Heavy rain has put the NZ Polo Open in such a spin organisers are bringing in a chopper to dry the pitch.
At a $1000 an hour plus running cost, organisers are getting the twin engine Squirrel to hover its way over Clevedon’s Fisher Field, south of Auckland, to help dry the ground.
More than 90mm of rain has fallen in the past 48 hours making it too unstable for Sunday’s event.
Polo, a dangerous sport under normal dry conditions, is risky in the wet for the fleet-footed ponies and the professional teams riding them.
Open executive director Hannah Marshall said, “we are doing whatever it takes to ensure the competition is a great one”.
Now in its 40th year, the Clevedon event had a “strong reputation on the global polo calendar,” Marshall said.
The downwash from the multi-million dollar Squirrel’s rotors should blast away remaining moisture from the field.
Helicopters have been used in the US to dry football fields before high profile matches.
In 2015, Los Angeles baseball team the LA Angels brought in a helicopter to shoo-away ankle-deep water on their diamond.
— Angels (@Angels) July 20, 2015
The pricey technique has also been used at the renowned Argentine Polo Open, the world’s most illustrious polo tournament.