Former Longhorn football standout Bryce River is on his way to a 13-day trip to Australia. The gridiron trip kicked off Tuesday at Los Angeles International Airport where River and his Arizona football teammates boarded Qantas Airlines for the 30-plus hour trip.
Before departing, River stopped by the Payson High School weight room to bid his former teammates adieu. River promised to represent Payson High well on the international football tour.
When the team arrived in Sydney, the players were treated to a sightseeing tour that included the famous Sydney Harbor, Home Bush (site of the 2000 Olympics), and Sydney Opera House.
For the next three days, the team will practice in early morning sessions. In the afternoon hours, players have free time to explore the countryside. Among the jaunts will be a visit to Blue Mountains where the teens will ride on what is billed as the "world's steepest train ride."
Next on the agenda is a short flight to the Gold Coast where the team will reside at the Beachcomber Hotel in Surfer's Paradise.
Several practices will be held there before the Down Under Bowl games kick off.
On game days, the team will be pitted against high school all-star teams representing other states.
If Arizona wins its first game, it qualifies for a championship showdown. A first-round loss would send the squad --oached by Terry Fair from South Mountain High School -- to a consolation battle.
To earn the $3,000 it took to participate in the exchange, River held several fund-raisers this spring including a benefit steak dinner that generated much of the money needed.