The Groundsman

February 2015

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STMA REVIEW 20 the Groundsman February 2015 Visit www.iog.org for more information and digital editions he STMA was officially formed in 1981 under the idea that sports turf could be significantly improved through the sharing of ideas and knowledge throughout the industry and practice. Now in its 26th year, the STMA event format is well established consisting of educational seminars, training and certification programmes, and an exhibition, AGM, awards ceremony as well as the option to join various trips to visit nearby sports facilities, which cover a broad spectrum of sports turf management. All this complimented by networking and plenty of opportunity to meet and discuss the advances and the issues in sports turf technology. The UK contingent was well represented, as was Europe, with representatives from France, Holland, Germany and the UK alongside ex- patriots currently working in Azerbaijan, the USA and Hungary - as well as South America. Now, we are used to hearing about US T Rugby field turns up the heat in Denver - the mile-high city A trip to Denver's 'Rugby Town USA' during the annual Sports Turf Managers Association (STMA) Conference proves the US's commitment to mastering the sport and the quality of the surfaces it is played on By: Geoff Webb sports facilities linked to American Football and baseball and indeed visits to Coors Field and the Denver Broncos, both based in Denver, were to be expected – not to mention the Colorado Rapids that play in Major League Soccer (MLS) - but rugby? Rugby is rising I joined conference delegates on a 'Denver on Wheels' tour which took in 'Rugby Town USA' at Infinity Park in Glendale – a town that boasts a population of 5,000 but just one family home (and hundreds of apartments) - alongside a range of other sports facilities. The Infinity Park rugby-specific complex features a 4,000-seat stadium – with a natural turf pitch containing a mix of Kentucky blue grass and Bermuda grass; an adjacent International Rugby Board- (IRB)-approved synthetic turf pitch; a high-performance athletic training centre; as well as community fitness and event spaces. Infinity Park is home to the Glendale Raptors Men's and Women's rugby club teams – both of which compete in the Pacific Rugby Premiership, which was established last year and features some of the best rugby players in west USA. Apparently rugby is one of the nation's fastest-growing team sports and is currently played by a half-million US children a year, and with the introduction of Rugby Sevens as one of the newest Olympic sports in the upcoming Rio 2016 Summer Olympics, the sport's popularity in the US is expected to soar. Water-tight investment As well as managing the sports surfaces, the grounds staff at Rugby Town USA also work outside the sports facility on projects as required – including the drains and sewer systems that serve the city as well as the landscaping and regular upkeep of the of the paths, roads and amenity areas in and around Glendale.

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