postheadericon Cushy Kojonup Caper Setter's Report

We’ve broken our duck and set and vet our first rogaine. We’ve experienced the highs and lows of finding and losing sites for the event (Kojonup was the fourth site we looked at). We started looking at Dandaragan but ended up in Kojonup – I hope that doesn’t reflect too badly on our navigation?

We've also had the hot and the hotter, exploring an area in the middle of summer. Let's just say that Perth was having relatively mild 380! I thought the south west was supposed to be cooler? We picked a few days to set and vet where the temperature was 400+.  This made me question whether it was just mad dogs and Englishmen who go out in the midday sun or whether we should add rogaine setters and vetters to the list? I remember Graham and I looking at each other when setting one control. The sky had turned dark with smoke, the sun had disappeared and the wind was coming from where we were going. Is that fire close? Or is it miles away? It turned out to be near Walpole, BUT it could have easily been over the next hill.

Colette and Steve were wonderful to work with. They had the experience and rogaining skills to really help novices such as us to learn the ropes. During the Cushy armchair setting, Colette was a bit concerned about the apparently very subtle features that Graham and I plotted and wondered whether some of these would be 'fair' for control locations for a USD rogaine. But in the end, when checking them out on site we were all happily surprised to find that they were, on the whole, much stronger features than we had imagined, and that even all of those tiny water courses marked on the map actually did look like water really flowed in
them sometimes. In fact, some even had water in February - did you get your feet wet? Eventually Colette and Steve even let us do some vetting - 50% in fact.

We are very grateful to all the volunteers for helping make our event a success, including control collectors, truck loaders/unloaders and all of the other 'behind the scenes' help from those not specifically listed on the volunteer sheet, including: Paul XYZ for preparing the controls, Gary Carroll for help with map data and map making technical help, Gerard Massam and Sue Monter for event entries, Warren Smith, Geoff Monk, Vince Harding, Jim Langford and Ron Lockley for all kinds of other important support.

I feel confident in saying there has never been a more helpful group of farmers than those that were in the area of this rogaine. Cush and David Prasser-Jones, who many of you might have met at the event, were sensational with their assistance and hospitality. David cleared the fences from around the hash house site, dug the holes for the dunnies with his tractor, and made our lives very easy by having his farm situated right next to Albany Highway. Disregarding the danger of a few rogainers getting cleaned up while crossing this busy road, it was a perfect location since it was the easiest hash house site ever to signpost. Cush showed her excellent Jillaroo skills and did the rounding up of the farmers. She single-handedly gave us the 160 km2 of land that we needed. After all the hassles we'd had previously, this was a blessing. Additionally, this family adopted us and had breaky, lunch and dinners ready at all times for us.

We also met some real characters of the bush, who provided genuine assistance to all of us. Many farmers drove us to the control locations that were on their blocks, gave us lemon barley when we looked parched, and one farmer even walked us to a control then begged us to move it onto his land - so that his daughter Claire (rogainer) would actually find it on her land (did this help her achieve 7th place?). Then there is the story of Joe Young, a very enthusiastic athlete (other farmers say lunatic) who assisted Graham and I for a whole morning vet a big section of the course. Joe eats 9 -11 oranges for breaky, 15 bananas for
lunch, never got to find out what he had for dinner??? Anyway, he is FIT. Ricky, Wil and you other gun rogainers had better be ready - he runs to the shop and back, 37 km, to get the paper. His idea of a four day adventure race is to start a day later and do the whole thing straight and still beat the other competitors to the finish line. By the way, he can also navigate.

The course was set on gentle rolling hills and completely on farm land with no nasty bush. It was called the Cushy Rogaine so we couldn't make it too hard. This turned out to be very handy as the waxing moon didn't provide a great deal of help - in fact, it was bloody dark! I was scared and I was in a vehicle with the headlights on, doing patrols. The scores were slightly higher than other rogaines but still around what would be considered normal so we were pleased that everyone managed to find the controls and yet be tested on the night. Hopefully there are a few of you who got PBs (Personal Bests).

Although the event was further from Perth than usual for a USD, meaning many had to drive that bit extra, we were pleased to see that this location attracted competitors from further south, including a WARA ex Prez, Andrew Thomas, and his partner Norman Sutherland, from Denmark. It was also a great thrill to see four teams of farmers enter the event. One of these teams even set a 40km route for their first event. The highlight, though, was the farmers’ team that just did a section that included their own farms and struggled to find some of the checkpoints. They told me they couldn’t believe how different it was walking around at night compared to driving around during the day.

Thanks again to the farmers for all the help, Colette and Steve for keeping us on track, and all the participants for coming to the event and providing their favorable feedback. It’ll be good to be back in March - as competitors!

Cheers Mark and Graham

Last Updated (Thursday, 08 April 2010 20:50)