Australian Football Returns to Des Moines this Weekend

19 Jun, 2019

Men’s and Women’s “footy” teams from around the midwest will return to Des Moines this summer for the 7th annual 80/35 tournament on June 22, 2019. Tournament play starts at 9:00AM and will run throughout the afternoon at the Des Moines Rugby Grounds (120 39th St, West Des Moines, Iowa).


The Roosters will host the Denver Bulldogs, the Minnesota Freeze, Tulsa Buffaloes, Wisconsin Wombats, and the Chicago Swans, along with the Nashville Roos women’s club. “The 80/35 tournament is how we kick off our season each summer. Because Des Moines is centrally located, we get clubs from all over the central region,” says Nana Coleman, Des Moines Rooster President.


In their 10th year as a club, the Roosters have their eyes on a Division 3 title at the USAFL Nationals tournament in Sarasota, Florida this October. Donnie Hess, Roosters coach, says fans should look for, “continued improvement in our skills and a team that is highly competitive in every game. There are a lot of talented players on our roster this year, and many can lead us to a great season.”


The Roosters hope to attract new fans and players to the 80/35 tournament. “Footy is an exciting sport to watch. It’s fast-paced, physical, and unique. 80/35 is a great chance for spectators to see a full day of the sport,” continues Coleman. Teams compete on a massive oval field, with some players running up to five miles during a game. “We get lots of kids and dogs hanging out and watching footy. It’s a very family-friendly event,” says club Vice President, Oliver Powell. The tournament will include food vendors selling burgers and Australian meat pies, along with merchandise and a raffle. Fans are also encouraged to join the teams at the after party from 5:00-8:00PM at the Grumpy Goat Tavern (1303 Walnut, Des Moines).


The Des Moines Roosters were formed in 2009 and compete as a part of the United States Australian Football League. In 2012, they won the Division 4 USAFL National Championship and every year they are growing the sport in Central Iowa. Several new players will be trying out for a spot on the 2020 national squad.


Tournament organizers are looking for volunteers. They are also actively recruiting new players. Beginners are welcome to attend open weekly scrimmages on Thursday nights from 6:00-8:00 at Water Works Park.


For more information about the tournament, contact Board Secretary and tournament chairperson, Lauren Rice, or 515-201-5289.


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