Mustang CAT, in collaboration with the local professional rugby team, the Houston Sabercats, raised $5,000 in support of the St. Thomas High School Rugby team. The collaboration raised funds through a program entitled, “Bucks for the Ruck.” Mustang CAT Vice President and General Manager of Mustang Power Systems, Kurt Hanson (STH Class of ’83), had the idea to create the program for the STH rugby program through the company’s sponsorship of the Houston Sabercats.
Mustang CAT, a privately held company headquartered in Houston, TX, serves as the forefront of construction and power systems equipment. The company has been a supporter of the STH Athletic program since 2010. They have provided CAT electric power and heavy equipment for the construction efforts around the campus.
The program was derived from the term, “ruck,” which is a play in rugby when the ball is on the ground and multiple players surround it with their feet. Players must not handle the ball in the ruck, and must use their feet to move the ball or drive over it so that it emerges at the team’s hindmost foot, at which point it can be picked up. “I created the program as a play on words using the term, ‘ruck,’ with bucks (dollars) for the Sabercats games. Every time that the Sabercabs made a successful penalty kick, Mustang CAT agreed to make a donation to the St. Thomas High School rugby team,” said Hanson.
The St. Thomas Rugby program was started by Coach Jeff Wolfinger in 1999 and had 19 players. Over the last few years, the team has increased to 36 players, has had over 200 wins and qualified for four national championships. The program has produced 14 high school All Americans, numerous collegiate All Americans and one senior U.S. National team player, Kingsley McGowan, and one professional player for the Houston Sabercats, Conor Mills.
The Houston Sabercats, formerly the Houston Strikers, was founded in 2017, and played their first season in 2018. Mustang CAT set their sponsorship in place with the Sabercats last year through the help of St Thomas rugby coach, Marty Powers. “It is remarkable that a major corporation like Mustang CAT sees value in aligning with our rugby program,” said Coach Jeff Wolfinger. Wolfinger adds, “Bucks for the Ruck establishes a fund that enables us to increase the quality of the player welfare and experience in rugby.”
“It is Mustang’s hope that through Bucks for the Ruck that the rugby program will continue to grow and succeed for many years to come,” said Hanson.