The Nashville Grizzlies rugby team will host the Mark Kendall Bingham Memorial Tournament in May 2016. The Bingham Cup is the world championship of gay rugby and we expect 45 teams, composed of 1,500 rugby players from across the world to come to Nashville to compete against other gay and inclusive rugby players next May. Players and supporters will be housed at Vanderbilt University and matches will be held at Ted Rhodes Park in MetroCenter.
The local promotional campaign for the 2016 Bingham Cup began with the Host Committee Kick-off Party on Wednesday, May 27, at the residence of Jim Schmidt and Joe Woolley. This event featured the debut of the official 2016 Bingham Cup logo and website. Honorary host committee chair Karl Dean addressed the group by video along with honorary co-chairs Vice Mayor Diane Neighbors, at-large council member Megan Barry and Senator Jeff Yarbro. TN rep John Ray Clemmons and Judge Lynda Jones addressed the group in person.
"Nashville will have an opportunity to showcase all that our wonderful city has to offer to the supporters, families and friends of these rugby teams" says Mayor Karl Dean, honorary chair of the 2016 Bingham Cup Host Committee.
Honorary co-chair Megan Barry told the group that "It doesn't matter where you came from, it doesn't matter when you got here and it certainly doesn't matter who you love. Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect."
The tournament honors Mark Bingham, a member of the San Francisco gay rugby team, who died on United Airlines Flight 93 on September 11, 2001. It is believed that Bingham was one of the passengers who overpowered the hijackers on-board, preventing the aircraft from reaching the hijackers' intended target in Washington. First held in 2002, the Bingham Cup challenges stereotypes and perceptions of gay men and is open to all players, regardless of background, sexual orientation, or ethnicity.
The Nashville Grizzlies thank the people of Nashville for their support of the Bingham Cup and looks forward to having everyone join them to support the players and the GLBTQ community of Middle Tennessee.
See video from the party here...
All photos courtesy Chris Malone