“Behind the Eight Ball” – USA Open Men’s team

The team “Behind the Eight Ball” has had a long and successful history in the USA. The team reclaimed the National title this year for the 12th consecutive season. Though some of the members have changed over its 12 year history, the core members have continued. This season the longest running member, Mike Reid, has retired. Chris “Mongo” Reeder still continues to be at the heart and soul of the team. The team has had great success in the past World Champioships, from Costa Rica, the Netherlands, Bosnia, and Korea, maybe because they have over 80 years combined experience in rafting…

The team members of the USA Team love the outdoors and because they live in Colorado they have the luxury of so many activities year around. Three members of the team are Ski Patrollers in nearby ski areas (Vail, Breckenridge and Beaver Creek). From Mountain Biking to skiing they all love being outside no matter what! Read an interview with them from last year.

USA BiHJohn Seelig answers some of our questions in this interview about going to New Zealand and the honour of representing the USA at the WRC 2013. The team is: Chris “Mongo” Reeder, Seth Mason, Andrew Bishop, Jordan Kurt-Mason, Matt Norfleet, John Mark Seelig.

John, have any of you been to New Zealand before?

“One of our members, Jordan Kurt-Mason, was a guide in New Zealand. Two other members have traveled and rafted on the beautiful rivers in New Zealand. Myself and other members have dreamed of rafting and traveling in New Zealand.That Dream is coming true!!!”There’s nothing like realizing a dream!

What preparations and training has your team been doing ahead of this competition and on which rivers are you training?

USA2“Crazy Mountain Brewery, which is a local brewery, has helped us become the fittest raft team – so, you better watch out Japan! Only kidding. Since we have added two new members to the team we are concentrating on time in the boat. Spending time in the boat together and becoming in sync cannot be beaten. There is no training regiment or strength program that can replace team chemistry. Luckily we have the Colorado river right in our backyard.”

Through these interviews  we have already confirmed that the chemistry between the people is the key, that opportunity to spend plenty of time in the boat together even more key, but the possibility of training on the mighty Colorado river is something quite noteworthy!

Do you have any expectations related to the results …. and what are your expectations generally?

“Truly, we are just hoping to have a blast! We get the privilege of going to the World Championships – oh, and they are in New Zealand, which is very much icing on the cake. Getting on the podium in an event would be pretty awesome too!”

USA KoreaWhich discipline is your team’s favorite?

“H2H is probably our favorite. Out of all of the events we typically excel in this discipline.”

Will you be able to stay a little while after the event?

“We are definitely sticking around after. The team will be there a week before the scheduled practice. We are sending some of our wives and girlfriends to go play all over New Zealand while we are training.”Lucky them!

Is there something that those touring there would particularly like to see and experience?

“We would definitely like to see Bilbo Baggins. (I bet New Zealand people are tired of all the Lord of the Rings jokes) Actually we are all excited to see and raft the rivers.That is our love and passion, so that is #1 on the priority list.”

usa 01Why is your team color black? Looking at the photos from the WRC 2011 we see you in white there, a blinding white! 

“Haha! I’m not sure why we were white that year. That might have been Teva’s request since they were our major sponsor. We have always been big fans of black, much more intimidating!!”

Sponsors who do you want to thank?

“We would like to thank Teva, Oakley, Timberline Tours, Steadman Clinic, Kind Design, WRSI, and NRS”

The WRC competition is now so close and I cannot wait to see these guys compete. The Open Men’s competition will be strong this year, there is no doubt that one or two points will decide the positions, so to you guys we wish you good strokes and of course a good time in New Zealand.

Article by Nada