On Friday we left Alice and made for Ross River Homestead, the heat basically knocked me out for the day so there’s nothing to write about. Because we were early arrivals we had plenty of sites to choose from.
We were looking forward to an interesting Saturday and it didn’t disappoint us. When we came to Ross River just short of a week ago we passed a motorcyclist’s grave and by pure coincidence a memorial day was being held this weekend. We were warned that if we came back to stay we’d have to be prepared for a wild weekend with noise until 6am and then whatever went with “recovery day” on Sunday. The owner went a step too far when he warned us of Molotov Cocktails and Indian musicians who like to set up on one section of the Campground. Of course we felt it would be an experience of a lifetime.
Parts of the wrecked bike are on the gravesite replica but recoverable parts were used to rebuild a replacement which is owned and ridden by Fish’s brother, “Beez”.
I expected the bikers to arrive enmasse after the 12:00 memorial service at the gravesite but many arrived in dribs and drabs before that. They set themselves up in clusters around the campsite, some had swags and others buses, motorhomes, caravans, camper trailers or tents. Everyone was happy to be here though the numbers were down because of border closures.
There were events planned and I was impatient for them to start but everyone seemed very laid back, ready to have lunch, afternoon snacks….drinks etc and it was quite late in the afternoon before the fun began.
There was a slow bike race,
and a Paddymelon pitching competition where the competitors had to try and get a Paddymelon in a motobike helmet.
Later in the evening the special fundraising part started though every adult contributed because the Homestead waived the cost of sites and everyone paid $25 with the money going to “The Butterfly Connection”. That charity financially helps local families who have relatives in hospital far from Alice. Fish’s Run has always been a charity ride, until he was independent the money went to support Fish’s son.
There was a raffle, TowTruck won a prize in that, Buddha did well in the Slow Bike race and BoxHead was very generous at the auction. Bar mats raised hundreds or dollars and there were a couple of paintings which raised thousands. A prisoner made a sculpture which was auctioned, there were bread boards, mugs, clothes etc etc etc. Every year the run raises about $25 000.
I think the only disappointment for me was the band which didn’t even manage to entice people away from their campfires. There was no trouble getting to sleep though apparently the music did go on until quite late, NOT 6am though, it was definitely quieter at that time than most Caravan Parks. People we’d seen with “wobbly boots on” during the day all seemed to have recovered by morning.
Believe it or not I almost forgot, there was also a Burnout Competition and I have to admit that’s the one event I don’t understand but the Bikers seemed to enjoy it.
I think Fergus has earned his Certificate II in Camp Dogging, he’s silently watched a dingo prowling around the campground, played with bruisers and toy dogs equally well and when one biker was asked if he’d been upsetting the animals again replied, “No, we’re mates and he could teach that bruiser some manners”. His crowning achievement though was lying at our feet ignoring bikers doing burnouts!