Cotton to Cane

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Variety Fire Truck

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UPDATED 1st October 2012

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OVFIRE is a Brisbane Queensland entrant in Variety Clubs Charity Bash

events that helps raise funds for sick children

Day 0 and 1 – Dalby to Kilkivan



Well here we go again for another year on the XXXXGold Variety Bash 2012, Dalby to Mackay. “Cotton to Cane”. All the fund raising done, OV Fire serviced and packed ready to go.




It was a leisurely drive up to Dalby with another Bash vehicle, the Top Hat Lounge, a few days before the Bash started. We had official duties to help Variety get ready for the start. One of the duties is to help scrutineer the bash cars before they are allowed to go. They need to be safe and roadworthy before any of them get on the road. Another duty was to show a little boy, with such a big heart, over the fire truck and Blazer came to say hello. Once he saw Blazer, he tried to get out of the wheel chair to get to Blazer faster because Mum was going to slow. By his reaction, he was impressed with OV Fire and Blazer. After we had finished, we went to the Dalby Fire Station to meet up with an old mate that was in charge, Brad Jeffs. He showed us around the old station where they had a small museum of the Fire Fighting history of the Dalby area.




At the start line, Dalby put on a very cool morning for us, plenty of ice and frost. It was good to catch up with old friends at the start line, even if they looked a bit different than last year. The main street was closed off for the start and the bashers made heaps of noise when we left. Dalby would of known we were there.




We had no official duties for the day and during the morning we had some school visits where we handed out Fire Education material and  McDonald cookies. The schools were, Kogan State School, Burra Burri State School and Durong South State School. There was another School which we were suppose to go and visit but the whole of Brigalow State School went out for the day. Was it something we said??? At Kogan school, Clive took a liking to a pet pig and now he wants one.




We arrived at a dam called Lake Boondoomba where the locals supplied a very nice lunch. After lunch the local school of Proston came down to see the bash and we were asked if we could talk to the kids about Variety and Fire Safety. Lawrence took the lesson and did a great job. After the lesson, all the kids wanted to give Blazer a high five or a cuddle.




The afternoon bash run was pretty easy and had two passport stops (Passport stop – is a Hotel that will donate to Variety when we stop and have a look at their establishment. These are good to stop at, as most of the time they are an iconic Hotel with plenty to look at ). One was at the Hivesville Hotel which we had been to before on a previous bash and the other was Kilkivan Hotel which is owned by Fred Brophy (the travelling boxing ring). At this Hotel, Variety carried out the Virgin Bashers initiation into the Variety family. All the virgins stand in front of the Hotel to get their photo taken but unknown to them there is someone above them on the balcony with a bucket of cold water, so when the countdown starts for the photo, one, two and down comes the water. Clive was in the photo but I think he was aware something was going on.




From here it was a short drive into the night stop at Kilkivan Bush Camp. We were all camping and sleeping in swags. We were told the temperature was going to drop to around zero. Once we knew this, I think the decision was made not to drink too much that night so we didn’t have to get up in the middle of the night, to go and you know what, in the freezing cold.


Day 2 – Kilkivan to Agnes Waters


What a night and a cold one at that. We were told it got down to -4 and yes I had to get up and do you know what, Brrrrr. We all had to get up before daylight as we had official duties first up. The drive to the check point was rather cold as you may be able to tell by the photos and I am calling it snow in the fields as we drove by. I wish the mechanic of OV Fire would fix the heater in the truck (one day!!!).








Once we got to the check point we had to help set up the fun stop as well. We supplied the water for the jelly crystals for the jelly wrestling. One of the draw backs was the way we stirred the crystals in the water, which was in a tank in -4 degrees, and that was by hand. Once the fingers was numb it wasn’t that bad. The jelly wrestling was a big success and lucky for them the sun warmed it up first.




Due to some break downs of bash cars that occurred in the morning run, our check point went on for a long time and was instructed to go direct to lunch at Monto State School.


