The Timaru Bike Polo team will take leave for America today to take part in the 2017 World Hardcourt Bike Polo Championship.
The five-strong team, made up of Ash Manson, Karl Whittleston, Richard Brown, Sam Callander and Mike Broadhead, will spend 10 days competing in Lexington, Kentucky.
Their competition will join them in Kentucky after flying in from a variety of locations including Europe, South America, North America, Asia and Australia.
Manson said they had competed against one of the teams before, a combined Sydney/Melbourne team, but all the other teams would be fresh competition, “which is super exciting”.
He said the team had been doing “heaps and heaps” of training, including several nights of team practices.
“Plus a bit of solo polo,” he said.
The team had also been doing other gym and pool sessions, as well as a session with a psychologist to help them shift their mindset into the best playing headspace, he said.
“That was really cool.”
The group’s fundraising efforts had gone really well. More than $10,000 was raised during one event and 100 of Manson’s mother’s homemade beanies were sold.
He said the team was now just looking forward to competing after putting in all the preparation.
He would miss the opening of the fishing season for the first time in “many years” while at the competition, but planned to get some fishing in once he returned.
“There’s not many things I’d miss that for.”
It would be his first time in America and the team were the only New Zealand entrants.
He thanked Timaru and other South Canterbury residents for their support and interest in the competition.
Manson encouraged people to tune into the matches via the livestream video on the Timaru Bike Polo Facebook page.
“We’re looking forward to representing Timaru.”