by Jessica Lamb
THIS weekend's annual Paul Bowman Challenge is set to be the biggest to date, with 56 teams travelling to Proserpine from throughout Queensland.
The two-day rugby league carnival put on by Proserpine Junior Rugby League Club is open to under-9 players and has a focus on participation, good sportsmanship and enjoying the 'greatest game of all'.
The carnival is named in honour of former Queensland Origin player and North Queensland Cowboys legend Paul Bowman, who played his junior years with the Proserpine Junior Rugby League Club, progressing to A-grade with the Senior Brahmans.
Starting in 2008, this year marks the 10th anniversary of the event and will attract 840 junior players and 3000 visitors, including some making the trek from Brisbane and Cairns.
For a gold coin donation, spectators can cheer their team through six games across the weekend.
Eight pools of seven teams will compete for the glory of taking home the winning shield, including returning champions the Western Lions Kings from Townsville.
Last year, Proserpine's own U9s made the finals out of 54 teams, an exponential growth from just 12 competing at the tournament's inception.
Proserpine's Sam Faust, who played 24 matches for the Cowboys before losing his battle with leukemia, will be honoured in the U9 team Sam Faust Memorial Relay.
Organiser Stacey Bernett said she encouraged everyone to come along and have some fun at a great event.
"Paul Bowman Challenge is the club's major fundraiser for the year and on site there will be a canteen, Cafe Solutions, Proserpine Lions, Cold Rock and Kerry Williams Food Van, and we would appreciate you supporting us and them,” she said.
"We would like to say a big thank you to all our sponsors, our volunteers, the community and our groundskeeper Bill Stevens for our fields looking nice and green.”
Bacon and egg burgers will be available for sale from the canteen from 7am on both days and ice will be sold from the office for first aid supplies and water coolers.
For queries, phone Stacey Bernett on 0417791143 or visit the Facebook page.