Riders salute Warwick
TWO thousand hooves in perfect formation paraded through Morgan Park yesterday, carrying 500 of the nation's elite polocrosse players at the official opening of the Barastoc Polocrosse Nationals.
It was a sight to melt hearts as the six states proudly rode side by side beneath the Australian flag, to the cheers of supportive spectators.
Sport Federation of Queensland chairman Peter Cummiskey opened the event and said he was privileged to stand before the calibre of sports men and women mounted before him.
"This is a highlight to come and open the Nationals, having opened the world championships and state championships," Mr Commiskey said.
"Ten thousand spectators will come to watch these very people in front of us."
Flaunting a maroon tie, he made no effort to hide which state he was barracking for.
"May the best state, which is probably Queensland," he said.
Mayor Ron Bellingham also addressed the parade and Polocrosse Association of Australia president Gil Mathie shared thoughts with the crowd.
"It's marvellous to see all the efforts put in here today," Mr Mathie said.
"We've got to be really proud of this."
Director of the PAA Barney Langford said the grand parade not only created a special atmosphere, but one of togetherness and pride.
"This is the culmination of the best polocrosse in the world," Mr Langford said.
"This is the pinnacle of our sport."
Mr Langford said it was the efforts behind the players who travelled from the other side of the country that made this event all the more special.
"It's absolutely amazing to see the culmination of all the travel which started weeks ago," he said.
"Western Australia brought 99 horses, and spent a bare minimum of $50,000 on diesel.
"And that's one way."
As host state, Queensland led the parade, followed by Northern Territory, New South Wales, Western Australia, Victoria and South Australia at the rear.
The parade was followed by the first two games, Qld v SA in the Men's Challenge Cup and NSW v VIC in the Mixed Masters.