Hurricane Sevens blends sport and social event

PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - During the first month of the football season, we've already seen some big hits.

At least those guys get to wear helmets and pads.

There's no denying that rugby players are tough. All day long at Aaron Bessant Park, hits echoed from across the field. Still, nothing stopped the players smiling.

Hurricane Sevens is hosted by Panama City Beach Rugby. For the event's 20th anniversary, 12 men's teams and four women's teams ranging from southern states including Georgia, Alabama, and Louisiana to as far as Knoxville, Tennessee.

What's better than sharing a potential bloody nose and a few beers on a Saturday?

"I think the thing that's so attractive about the sport is that you're so involved in it when you're doing it," Panama City Beach Rugby captain Brian Sharp said. "When you're out there running around trying not to get tackled, you're not worried about your taxes or if your garage door is working or anything like that."

For Sharp and his teammates, the event is right in their backyards. For the out-of-towners and out-of-staters, the camaraderie makes it worth the trip (and worth the bruises).

"The thing about rugby is it doesn't end when the games are over," Columbus/Fort Benning Rugby Club President Jeremy Bond explained. "Every team has a social that they offer to everyone whenever they host a tournament. So after this tournament is over, Panama City is going to hos a social. We all get to hang out and talk junk and give hugs and all that other stuff."

Tuna Sub, a team from Louisiana, won the men's tournament while PCB took the women's title.

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