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Club History


The Denver Highlanders are a Division II men's rugby club located in the Mile High City - Denver, Colorado. 


During the summer of 1968, three Kansas City Blues rugby players - Tim Mcnally, Jerry Arni, and Neil Turner - decided to move to the Mile High City. They started practicing with the Denver Barbarians because at that time in Colorado Rugby the Barbos were the only club team in the Denver area. The third week of practice the Blues Brothers were beginning to show their resolve as decent Rugby players and after a very physical practice, they went out drinking with the Barbos to celebrate their skills. Keeping with old rugby tradition, Arni , Mcnally, and Turner began to sing “Why Was he Born So Beautiful."  Much to the chagrin of the Blues players, they were told that using the 'F word' was not condoned by the Barbarians. Of course Neil, Tim and Jerry sang it again and walked out of the Lair Lounge with the idea of starting a team that not only played aggressive Rugby but also carried on the tradition of drinking and singing rugby songs after games.


The three ruggers didn’t waste much time naming the team. Being from the flat lands of Missouri, it only made sense to call the team the Highlanders. The Fall of 1968 saw the new Highlanders begin their first season against the Zoomies- USAFA. It was a disaster in which they lost 45 to nil.  We ended up winning three games and vowing to make recruiting our priority for the 1969 season. While consuming a few pints of Guinness we decided to focus on two bars - the Lair Lounge and the College Inn for our recruits. The most influential element of attracting recruits was our new mantra  “You may beat us on the pitch but we will NEVER lose the party." This new mantra attracted some of our best players and partiers. New recruits like Art Sands (our first captain), Sunny Schreiner,  Gary Heise, John Kingman, and Larry Kobilca became the nucleus of the Highlanders. With this extra influx of players and new resolve we never lost to the Barbos and of course we NEVER lost a party. In fact we won the Coors Cup in 1972 and finished with a tie for first place in our second appearance at the Aspen Rugby fest.

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