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Texas Heats Up Nationals
Spokes Ableman and the USQRA National Championships
Louisville, KY – April 11-13, 2008

The Good, The Bad, and The Rugby.
 by Ed Hooper 

"Pass the Jack Daniels, Helmet Head, these Nationals Championships had more drama than a Clint Eastwood Spaghetti Western," said my smart-aleck buddy Spokes Ableman.  "We should call this baby "The Good, The Bad, and The Rugby."

"Helmet Head, Spokes?  I thought you were done calling me that."

"Aaaahaaahh... nope were back to Helmet Head.  Hey, I didn't wear the thing all those years, you did.

"Anyway, let's start with the Good.  The Texas Stampede and Portland Pounders battled into overtime for the Division I National Championship.  Texas had lost to Portland a day earlier in pool play by 11.  Eleven!  The Stampede must have been feeling a little like Texans did after the Alamo.  One might say they were ticked.     3.0 Mark Zupan and 1.0 Norm Lyduch were ready to turn up the heat.  So, enter the heat. Well, the ex-Heat anyway – former Phoenix Heat players 3.0 Best of Class Japanese speedster Shinichi Shimakawa and 1.0 Scott Hogsett from that 2006 Championship team who both now play for Texas. 

"How does Gumbie do it, HH?  That's a rhetorical question."

Spokes continued, "On the other side of the ball Portland lined up 3.0 tournament MVP Ian Chan from Canada, 2.0 Will Groulx, 2.0 Seth McBride, and 1.0 Best of Class Max Woodbury.  This group had to feel pretty confident after dismantling the longhorns on Saturday.  They looked like they had the high/low of Texas figured out."

"Spokes, every player who was on the court represents their respective National Teams.  No shortage of speed, talent or guns in this game."

"Zupan looked like a man on a mission," Spokes said.  "Of course Zupan looks like he's on a mission going up the elevator to his room.  Shimakawa was, well, Shimakawa:  Blazingly fast, slippery, smart, hard hitting.

"Portland seemed jittery at the start, throwing their second possession out of bounds.  After a few hits, they settled down and got their composure."

"Adrenaline Spokes.  That's normal."

"Nothing about you guys is normal, HH, but that's another story. More


Steve Butler

Travis Murao

James Ezell
Spinergy -
Fusion Medical

Bob Davis
Spinergy -
Fusion Medical

Landon Groff



USQRA Post Season Auction Winners


Eagle Sportschairs, R&D Fabrication, Spinergy, Fusion Medical and Nuprodx have each stepped up to provide items for the USQRA's 2008 Post Season Auction.

Eagle will provide the high bidder with a choice of one of the following products; a rugby chair, basketball chair, tennis chair or a titanium everyday chair. All chairs will be custom built to the winners size specifications. R&D Fabrication will provide a RAM offensive or defensive rugby chair (including most economical freight). Spinergy and Fusion Medical have teamed up to provide 2 sets of Spinergy's new "next generation" wheels, including tires and pushrims (1 set per each high bidder). Nuprodx has donated two 3000tx travel shower chair to go to the high bidders.


The auction began Tuesday, March 25th, and ended 30 minutes after the conclusion of the Division I Championship Game on Sunday, April 13th in Louisville, Kentucky. The USQRA has done its best to make the bidding process as fair as possible; however, we understand a change is needed to better include those not present at the tournament. Next season we will implement a more "eBay like bidding system to better include the off site bidders. Complete auction details and the bid form can be found HERE. Thank you to everyone for your participation and support of our sponsors and the USQRA!!


Special thanks go out to all of the USQRA's 2008 Post Season Sponsors: PVA - Coloplast - Eagle Sportschairs - The Roho Group - Spinergy - Fusion Medical - Astra Tech - RAM - Nuprodx


Texas Thunder Invitational

The Texas Stampede hosted the first annual Texas Thunder Invitational at St. Stephens Episcopal School in Austin Texas. The tourney featured members of statewide club teams as well as Paralympic Team USA members.

Round Robin play was centered on development and upcoming post season play. Some of the key match ups featured Division II hopefuls Pasadena and San Antonio going head to head as well as previously defeated Texas (lost to San Antonio and Pasadena in 07) trying to find their winning form again.

In the Pasadena v San Antonio tests, it was evident that advancement to Louisville would be front and center on the minds of both squads. Pasadena led by former Team USA member Steve Kearley rallied both newcomer Tim (Mike) Jones and veterans Alan Bailey and Mike Peacock against a seasoned San Antonio line featuring Juan and Gil Garcia and the 1.5 work of Ramos and Boothby.

