. Good to be an Englishman that night. Also witnessed an interesting spectacle - a woman slipped a condom onto an open tall-neck beer, and proceded to slide it almost entirely down her throat. She was suddenly very popular with the males in the crowd. Beaucoups beer for all until well into the morning.

Saturday, and someone (not me) set the marker flags and established Fest Central around the beer and food trucks. The beer started flowing at 9:00 AM. And plenty of rugby for everyone - the nature of Maggotfest is that the game is played for its own sake, no pressure to save yourself for the big final match. Finish one match, then find another team to play with.

Even the host Maggots get in a couple of games, and today we met the Valley Kangaroos of Seattle. Sunny and warm, it was a glorious day for rugby - Mother Nature is a Maggot fan! The gods of rugby also smiled upon us, as we stomped the 'Roos 17-0, backs and forwards connecting well and finally looking like the Montana champions again. This match also featured an excellent play off a lineout, with a mighty Maggot lock making the strip and the whole pack driving the Kangaroos backward ten feet, giving yours truly his first try this side of the Mississippi. Even made the local TV news, who gave the credit to someone else. Figures! The backs played OK too.

Saturday night, and it was time for the annual Maggotfest Ball. Held in an empty cow barn at the fairgrounds, there are no fixtures to break and is easily cleaned with a hose. This night brought out all the various costumes, the Menagerie as a bowling team, the Harlots dressed as sperm, etc. The Cutthroats of Bozeman began very early, dashing into the nearly empty party wearing nothing but inflated balloons (very small ones) and carrying a cardboard fish. They failed to improve on the premature start, and quickly dropped out of the running for the Most Honored Side trophy. Beer throwing proved to be apopular sport, and rain gear was a common choice of attire. Clear rain suits over birthday suits were also very much in style. As usual, many members of both sexes chose to refrain from attire altogether. The band was very hot, with hordes of drunken fools dancing wildly through the beer puddles and having a great time. And, once again, 2000 people at a party and not a single fight.

Post-party entertainment was provided by a friendly young couple. Spotted near the stage mashing faces throughout the night, they continued their groping just outside the exit gate. One thing led to another very quickly, and soon her mouth was about three feet below his. Despite loud encouragement by the members of the Maggotfest Security Force (oxymoron), the engagement broke off quickly, with the couple going their separate ways.

Excitement over, the party site was quickly tidied up (we turned off the lights). Another 3:00 AM breakfast.

Sunday was also a damp one, and someone (again, not me) got the pitches set again and the beer & food flowing. Another good match from the Maggots, the sun again shining as we took on the Occidental Olde Boys from LA. Our rookie winger managed to remember the offsides rule for a change, but numerous mistakes and stupid penalties kept the game tense. A very tough scrum on their part. Our studly young 1st jumper was completely shut down in the lineouts, requiring the almost total use of the even more studly 2nd jumper, who came through for the team, as always. Fortunately, enough other things went right for us, and wrong for them, and we came out on top, 17-10.

Time to celebrate, games are over. Naked scrum half tossing, sponsored by the Menagerie, complete with slip-and-slide and bowling pins. Some boys from Abbotsford, BC, put on a naked wheelbarrow race. Award time, each team being presented with a trophy for attendance - a black ceramic maggot on a pedestal. Then the big prizes: Best Play on the Pitch to Abbostford, who had gone undefeated and played extremely well, despite calling their team "the All-Shits". But the most desired trophy, Most Honored Side, awarded for performance both on and off the pitch (mostly off pitch), went to the Menagerie, who promptly misplaced the trophy. Then the beer finally ran out, prompting all to get going back home to Canada, Washington or California, hopefully without having purchased any real estate in Montana. All the trash was quickly collected, the pitches taken down and we were out of there.

Time to relax, Fest over. Another Fest completed, four days of good rugby, making new friends and rekindling old friendships, inspired silliness and all the other things which go into making rugby the sport that it is. It's not just what happens on the pitch which makes us play.

Man, that was touching, think I'm gonna cry! Take me back to the main page so I can read some more. On second thought, how about taking me to the invitation form page so I can request information on getting my club to Fest.