OV Fire had our first visitor, Megan from car “Five O’clock Somewhere” who stayed with us until the end at Agnes Waters. We did half the bash route and then went direct to the overnight stay at Agnes Waters because we were running late.


The open wheeled “BENTLY” is said to be worth $200 000.


Day 3 – Agnes Waters to Moura


OV Fire had official duties today and that was a lunch time check-in point at the Raglan Hotel. So we went direct up the highway and through a lot of road works. As we pulled into the position for the check point, some bash cars followed us in and we asked them did they come direct, to which they said no, they came the bash route. Those road works did slow us down more than we thought. We quickly set up as the cars were coming in. All the cars came in early for the lunch time break so it was a quick check point.



“I don’t navigate Jarvis” finally decided to navigate.




We left lunch early to go and do our next official duty, which was to run a road side random breath test on the bashers after a passport stop at the Dululu Hotel. Once we set up for the random breath test in a place called Banana, a few locals set up position in the park beside us to watch the procession of bash cars stopping to be tested. I can report that there was no driver even close to the legal limit which is what Variety wants. We are doing these random tests just for an awareness to the bashers and we are well accepted for doing this.


Once the basher had gone past our random breath test, it was a quick drive into our night stop at Moura.


Day 4 – Moura to Roma


OV Fire had no official duties and we had to follow the bash route and help anyone that needed assistance.


Today’s bash was going through a gorgeous area called the Arcadia Valley. It was an uneventful drive and gave us plenty of time to take in the area. The only thing was a steep climb up a range and was a slow drive up but the old girl handled it well. Once at the top, there was a lookout that looked over the whole Arcadia Valley, so the slow climb was well worth it.





The lunch stop was another nice drive to Injune where the Injune State School provided lunch. Even though it was a Sunday, the children of Injune had a great turn out to the School. I think some of them wanted the Monday off because of this, but I don’t think that was going to happen, sorry kids!!!




After a great lunch it was another easy drive into Roma for the overnight stop. The night was a theme night, “Back to the 80’s and Karaoke night”. One problem with the night was, it was again sooooo cold and the outfits and the vocal cords did not work in the cold.  


Day 5 – Roma to Tambo


We are now half way and this morning was a bit fresh, around the zero mark and again OV Fire had no official duties except to help others where possible. We thought it was going to be an easy day, but it was one of our busiest so far, but a good busy.




OV Fire had another visitor,  which she is becoming a regular each year. It is Trish the official Variety photographer. It was a laugh a minute with Trish for the morning run and we arrived at a fun stop which was a candy store in the middle of nowhere. The Variety clowns decided to play a game where the players tie a balloon around their ankle and try and pop all the others fist before theirs is popped. It looks so funny when they are running around trying to get each other but at the same time trying to protect their balloon.




We left the fun stop ahead of the bash field to set up at a creek crossing. We set OV Fire up to pump water out of the creek so we could wet all the bashers as they went past. We were there for a few hours and had a great time. Blazer had a visit from some friends, Bear and Panda.







The road from this point, got really rough and at one part we came up to a detour around a large hole in the road. The detour was very sandy and boggy and everyone was getting stuck. It was decision time, go around the hole and get bogged or hit the hole at speed to get across it. The decision was to hit the hole and pray for no damage. Clive was driving and he hit the hole at the right speed and OV Fire then became OV AIR. The whole truck was airborne and landed perfectly. Everything in the cab went everywhere in slow motion and hit the ceiling of the cab. Once we landed, none of us could stop laughing and Trish was the worst. When we looked up at all the people standing around, they were all cheering and clapping. Once we got out of the truck to check for damage, everyone said it looked amazing the truck airborne but no one got a photo. They did say do it again but we were not going to push our luck. We looked over OV Fire for damage and couldn’t find any except we may have put a small split in the water tank. Phew that was lucky.




Lunch was at the Augathella State School and we gave away some more Fire Education and McDonald cookies. Some nice manners at this school.