The first game saw the two heavy weights exchanges goals at an up-tempo pace. The first turnover caused at 3:14 was caused by a stifling Ryder defense which caused the hurried pass from Bailey (6 points in the game) to Peacock to go off the waiting gloves. While the first quarter saw the score 10 – 9, the teams continued the stepped up pace. San Antonio went to their bench and took advantage of skilled low pointer Landon "Lando" Groff and his sticky front end to hold Pasadena's high pointers. As the teams entered the half several unforced turnovers saw Pasadena fall behind 17 – 23. The 3rd and 4th saw several runs by both sides, however in the end the Ryder's were too much for the Texans taking the first match 45 – 38.

The next big match was the Stampede B team meeting San Antonio. Stampede B led behind Paralympian Mark Zupan and Jace Beck (Team USQRA) showed up ready as they jumped up early against the hi/low line of Garcia and Huizar. Texas held a 15 – 8 lead going into the 2nd where they expanded there charge to 28 – 14. Said James Gumbert "It was a great opportunity for our veterans to play with the new guys and gain valuable court time". The Stampede was able to expand their lead in the second half winning the game 55 to 36. Zupan whose game high 35 points was a season high was joined by Beck (12 points) for accounting for the majority of the team's effort.

Inaugural City of Las Vegas DIII "Vegas Vengeance" Tournament
By Robert Murray

Las Vegas, NV – The City of Las Vegas Adaptive Recreation Division hosted the Inaugural "Vegas Vengeance" Quad Rugby Tournament on January 18–20, 2008 at the Chuck Minker Sports Complex located at 275 N. Mojave Rd. in Las Vegas, NV. This inaugural tournament left the folks in the stands on the edge of their seats. The thrills and spills were awesome and the excitement and enthusiasm of the crowd was never ending. All of this was provided by the Arizona Outcasts, St. Louis Rugby Rams, Las Vegas Sin City Skulls, Utah Scorpions, Pittsburgh Steelwheelers and the Reno Bighorns.

The rivalry between the Utah Scorpions and Sin City Skulls went to a higher level as the first ever (of several to come) "Cow Bell" game was held. This match was played between the whistles and each team played their hearts out and left everything they had on the court, but the outcome left the Skulls clanging the cowbell. This is sure to be a lasting rivalry between the two.

We also found the battle of the Bone. The Reno Bighorns and the Sin City Skulls have battled over this bone for the past four years. Each team brought their game and battled it out on the court and in the bone yard. Vegas came out the victor and are proud to hold on to it for another year, and can't wait to face up against the Bighorns again. More

Demolition Derby Webcast on xAble.com


For the third weekend in a row, xAble.com covered our sport with same day webcasts. First it was the Knock & Roll in West Palm Beach, then the Coloplast International in Tampa, and this time it was Birmingham, Alabama for the Demolition Derby. The Derby featured 12 strong teams from around the globe, and provided some of best games of the season.


The good people at xAble.com have been working hard to improve their technology, and every game that goes online provides us more in depth coverage. xAble.com has dedicated countless hours and dollars to bring the excitement and hard hits of our sport to everyone, so let them know how much you appreciate their efforts so their great coverage continues. 

To catch the webcasts simply visit www.xAble.com and look for the Demolition Derby link. While your there, make sure to join xAble as a member to show your support of for their coverage of our sport.

Special thanks to the good people at xAble.com for covering our sport!


Eleven Athletes Nominated to 2008 U.S. Paralympic Wheelchair Rugby Team
Six athletes return from 2004 Paralympic Bronze Medal Team

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.-Eleven athletes have been nominated to the 2008 U.S. Paralympic Wheelchair Rugby Team.  The team was announced following a weekend tryout camp held at Lakeshore Foundation, an official U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Site.  This team will represent the United States at the Paralympic Games in Beijing, China next September.

Six athletes return from the 2004 U.S. Paralympic Team that won a bronze medal in Athens, Greece.  Those athletes are Andy Cohn (Tempe, Ariz.), Will Groulx (Portland, Ore.), Scott Hogsett (Phoenix, Ariz.), Bryan Kirkland (Leeds, Ala.), Norm Lyduch (Austin, Tex.) and Mark Zupan (Austin, Tex.).  The remaining five athletes are first-time U.S. Paralympians.  At age 18, Joel Wilmoth (Hueytown, Ala.) is the youngest athlete ever named to the U.S. Paralympic Wheelchair Rugby Team.  Joining him are Seth McBride (Juneau, Alaska), Jason Regier (Denver, Colo.), Nick Springer (St. Petersburg, Fla./New York, NY) and Chance Sumner (Denver, Colo.).

