For the seventh year in a row, the strip of Fort Myers Beach behind the Holiday Inn at 6890 Estero Blvd. will be ransacked by well-formed muscle and determination as the Hammerhead Rugby Tournament hits the sand Saturday, July 18, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
At least 20 men's teams from around the country will compete on the beach -including seven women's teams, three "old boys" teams and six high school teams- in a tradition that's been long-standing in the sand and expected to be the biggest so far.
"It's a very social tournament," said Veronica McDonald, coordinator of the tournament. "This is one of the two beach tournaments in the country, and maybe another two internationals. It's a very difficult game and a lot harder because you're running on the sand. But it's great. You've got the waves, the tiki bar. The guys just want to play and have a good time."
During the tournament hours Saturday, spectators are encouraged to bring out their beach blankets, chairs and towels to enjoy all the sportsmanship and comradery.
"The guys love to show off," McDonald said.
Keep in mind parking may be a little tight at the Holiday Inn the day of the tourney. It's advised to either car-pool or take the trolley. Hotel general manager Carla Feazel said parking in the resort lot will be $5, but will include a $5 voucher toward any food purchase inside Pinchers Crab Shack, the resort's restaurant and lounge.
Overflow from the parking lot will be directed to the Santini Marina Plaza.
"We're excited about the tournament," Feazel said. "We always look forward to the event and have a pretty large turnout. The group is excellent to work with and they bring alot of excitement with them."
Rugby pub crawl
Following the tournament, rugby players will wash up and head down for the annual pub crawl, stopping at six of Fort Myers Beach's prime hotspots.
Pub crawl stops include Hooters (6:30 to 7:30 p.m.), the Lani Kai (7:30 to 8:30 p.m.), the new Surf Club (8:30 to 9:30 p.m.), The Cottage (9:30 to 10:30 p.m.), Cabascas (10:30 to 11:30 p.m.) and Jimmy B's Rooftop Bar (11:30 to 12:30 a.m.).
And keep your eyes peeled for these guys prior to the tourney. They started trickling in earlier this week and should be at the Sandbar and Grill in the Santini Marina Plaza Friday night around 8:30 p.m. for a pre-social and player's meeting.
For more info on the tournament, check out www.Beerfoot7s.com.