Lloydy had a phone call for help from some friends in the Top Hat Lounge. They needed a driver and being ladies day on the Top Hat Lounge, how could Lloydy refuse. Someone has to take one for the team. No, no I am sure I can do it. We meet up with them at a passport stop, Ellangowan Hotel.



When we arrived, the girls had organised to take some local children for a ride in the fire truck. How could we refuse. The guys drove around the town of Augathella with lights on and siren blaring. When the children got out the smiles on their faces was priceless.


Now being the driver of the Top Hat Lounge, it was my job to get the girls out of the Hotel and into the bus. That was a bit of a challenge in its self. It was starting to get a bit late and we still had about 120km to go. The sun was going down. It was a very funny drive into Tambo.




Tambo was the night stop and it was at the Tambo race track. The nights theme was “Fashions on the Fields” and yes Lloydy got talked into wearing a dress for the night but no photo’s (I hope)!!!  



Oh the things you find on the net !


Day 6 – Tambo to Clermont


After a big night in Tambo, we were on the road again to Clermont through the Gemfield towns of Sapphire, Anakie, The Willows and having lunch at Rubyvale. The drive was to this point, the most scenic we have had.


OV Fire did have official duties today but was not until after lunch, so we could travel with the bash pack to lunch. We left 10 minutes early from the start to get up the road before the pack starts to pass us, which usually slows us down as we pull over and slow down a bit so they can pass. In the previous year’s this happens not that far up the road before the pack catches us, but today we were travelling a good hour before two bash cars caught up and passed us. We were thinking we took a wrong turn somewhere until this point. Defiantly the bashers were taking it a lot easier this year. We followed on top of a ridge for some time and the scenery of the mountains in the distance was breathtaking. The mountains looked as though they were snow capped (again did we take a wrong turn and were heading south?). We even located a well known Australian icon, A drop Bear!!!





Because we were so far in front, we thought we would tape up a grid with no entry tape to slow the bashers down even more. From a distance, we saw the cars pull up to the grid and think what to do.



Once we got into Rubyvale and was the second vehicle in (this has never happened before) we sat down to have our lunch and had a visit from some locals who liked to sit on our heads. The crew of OV Fire even had time to go for a walk around the town before we had to leave for our check point.



Another visitor for the afternoon run, Sam from the Top Hat Lounge came with us and helped set up our check point. Blazer had a visit from his mates, Bear and Panda. While the workers did the check point, Blazer played with his mates and all the bashers coming past.




Once we had finished our check point we travelled into the mining town of Clermont. We knew we must be at a mining town by what was coming past us on the other side of the road. One was so big, we actually had to get off the road to let it pass.




Day 7 – Clermont to Yeppoon


Today is the longest run of the bash, nearly 600km drive to Yeppoon. We had no official duties, so we could enjoy the leisurely drive and help anyone that needed it.


Another spectacular drive through Central Queensland passing through towns such as Capella, Comet, Blackwater and stopping at Dingo State School for lunch. We passed a place called Bedford Weir on the Mackenzie River which looked great with the water flowing over it. This was a definite stop and get out and have a look around moment. I am pretty sure no bashers kept driving pass this without stopping. One part of the bash route was a deep river crossing which OV Fire had no trouble negotiating but many of the bash cars didn’t.





We arrived at Dingo State School were all the children was out to meet us with a great big smile. OV Fire crew handed out leaflets and talked about Fire Safety and not forgetting the McDonald cookies.


When lunch was completed, it was a drive straight up the highway through Rockhampton and in the back way passed Emu Park to Yeppoon. The drive along the water front from Emu Park and Yeppoon at dusk was a great sight and the water looked so inviting.


Tonight we can let go and relax as tomorrow is a Lay day and you can get up when you want and do what you want for the day. No bashing.  


Day 8 – Yeppoon to Yeppoon


Today is a day off from bashing, but Variety was opening a Liberty Swing down at Emu Park so the crew of OV Fire decided to go down and support Variety and to show our Virgin Basher (Clive) what Variety does. It was such a great turn out from a lot of bashers and made the day for a lot of the local children. The Liberty Swing is not just for the young but for all ages that has missed out on a swing in their lives.