"All these athletes have sacrificed so much to be here and this was a very emotional selection," said U.S. head coach James Gumbert (Austin, Texas).  "We feel we've selected the team that is going to win the gold medal in Beijing and we've got a lot of hard work ahead of us to make that happen."

The U.S. is currently the top-ranked wheelchair rugby team in the world.  Throughout the next year, the team will hold monthly training camps at Lakeshore Foundation in preparation for the competition in Beijing.

2008 U.S. Paralympic Wheelchair Rugby Team
*Andy Cohn (Tempe, Ariz.)
*Will Groulx (Portland, Ore.)
*Scott Hogsett   (Phoenix, Ariz.)
*Bryan Kirkland (Leeds, Ala.)
*Norm Lyduch (Austin, Tex.)
  Seth McBride (Juneau, Alaska)
  Jason Regier (Denver, Colo.)
  Nick Springer (St. Petersburg, Fla./New York, NY)
  Chance Sumner (Denver, Colo.)
  Joel Wilmoth (Hueytown, Ala).
*Mark Zupan (Austin, Tex.)

*Denotes 2004 U.S. Paralympic Team member

Eddie Crouch (Smyrna, Tenn.)
Derrick Helton (Tucson, Ariz.)
Steve Pate (Kalispell, Mont.)
Max Woodbury (Portland, Ore.)

All media inquires and requests can be sent to Susan Katz, Communications Coordinator at (205) 313-7434 or susank@lakeshore.org.

2nd Annual University of Arizona Rugby Rage
By Gabe Nyrkkanen

Tucson Arizona: The University of Arizona Wheelchair Rugby Wildcats played host to the 2nd annual U of A Rugby Rage on Nov 30–Dec 2.  The competition at this tournament ranged from new D2 level teams to the defending National champion Denver Harlequins. 

8th Place U of A Blue team consisted of U of A's developing players and led by crafty veteran Mark Hansen.  The Blue squad also had the assistance of pick-up player Zack Tapec from San Diego.  This team showed promise though they only came away with one victory over the Nick Springer aided Utah Scorpions. 

7th Place Phoenix Outcasts made the short drive down with their team consisting of former Heat and Sting players.  The Outcasts had a hard fought weekend as the first day of action matched them up with both Denver and the U of A's A squad in pool play. The following day, the boys showed up rejuvenated and got their first win in a nail biter against the Skulls. They came up short later against the Scorpions, but they had a decisive victory over U of A Blue for 7th.

6th Place Utah Scorpions invited the always impressive Nick Springer to fill out a line-up with new Scorpion Dave Nicholls. The Scorpions had a rough time during pool play and ended with 3 losses, but they got it done in the cross-over against the Outcasts which put them in the 5th/6th place game on Sunday with the Sin City Skulls. 

5th Place Sin City Skulls have a balanced line-up of up and comers with a few veterans thrown in the mix.  The Skulls also had it rough being in the same pool with Denver and U of A as they dropped both games on Friday.  They also came up short in Saturday morning's match-up with the Outcasts but they got the job done in the crossover with U of A Blue to secure their spot in the 5th/6th place game with the Scorpions.  The Skulls/Scorpions rivalry proved to be the closest match-up of the tournament. The Skulls made up a 3 goal deficit in the closing minutes of the game and eventually came out on top 51-50. More

Capitol Clash Quad Rugby Tournament
By Heather Campbell

The DC area quad rugby team, The Capitol Punishers, sponsored by National Rehabilitation Hospital, and BlazeSports Washington, DC hosted their first tournament the Capitol Clash on October 27-28, 2007. The Clash was held at Hoop Magic Academy in Chantilly, VA where 8 teams came out to fight for a 1st place finish. Teams included the host DC Capitol Punishers, Utah Scorpions, Pittsburgh Steelwheelers, Magee Eagles, Raleigh Sidewinders, Carolina Crash, United Spinal Jets, and Connecticut Jammers. Sunday afternoon after all the hard hitting and crashing was over, here is how the tournament played out:

1st Place: New York Jets
2nd Place: Pittsburgh Steelwheelers
3rd Place: Magee Eagles
4th Place: Capitol Punishers
5th Place: Utah Scorpions
6th Place: Carolina Crash
7th Place: Raleigh Sidewinders
8th Place: Connecticut Jammers

Congratulations to all the teams who participated in the tournament.  Thanks to National Rehabilitation Hospital, and BlazeSports Washington, DC for the continued support of the team.  Also, a big thank you to the referees who worked extremely hard over the weekend!

