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

Tour de Cariboo road ride and fundraiser going out in style on 25th anniversary

This year’s Tour de Cariboo fundraiser will celebrate 25 years of memories.

ZONE 8: Gabby Knox is a 2nd-generation BC Summer Games competitor

Both parents competed in softball, but Knox of Williams Lake is making waves in the pool

Tl’etinqox community strengthed by 2017 wildfires, says chief

Residents denied evacuation order to help themselves

West Fraser continues burned timber salvage in the Cariboo Chilcotin

Two cutting permits will allow the company to harvest 227,000 cubic metres of burnt timber

2017 fire babies pose for photo one year later

23 babies and their moms gathered for a photo shoot at the Williams Lake Fire Department

Update: Police probe Toronto shooting that killed 2, injured 12; suspected gunman dead

Paramedics said many of the victims in Danforth, including a child, were rushed to trauma centres

Deadly L.A. market shooting started with domestic feud

A domestic incident ended after a car crashed into a pole outside Trader Joe’s market

Sunken duck boat to be raised after deadly Missouri accident

17 people died over the weekend in a deadly boat incident

Man extradited to Canada in B.C. killing, following arrest in South Korea

28-year-old Jui-Kai Weng was charged with second-degree murder and attempted murder

Canada beats Triple Crown for Canada Cup softball title

National team’s championship is first at B.C. tournament since 1996

Record high in Japan as heat wave grips the region

The temperature in a city north of Tokyo reached 41.1 degrees Celsius (106 degrees Fahrenheit) on Monday, the highest ever recorded in Japan.

Feds looking at ways to tackle wave of gun violence in Toronto: Minister

Toronto mayor John Tory spoke to the press following a mass casualty event in Toronto.

Inquest set in death of RCMP’s spokesperson for Robert Dziekanski case

Former Mountie Pierre Lemaitre died of self-inflicted injuries in Abbotsford in 2013

Most Read