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  • Writer's pictureLawless

Hogs Draught Relief

It seems every other week there’s a charity run. So is it any wonder some of my peers seem to be over anything roughly resembling a charity run. I say power to them and the people behind these runs for giving up their time and making the unselfish effort of helping others. Aussies seem to be quick to give to other overseas charities because it seems to be politically correct! It takes events such as these to bring the issue to the public’s attention whilst helping worthy local charities, and at the same time promoting the biker lifestyle. I like to think if you’re 18 to 80, a baby boomer or a hard-arse biker and you’ve got a bike you have to get out there and support these runs. You never know when you or someone you know will need them. I digress, we’re here to talk about one blokes vision coming to fruition. The bloke’s name is Garry Copeland, “Pud” to his mates at Liverpool Hogs. Garry’s wife was listening to Sydney radio station 2GB and managed to catch a bloke talking about the draught and effects on rural communities and thought Garry might be interested. After listening to the bloke, Garry rang 2GB and got his first initial and surname, he then “Googled” the details and went about contacting all on the list. Garry found his man, the bloke’s name is Ross Thompson, Chairman of the NSW Farmers branch, Bathurst. Ross himself a farmer told Garry of the plight of not just the farmer but the regional communities. It was then Garry told Ross of his idea of organising the run. Garry, like others is very concerned with the suicide count due to the draught. He goes on to tell me about a woman from Young (country NSW) and the story he heard on the wireless. The woman tells about standing at the kitchen sink when she heard a gunshot, chilled to the bone thinking the worst, ran outside to find her husband had just shot a snake. The previous week the woman’s neighbour shot himself due to financial pressure and feared her husband did the same. Garry is a member of the Liverpool Hog chapter, though numbers where down on expected, the Hogs chapters were well represented with punters numbering around a few hundred. The run commenced at Penrith Panthers at the farmer like time of 10am, which was a stretch for any city slicker. The run was underway with the blessing of the Honourable Pat Shea (Mayor of Penrith) and a police escort through the Blue Mountains. Between you and me, I asked one of the officers if he minded escorting the run. He was wrapped and went on to say “it beats escorting a bunch of wogs protesting the war in Iraq” – on ya mate! With one fuel stop on the run it was smooth sailing to a Morse Park in Bathurst where we were met by our hosts, the honourable Norm Mann (Mayor of Bathurst), Jeannine Hosemans of local radio station 2BS and the smell of fresh pancakes prepared by the regional Salvation Army. When asked what Norm thought of the run, Norm said “It’s really hard to see the true effects of the draught, especially for city folk and the plight of the farmer”. Going on to say “the show of support was amazing and it’s great to see other members of the community getting involved”. The plan is to tuck into some fresh hot pancakes and then a ride through William St, the main street of Bathurst. The Salvation Army were beneficiaries of the funds, Garry’s reasons being the Salvos know the target areas to wisely distribute the funds. It’s said by the Salvos that they can take $50.00 and supply a family with a week’s

worth of essentials. A few of the Salvos bit the bullet and threw on a helmet for the ride down William Street. William Street was a buzz with people running from shops and hanging off pub verandahs and out of windows to see the commotion. From there it was back to the reserve to say thanks to the Salvo’s and off to the O’Connell Hotel, 20kms from Bathurst. A small country pub with plenty of country charm and a great comfy beer garden (only meters from the bar) and shit hot barmaids. There’s a rolling field to the makeship stage and to the left is a large paddock for the adventuress biker wanting to camp under the stars. Courtesy buses shuttled punters to and from pub style accommodation at pubs like the Panorama, Sundowners and Knickerbockers (yes Knickerbockers!) in Bathurst. Garry and the boys even went as far as getting security to guard the bike compound through the night in town. Entertainment was provided by local bands The Mexicans, Roadsiders and Nothing Fancy with the legendary 80’s pub band “The Radiators” coming up the rear, for a better choice of words. As luck would have it the heavens opened, it was threatening all day and was expected, but didn’t dampen any enthusiasm. Garry was hoping to raise around $10,000 for the couple of days and would like to make the Bathurst run an annual event with gate collections going to worthy causes. Me, I can’t get enough of these weekend events, and if the funds go to a worthy cause, great. What I really get out of these runs is meeting the people and the more the merrier. This is the second, first time events in as many weeks in country NSW with local communities doing it tough, the events circulate much needed dollars and business for the local community so it’s a win win situation.