3rd Annual City of Las Vegas "Helter Skelter" Quad Rugby Tournament
By Robert Murray

Las Vegas, NV – The 3rd Annual "Helter Skelter" Quad Rugby Tournament, sponsored by the City of Las Vegas Adaptive Recreation Division, was held on October 12-14, 2007 at the Chuck Minker Sports Complex in Las Vegas, NV. Six teams came to battle it out and enjoy the lights in the town that never sleeps. The Northridge Kings, Northridge Knights, Utah Scorpions, Arizona Outcasts, Nova Scotia Spokebusters and the hometown Sin City Skulls provided an action packed and solid weekend of rugby.

Congratulations to all of the teams who competed and a special thank you to our tournament Officials: Kelli Kaliszewski, Greg Gandy and Cora Jones. We hope to see you next year for our 4th annual tournament.

1st Place – Northridge Kings
2nd Place – Arizona Outcasts
3rd Place – Sin City Skulls
4th Place – Utah Scorpions
5th Place – Northridge Knights
6th Place – Nova Scotia Spokebusters

Local media were also present to get a first hand look of the sport that we love. A full page article has been written in the "Las Vegas Sun Newspaper" and can be viewed HERE  

The Helter Skelter tournament grows more and more each year, and this year was the best yet. Everyone had a great time watching the games and listening to the crash of pounding metal. The City of Las Vegas Adaptive Recreation Division has created a year round program fully dedicated to the sport of Quad Rugby. It is our goal to provide three tournaments and two clinics annually in-order to grow the sport on the West Coast, and to provide competition and instructional opportunities for teams, athletes, coaches and fans. Please contact Robert Murray for more information on upcoming events at (702) 229-4903 or rmurray@lasvegasnevada.gov

2007 USQRA Hall of Fame Auction is Over

Congratulations to Walter Diaz from the DC Capital Punishers on winning the 2007 USQRA Hall of Fame Auction! Walter has won his choice of one Eagle Sportschairs product built to his personal specifications.

The USQRA wishes to thank Barry Ewing, Marty Frierson and Eagle Sportschairs, as well as everyone who submitted bids for the auction. The next USQRA Auction will take place at the start of post season play in 2008.

2007-08 Team Registration Kit - All USQRA teams must fill this form out and return it with their dues by October 31, 2007.
NOTICE! - Please click - WSUSA Insurance application for the request form.

Clifford D. "Kip" Crase - cofounder of Sports n' Spokes Magazine

ONTONAGON – Clifford D. "Kip" Crase died Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2007 at the Ontonagon Memorial Hospital from complications of pancreatic cancer.

From the time of his birth in Trimountain, MI in 1938, until his death, his life was filled with a love of life, in spite of its many adversities.

Cliff grew up in Rockland, graduating in 1956 as valedictorian from Roger Clark High School, jokingly saying someone had to be the valedictorian since there were only four people in his class.

He immediately went into the Air Force as a navigator, serving in North Africa.

While on duty in Minnesota in 1959, he sustained a spinal cord injury from a car accident, resulting in quadriplegia.

Stung by the loss just nine months earlier of his beloved older sister and only sibling, Dottie, he would lose his father, Clifford Sr., nine months after his accident while he was still in rehabilitation in Chicago.

Cliff was ultimately welcomed home from the hospital 13 months after his accident by his mother, Dorothy, who took training to continue his care at home.

Cliff credits his mother for finally getting him back on track, and three years later, he left home to attend the University of Illinois, the most accessible university at the time.

There, he met Nancy Thatcher, whom he married in 1969. That same year, they moved to Phoenix, Ariz.

The University of Illinois was the center of emerging wheelchair sports, the perfect forum for Cliff to resume his love of sports.

Team USQRA, National Developmental Program

Birmingham, AL – 24 athletes went to Birmingham with the intensity and desire to move to the next level. Out of those 24, 14 athletes were selected and named to the "Next Generation", Team USQRA – National Developmental Program. Selections were made following a four day tryout camp held at the Lakeshore Foundation U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Site. These 14 athletes will provide a strong foundation for the future of our sport in the U.S.

Coaches and staff were extremely impressed with the effort and dedication that each athlete brought with them to camp. Team USQRA is sure to provide a solid foundation to represent our country on the international level.

