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Utah Warriors Announce Iosepa Series Alternate Kit For July 10 Match

(Courtesy of Utah Warriors)

HERRIMAN, Utah – The Utah Warriors today released their Iosepa Series Limited Edition kit that pays homage to the settlement of Iosepa, Utah by Polynesian Pioneers, established in 1889. The kit will be worn for Utah’s home match against Rugby ATL on Saturday, July 10 as part of the Warriors’ Rugby Alumni weekend that will honor Utah’s rich rugby tradition and those teams and individuals that have built a long-standing history of success.

Iosepa, a now-deserted ghost town located 75 miles southwest of Salt Lake City, was originally settled in the late 1800’s by recent converts to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, who had joined the church in Polynesia and wanted to join other members in Utah. In 1889 a group of three Hawaiian converts and three LDS missionaries chose a 1,920-acre site in Skull Valley, previously known as Quincy Ranch, as the gathering place for the South Sea Islanders.

These settlers chose the name Iosepa, a Hawaiian form of Joseph, as the name of their settlement in honor of Joseph F. Smith, one of the first LDS missionaries to come to the Hawaiian Islands.

The Polynesian Settlers soon built stores, churches, schools and homes in Iosepa as they began to irrigate and cultivate the area. Despite their best efforts, the settlement of Iosepa is considered an unsuccessful attempt at colonization and years later, when an LDS Temple was constructed in Laie, Hawaii, most Iosepa residents chose to return to the Islands.

Iosepa is now deserted but is the historical home to Utah’s Polynesian community and to the remains of buildings once inhabited by these Polynesian Pioneers. In 1989 the LDS Church dedicated a monument at the Iosepa cemetery that featured a bronze bust of a Polynesian Warriors in honor of Iosepa’s early settlers.

“Part of Utah’s deep rugby roots date back not just decades, but centuries with the arrival of the Polynesian Pioneers to the city of Iosepa in the late 19th century,” said Utah Warriors CEO and Chairman Kimball Kjar. “These families represented everything the Warriors try to emulate with our Core Values as they carved out an unbelievable existence in one of Utah’s harshest climates in the West Desert. We honor these families who were the first Polynesians to Utah and the forebearers for Utah’s rich Polynesian legacy and the influence that community has had on the game of rugby here in Utah.”

The Utah Warriors 2021 alternate kit features elements that are an homage to one of Utah’s natural wonders and its history, the Bonneville Salt Flats, located near the Iosepa settlement in Utah’s West Desert.

Visual patterns and color palettes are derived from the overarching look and feel of the Bonneville Salt Flats. The white represents the salt residue and minerals of the Salt Flats makeup. The cracking pattern over the white is also a re-emphasis of the ground at the Salt Flats. ‘Salt Flats’ blue is visually prominent to represent the contrasting sky and water pockets that exist till this today.

“Themes from the Salt Flats were incorporated into the Iosepa alternate jerseys to symbolize the gathering spot of elements from around the world,” said Warriors Creative Director Wiliam Racule. “The water that once was Lake Bonneville came from various places outside of Utah and collected in the region. Overtime, parts of the lake dried up leaving behind the salt and minerals that are now the Salt Flats. Rugby in the State of Utah is like the Salt Flats. Just as the salt and minerals were brought to Utah by Lake Bonneville and were left behind in the Salt Flats, Rugby was brought to Utah by various cultures and traditions, including Polynesian groups similar to that of Iosepa. Over time, those who originally brought it with them have passed on leaving behind remnants of the original rugby traditions and cultures creating a foundation for it to continue on in the modern era.”

The Utah Warriors will wear the Iospea kit on July 10th as part of their OnWatch Celebration of Rugby as a tribute to rugby’s existence and to honor those who have come before, unknowingly laying the foundation for rugby as it is today.

Following the game, the jerseys will be auctioned off with the proceeds going to the Utah Warriors Rugby Foundation, which helps to grow the sport of rugby in the local under-served communities at the youth level.

For an in-depth look at the Iosepa alternate kit, Click Here.

For more information on the OnWatch Celebration of Rugby, Click Here.

Bid Now on the game-worn Iosepa Jerseys, to be worn on July 10.