The Texas Stampede hosted a five test match series against the Internationally ranked number four Australia Steelwheelers In Austin Texas last week. The friendship tour begin as an idea between Coach Brad Dubberly and coach James Gumbert.
“After so many years of friendship both on and off the court between myself and Gumbie, as mates and opposing coaches of National Teams, also Bondy (Chris Bond one of Australias best players) playing for Texas, it was such an awesome opportunity to bring our Australian Team (mixed with experience and development level athletes) to Texas for a friendship tour and a 5 game series. For our athletes to gain this experience is huge following what has unfolded over the last few years with COVID. This trip will no doubt help us both short and long term. This is something that would be amazing to continue to build between our Australian and Texas teams as we prepare for 2028 LA Paralympic Games. It is great to have both the Australian and Texas teams benefit from a great friendship that Gumbie and I have built over so many years” said coach Brad Dubberly.
“For us it was a no brainer. We haven’t had a quality competition since November of 2021 and Brad calls and asks if we can find a way to make something happen. To have them travel this far and give us the level of competition they did was amazing. We feel like everyone got so much better from beginning to end. Our sponsors were thrilled to see us be able to have such a quality competition against such a highly ranked international team. For some of our athletes it was the first time they had ever seen an international team and to be able to play them on homeground was huge. Weather it was our national team members or rec players every one of them expressed how they felt like they got better because of the series”. said Coach James Gumbert.
“With so many events canceled and postponed in division one and competitions moved around for the national team it was a very lean year of high level competition. Heading to nationals this week we feel like that this competition has helped us be the best team we can be. We are looking forward to be able to use the experience we gained from this week”. said Gumbert
The friendship tour was the first of its kind for the Stampede but hopefully not the last. Conversations are already underway for future events and competitions. Follow wwwfearthesteer.org for more information.