It seemed like a good idea at the time and 40 years later the Titans Rugby club is still going strong, proving the idea was a solid one.
The club began with a core group of older men, bolstered by some eager young players who liked the idea of a rugby club in Red Deer.
“We were all around 20 years old and we stayed together for probably 15 to 20 years as a team and since then we’ve been able to get younger people in,” said the club’s executive director Bill Bowd.
The Titans have been very successful on the field, winning several second division titles over that time as well as some third division championships.
The women added to the club’s hardware winning the division two provincial titles over the past two years.
But it doesn’t stop there as the Titans summer games teams have done very well with the U-19 and U-18 teams having won provincial titles several times.
Bowd says the sport can be very attractive to parents looking to get their children interested in a sport which has very little cost attached to it.
According to Bowd, another attraction is the engagement these young players experience right away.
“Everybody is involved in the game. It doesn’t matter what size you are, or if you’re a girl or a guy, they play together at that age. As long as you can catch the ball and run,” he said.
The Titans have also been very good off the field of play, a testament to the hard work the members put in. “The club sticks together and works hard over the winter to keep things going and we’re lucky we own our own facilities here,” says Bowd, referring to the club’s debt-free status.
There is also an ongoing effort to attract new members and Bowd says when the teams are winning, it’s no problem but if there is a losing streak then it’s a tougher sell.
Another factor is many players come to the Titans from the oil patch and Bowd says it’s hard to compete against the money these players can earn working away from the City.
“It’s nice if they’re working in Red Deer or living in Red Deer, then we can keep them around all the time.”
He figures there’s another 40 years ahead for the club which boasts about 500 members.
“I think it’s going to get bigger and bigger every year.”