As teams battle head to head on the Rugby Bowl field, fans will get a chance to go hand to hand against one of the world’s top-ranked arm wrestlers, Travis “The Beast” Bagent.
The 2015 Mercedes Benz of Scottsdale Rugby Bowl: Beauty and the Beast is more than just a rugby game; this year the event expands to include arm wrestling and even a “Warning Track” Fashion Show.
Never before used as a rugby field, Scottsdale Stadium will host the Rugby Bowl starting at 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 18.
Ten Rugby Bowl fans will get the chance to challenge Travis “The Beast” Bagent between rugby matches, comparing their strength to the champion arm wrestler in either right- or left-handed matches, explained Jason Rose, president of Rose+Moser+Allyn, the PR firm behind the Rugby Bowl.
Mr. Bagent is ranked as the world’s No. 1 left-handed arm wrestler, and ranked No. 3 for right-handed wrestlers, states a press release about the event.
“He’s like Muhammad Ali back in the day,” described Mr. Rose in a phone interview.
“I’ve arm wrestled over 1,000 guys at expos over the weekend. I’ve done all those expos a number of times,” Mr. Bagent said in a phone interview, recalling such events as the Arnold Classic held in Columbus, Ohio.
Mr. Bagent learned the sport from his father, a competitive arm wrestler from 1965 to 1978, according to the release. By the time he was 15 or 16 years old he was “arm wrestling every human being I could find,” Mr. Bagent remembered.
When he was 19, Mr. Bagent competed in his first national arm wrestling competition. “And I won my first national championship, too,” he said.
When he’s not meeting challengers between rugby matches, Mr. Bagent will be rubbing elbows with other competitive arm wrestlers at a World Armwrestling League tournament. Rugby won’t be the only sport in the stadium on April 18 as over 100 arm wrestling competitors will arm up for a national qualifying event.
The Phoenix tournament is one of 100 qualifying events across North America, Mr. Bagent said. The top three competitors in each weight class will have the chance to move on to regional qualifiers, the sport culminating at its Las Vegas Championship this June.
“An event within an event” is how Mr. Rose explained the decision to invite arm wrestling to the Rugby Bowl. “What we try to do with our event is integrity, and that means the best,” he said.
An expanded lineup featuring three rugby matches, a WAL tournament sharing the stadium, and a quarter-mile fashion show are sure to bring more value to each ticket.
“We made a decision to make it a sexier event,” explained Mr. Rose. “And that’s represented by our title sponsor, Mercedes Benz of Scottsdale. Beauty and the Beast really encapsulates [that].”
Last year’s rugby event featured a match between Arizona State University and nationally ranked Brigham Young University, and was held at Westworld of Scottsdale.
This year, Arizona’s High School Rugby Championship will lead the event, followed by the University of Southern California Trojans versus the Northern Arizona University Lumberjacks. Rugby Bowl concludes when the ASU Sun Devils return for another match against a top opponent.
More information about the event can be found at www.TheRugbyBowl.com.
Ms. Walker is a freelance journalist under contract with the North Valley Office of Independent Newsmedia Inc. USA