International Polocrosse carnival confirmed
POLOCROSSE riders from across Queensland and New Zealand are set to battle it out for the first time in North Queensland, as Bowen Polocrosse Club has been awarded the right to host this year's International Coopers Challenge.
The Coopers Challenge is held every year between a Queensland representative team and a New Zealand representative team, and this year the 2020 event will take place in Bowen.
The club has successfully secured the backing from Whitsunday Regional Council, which is the sole platinum sponsor for the event that will take place in June alongside the Annual Polocrosse Carnival.
As it is the first time the event has ever been hosted outside southeast Queensland, it offers a unique chance for people to see the sport played at an elite level, but also a chance to publicise the Whitsundays and boost the economy of the area, event co-ordinator Del Norman said.
"When it was put to us by a committee member that we should look at hosting the international event, we thought 'hell yeah'," she said.
"It's very exciting for our club, it's the first time it's been north up in this area. It's a prestigious event and they chose Bowen.
"We'd like them to come up a day or two early to show the international teams our regions.
"If we can get some tours or organise some tourist activities with that we will inspire them to come back and holiday here."
Mrs Norman says their Annual Polocrosse Carnival usually gets about 300 visitors, but with the international teams and larger-scale event they hope it will be more.
"Our biggest hurdle is getting southern clubs up here but to have the Coopers Challenge here will encourage the bigger clubs up this way," she said.
"We are hoping, if we can get 20 teams, then it will probably be between 400 and 500 people."
Mrs Norman said the Bowen Club was known for having great facilities, with many players from Townsville, Giru and Proserpine choosing to represent Bowen instead of their local clubs.
"We have such a good reputation as a club with some of the best fields in Queensland, possibly even Australia, plus we always put on a good show," she said.
"The Queensland president (of the Polocrosse Association) has been up here two years in a row for the annual event and I think that's why we got this, she loved our fields and facilities.
"A lot of the committee members are based in the bigger cities so for us to be chosen is huge."
Bowen Polocrosse Club was formed in 1989, holding their first Annual Carnival in 1990 Mrs Norman says the support from the Bowen community has always been "great".
"This town is so generous we've had local sponsors for our annual event for 30 years. Every year Bowen does that, we're really fortunate.
"Even without the international event, the support we get is great."
The International Coopers Challenge and Annual Carnival will take place on June 13-14 at Bowen Polocrosse Club, with Mrs Norman saying the 2020 event will be "basically what we usually run, on a larger scale."
Over the two days there will be one international game played a day while the A, B and C grade competitions will run throughout the day.
Mrs Norman said the free event would have music, cheap food and drinks and encourages everyone to come down, warning that though the gate was closed for horse and rider safety they welcomed anyone to go in and join the action.
The Bowen Polocrosse Club is still looking for donations and sponsors and encourage anyone to reach out to the club if they are willing to help with the event.