When we had finished at the opening, we all drove into Rockhampton to visit the QFRS Workshops and clean and prepare OV Fire for the next section of the bash. A few minor running repairs and the old girl was ready again.


Had a nice relaxing lunch and then back to the resort for some downtime. Well that’s what we thought, until we came across a beach party. You know we have to be sociable... lol


Day 9 – Yeppoon to Clairview


After a great rest (yeh right) we were up early to do our official duties but today was a bit different. Every time you’re up early and on the road, you miss out on breakfast, but not today. Today our official duty is the to do a check in and check out at the breakfast stop 60km up the road at The Caves State School. This made us first for breakfast which is a first for us.


This was a quick check point for us and we were away on a great drive through some private properties. These were Glenavon Station and Pinchester Station. The road or soon to be track, became a little boggy but Clive kept his foot down and powered through. Again we drove on a great track and was just a beautiful area. Finally we came to a school, Clarke Creek State School for our lunch time break. This small school out in the bush, was so welcoming to the bashers and all the bashers unloaded most of their free give a way stuff as this was the last school visit of the bash. The children had huge plastic bags choc a block full of goodies. It was a great sight to see.










After lunch we had a visitor on the truck, Georgie from the Variety office. It was only a short 106km trip to our overnight stop to get there, but had to negotiate a very, very steep descent. Trev just took his time going down the CLIFF and once down an easy drive into Clairview.


We were in early enough to go for a walk on the beach at dusk and take in the area. Tonight we were swagging it and set up our camp. It was not going to be as cold as the first night of the bash.


The top ten fundraisers were announced and the top fundraiser for this year raised a record breaking $259 000. What an effort!!! Also announced was the total of the combined effort of all fundraisers for this year, $1.43 million. What an effort for all and well done for helping to raise much needed funds for the sick and disadvantaged children of Queensland. OV Fire got bumped out of the top ten but we still raised a great amount of $22 000.


A big surprise for the nights entertainment was Angry Anderson from Rose Tattoo sung for us. Great night.




Day 10 – Clairview to Mackay


After we had a nice comfy night in the swags, it was our last day of the bash for another year. Before we went anywhere, our first duty today was to put out the camp fire. No task is too big for OV Fire.




Today we had to go direct to a mustering point for all the bash cars to assemble before heading into Mackay to the finish. We didn’t really want to go the bash route as the steep hill we came down yesterday, we needed to go back up today. So a nice easy drive to the mustering point was good.




All the bash cars were in for lunch and then the call for them to get moving to the finish line was given. The top ten fundraisers led the procession  of all the bash cars into Mackay and over the finish line. Once across it was time to reflect and say goodbyes.


The last night was a gala night and awards were given out to bashers for various activities they did along the way. And again to say goodbyes to all the Variety family that you make along the way. It is good the bash is over for another year but sad we leave some great friends for another year.  




The day after


Before the drive home from Mackay, there was one more thing to do. One of the bash teams has a fund raiser for Variety and that is “Konvoy 4 Kids” (No I didn’t spell Konvoy wrong). So OV Fire entered. An old Variety Bash team mate Geoff was in Mackay and joined/Drove OV Fire in the Konvoy 4 Kids.


There was about 140 trucks of all different shapes and sizes, left Sarina (a town about 40km south of Mackay) in a procession all the way into Mackay. The police led the way and all the intersections were blocked off so we had a straight run. There was so many people including a lot of children, lined the streets cheering and waving. The trucks were blowing their horns all the way. At the end there was a carnival for the children and all the trucks lined up to be judged. It was great to be a part of this.





A nice safe drive back to Brisbane and it was over for another year.


I would like to thank the crew of OV Fire, their families, friends, supporters and the sponsors which made this bash possible. With all this help, we will make a difference to the sick and disadvantaged children of Queensland.


Hope to see you next year!





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