Cup Day 2015 will be one to remember for many people.
As the race that stops the Nation, the Melbourne Cup, is run over 3,200 metres, by no more than 24 horses and take about 3 minutes. Run at 3.05 for the last 15 years or so, it is very much a ritual.
The similarities with the Male Bag Ride are clear to be seen. It has no more than 26 riders, pretty close, it occasionally stops a street as we pass by, and where the Cup takes about 3 minutes, the MBR takes at least 3 minute stops… Sometimes more frequently than some blokes would like.
And so it is that the Cup stopped the ride today, twice. The first time to run a sweep, the 2nd we were assured would be somewhere that we could listen to the race, even if was just all of the Baggers hovered around the wireless, just like when Pharlap won the Cup back in the 1930’s. Alas the best laid plans. While history was being made with Michelle Payne being the first female jockey to win the Cup and on a 100:1 long shot, we were somewhere between Moonambel and Dunolly (incidentally a town that used to have 2 pubs – now both closed)
The support crew, the van and Ute Jockeys got to hear history made while 15 riders were all occupied inside their own little thought bubbles oblivious to what was taking place. The sweep was won by NSW ex Police Sergeant Greg Smith.
The day did start in Horsham however with a ripping breakfast at Nexus Youth Services arranged by our Man of the Leathers (Rev John McMahon) who then gave us all an insight into his own personal journey from a young boy in Belfast, who moved to Scotland before emigrating to Australia as an 11 year old self confessed “ fat kid” who was bullied at school. Rev’s story should serve as an inspiration to all about overcoming adversity and understanding the power of love.
Lunch was at Taltarni wines www.taltarni.com.au/ where the Taltarni team put on a fantastic lunch, salads to die for, steak, shasliks and very good sausages. After all what is an Australian BBQ on Cup Day without a great banger.
In a big presentation to the Baggers, a cheque was presented for $3,000 that was a result of Taltarni running a promotion. A massive shout out to Taltarni and there will sure be a Bagger or two returning when they have some time to sample some of the great product and a car boot with room to take a case or two home.
Our digs for the night in Bendigo was the Budget motel at Kangaroo Flat so that it was close to the Bendigo Stadium where we would be heading for dinner with a big crew who were attending the Blue Boys Back to Bendigo. We heard Bendigo and its region provided a constant stream of AFL/VFL players of which Carlton were fortunate to have them.
Some very cool stories told on the night but the show stealer had to be Alex Marcou (who was as we found out not from Bendigo but Thomastown) as he recounted the story of the ’81 and ’82 premiership teams being invited to the Lodge by the then Prime Minister and no 1 ticketholder at Carlton, Malcolm Fraser. Who would have known that Queen Victoria gifted a crested cutlery set to the Australian Government on the birth of Federation and that it is counted out and counted in every time it is used. Evidently on or two premiership winning players didn’t initially, but soon found out a few days after the ’82 visit.
Auctions took place and all up Cup Day provided smiles all around to the Baggers as we were able to bank another $7,000 plus towards the improvement of men’s health.
A very big thanks to the Carlton boys for their generosity of time.