COUNTRY music superstar Dolly Parton should expect a rush of hirsute visitors to her Tennessee theme park in 2016 with the US city of Nashville announced as the next host for the Bingham Cup.

The announcement comes just months after Sydney wrapped up its widely-praised hosting duties for the tournament which saw the Sydney Convicts retain the cup and was praised by the head of Australian Rugby Union, Bill Pulver, as being a “phenomenal” event of “spirit and joy”.

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The Tamworth of the US beat competition from Chicago to host the biannual tournament which is named after Mark Bingham, one of the leading lights in the development of gay rugby and a victim of the September 11 terrorist attacks.

International Gay Rugby chairman Jeff Wilson said the bids from the Nashville Grizzlies and the Chicago Dragons teams both aimed to build on the success of Sydney which saw government ministers, the Governor-General, the US Ambassador to Australia and thousands of fans attend matches.

“Following in the footsteps of Bingham Cup 2014 in Sydney, both bidding organisations realised that the bar had been set even higher for the next tournament,” he said.

“Both Chicago and Nashville responded with comprehensive plans that not only provided for excellent rugby, but an opportunity to raise the visibility of our sport and our mission to another level.”

Wilson said he looked forward to working with the Grizzlies “to make Bingham Cup 2016 the biggest and most successful Bingham Cup to date”.

 

Bingham Cup Sydney 2014 president Andrew Purchas commended both cities’ submissions and said Nashville would put on a unique tournament.

“The warmth of the south will create a very different Bingham but it will undoubtedly be a fantastic event,” he said.

With a population of around 600,000, the capital of Tennessee is more than four times smaller than Chicago.

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However, its cultural impact on the US music scene has seen its influence spread well beyond its borders.

Major Tennessee attractions include the Grand Ole Opry, considered the home of country music, a full scale replica of the Athens Parthenon and, of course, the Dollywood theme park where Bingham-goers can re live Parton’s rise to fame at the Chasing Rainbows museum before trying their hand at Dolly’s Demolition Derby.

While the gay scene in Nashville is somewhat smaller than Sydney’s, organisers promise they will “secure some exciting nightlife celebrations and activities,” particularly around the city’s Church St gay strip.

Nashville becomes the eighth city to host the Bingham Cup, following San Francisco, London, New York, Dublin, Minneapolis, Manchester and Sydney.

Meanwhile, the organisers of the Sydney tournament have donated $6000 to a charity helping people with sports-related injuries.

The money, which was partially raised through donations at Bingham events held at Sydney’s Beresford, Stonewall and Kinselas hotels, was presented at the Cauliflower Club’s annual lunch on Friday.

During the event, which attracted the great and good of Australian rugby, attendees were also shown a presentation showing the high points of this year’s cup.

Bingham Cup Sydney 2014 President Andrew Purchas presents a $6000 cheque for the Cauliflower Club to Wallabies and international rugby legend David Campese

Bingham Cup Sydney 2014 president Andrew Purchas presents a $6000 cheque for the Cauliflower Club to Wallabies and international rugby legend David Campese

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