Click for larger image

Athletes and staff during the recent Team USQRA tryouts
at the Lakeshore Foundation in Birmingham, Aabama

Team USQRA Athletes

0.5 - Mike DeYoung – Northridge, CA
0.5 - Clayton Braun – St. Louis, MO
1.0 - Mike Fries – LeAnder, TX
1.5 - Scott Stokes – Atlanta, GA
2.0 - Andy Burton – Dallas, TX
2.0 - Jace Beck - College Station, TX
2.0 - Derrik Helton – Tucson, AZ
2.0 - Justin Stark – Tampa, FL
2.5 - Kerri Morgan – St. Louis, MO
2.5 - Aaron Roux – Tucson, AZ
2.5 - Delmon Dunstin – Tustin, CA
3.0 - Jesse Honl – Victoria, TX
3.0 - Ryan Kress – Tampa, FL
3.0 - Ryan Lindstrom – Brundon, FL

Team USQRA Staff

Coach: Dave Cerutti – Chapel, FL
Coach: Sue Tucker – St. Louis, MO
Coach: Amy Bohn – Atlanta, GA
Team Leader: Susan Alvarez – Huntington Beach, CA
Team Manager: Robert Murray – Las Vegas, NV
Staff: Britney Swen – Longmont, CO
Staff: Gary Pate – Birmingham, AL
Staff: Leah Stiebing – Anchorage, AK
Staff: Marc Reynolds – Houston, TX
Support Staff: James Gumbert – Austin, TX
Support Staff: John Bishop – Lake Worth, FL
Support Staff: Patty Cornelius – Birmingham, AL

Upcoming training camps are scheduled for early August and late September with possible competitions in the future. Please join me in welcoming the "Next Generation" of athletes to Team USQRA. Inquiries and requests may be submitted to Team Leader Susan Alvarez at susan.alvarez@cox.com, or Team Leader Robert Murray at vegasbob78@cox.net.

2007 National Championships Photo Gallery

Thanks to the good folks at Sports 'n Spokes Magazine, the USQRA is pleased to display photos from our National Championships online. All pictures were taken by Mark Cowan, and are © by Paralyzed Veterans of America. To view the photo gallery click here.

CWU Quad Rugby Exhibition
By Wimsey Cherrington

Ellensburg, WA - The second annual "Murderball in Action" exhibition match took place at Central Washington University's Nicholson Pavilion on May 24. The Seattle Slam (joined by BC player Say Luangkhamdeng) and the Portland Pounders (joined by Travis Murao from BC) faced off before 150 cheering fans for a couple of quarters as two MCs explained the rules and announced plays. Then the CWU Wildcats rugby players went up against a combined Slam/Pounders team for three six-minute quarters. More

USQRA Presents Awards at 2007 National Championships

Back in 1998, the United States Quad Rugby Association began publicly recognizing some of it's members for their outstanding achievements within our association. Some of the recipients were given awards based on their athletic abilities, while others were brought forward to highlight their contributions to the sport. This year at the Nationals Awards dinner in Louisville, Kentucky the USQRA recognized three such people. More

OMG!  Harlequins Win
By Ed Hooper

©Paralyzed Veterans of America; Sports ‘n Spokes. Photo by Mark CowanMany didn't think they would get out of their Section to play in D-I.  No one picked them to play in the finals.  Not many thought they could beat the seasoned veterans of Lakeshore in a prime time final. 

Problem is: Everyone forgot to consult the Denver Harlequins. They believed, and man did they play like they believed. 

And a star was born.  After 5 or 6 years of playing, a sometimes stormy fellow came of age.  And one hell of a rugby player emerged in 2006-07 in the person of Chance Sumner.  D-I MVP Sumner, a 3.0, combined brilliantly with 2.5 Ross Morrison, 1.5 Adam Scaturro, and the ".5 who could" Jason Regier (each best of class.)  The mountain men played inspired rugby, in the process forcing two 15 second violations against the Demolition.  Lakeshore probably hasn't had 2 of those in an entire tournament this season. More

Stampede Runs Wild
By Ed Hooper

There were no surprises at the top in D-II.  It was the Texas Stampede wire-to-wire.  The only real challenge to the Stampede was the Magee Eagles, who had a lead in the first half of their pool play game only to lose by 12 in the end.©Paralyzed Veterans of America; Sports ‘n Spokes. Photo by Mark Cowan

In a role they didn't relish, the Stampede played in D-II for the very first time.  But they settled in and kicked some serious butt along the way.  Three starters were named best of class: The irrepressible Bobby Boothby, Troye Collins, and Mark Zupan.

There was very competitive action, however, in the rest of D-II.  Pasadena Texans, led by 1.5 Steve Kearley and 3.0 Dave Bynum, lost an overtime heartbreaker to the Michigan Storm and suffered a one-point loss to the Lakeshore Destruction, and then later lost to the Tampa Generals by 1 in crossover play.  That's three losses by a total of 4 points.  Ouch!  The other side of that are big wins for 6 and 7 seeds. More

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