Rugby players from the Lower Mainland enjoy breakfast and a campfire Sunday morning during the Williams Lake Rustlers Stampede Rugby Tournament. (Greg Sabatino photo)

Rustlers embrace tough topic at tournament

While the competition at this year’s Stampede rugby tournament at the Ottoman complex was fierce, it was the conversations taking place on the sidelines that took centre stage at the annual event.

“This year’s stampede, in my opinion as head coach, definitely took the concerns raised by [Lindsay King] and other people in the community to heart and [we] really did everything we could to make sure that the behaviour of those that were visiting reflected our core values as a team and as a rugby community [we] are trying to bring forward,” said Rustlers head coach Braden McCallum.

READ MORE: Woman raises concern of ‘culture of sexual harassment’ at Williams Lake rugby fields

McCallum was referring to concerns raised in the Williams Lake Tribune by Lindsay King last week alleging the club fosters a “culture of sexual harassment” at the tournament, known for its raucous, provocative behaviour of visitors.

Following the publication, many aired their concerns for the behaviour while many others took to social media to defend the club.

In an interview with the Tribune Monday evening, Williams Lake Rustlers Rugby Football Club President Rodger Stewart acknowledged there were a lot of conversations going on around the fields about the desire to maintain the free and fun atmosphere that the event is known for, while ensuring everyone is safe and not at risk of harm from that behaviour.

READ MORE: Rustlers second in social division at 2018 Stampede Rugby Tournament

Stewart said being able to talk about the growing sensitivities surrounding some activities that take plat Ottoman simply acts to build awareness and establish and reinforce the code of conduct expected there, something that he welcomes.

“We have to be able to have an open and transparent conversation about these sorts of things as they arise,” Stewart said.

“If we can have those conversations everyone should understand what is expected of them.”

In all 19 rugby teams from across the province attended the tournament.

Stewart said while he and others kept an extra eye on the behaviour, one thing the controversy didn’t stem was the spontaneous nudity the tournament is also known for, with an entire female team from the coast going for a run on the pitch topless after a game in the finals, as well as other streakers shedding their clothes throughout the weekend.

“Certainly there was no shortage of people running around without their clothes on,” Stewart said. “These are the types of things that go on that seems to be part and parcel of rugby. They obviously felt it was a comfortable, safe environment.”

Stewart said they will continue to push for a heightened awareness surrounding the concerns raised by King.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.


Williams Lake Rustlers President Rodger Stewart.

Just Posted

Province not doing enough for forestry sector, say Liberals

Although Minister of Forests says government working to diversify industry, rural economies

Dance in Common hosts A Visual Dance Art Show

Female artists from across Williams Lake came together to support Dance In Common last week.

Bullets blast off at speed skating competition

The Williams Lake Bullets left their mark in Kamloops earlier this month.

VIDEO: Filmmakers screen Xeni Gwet’in Wagon Trip documentary to full house in Williams Lake

The film was first premiered at the Vancouver International Film Festival

Williams Lakers paying more at the pump than Lower Mainland drivers

As of Thursday morning the average price was $1.37.9 a litre in the lakecity

Road-weary Canucks thumped 6-2 by Wild

Vancouver hosts the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday

Toronto private school didn’t report alleged sexual assault to police

Police say a sexual assault at an all-boys Catholic institution was not reported to them

China says butt out; Canada calls for release of “arbitrarily” detained Muslims

A Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman accused Canada’s envoy of going beyond their diplomatic roles

Dead Saskatoon tattoo artist’s skin removed and preserved

The skin was removed in honour of the well known artist’s work

B.C. Realtor suspended after helping intern forge note about sick grandma

Vancouver real estate agent Jaideep Singh Puri has to pay fine, take ethics course

Offensive Facebook post by Okanagan Conservative riding sparks outrage

Post taken down after Conservative MP in neighbouring riding condemns it and demands removal

Judge rules against ALC on rural B.C. subdivision

The ALC can’t change the definition of an acre, the judge ruled.

John Horgan shrugs off low turnout, change to referendum option

‘No’ proportional representation group says voting should be extended

Most Read