postheadericon George in the Jungle Setters Report

I have always wanted to set a rogaine, to find out what it is all about and to experience rogaining from a different perspective. So, when I saw the invitation in the newsletter to join an experienced setting and vetting team (Ian, Owen and Warren), I decided to give it a go.

We had two more setters / vetters in the team (Sheryl and Richard) so a plan was made to split the map in sections so everybody could try their hand at both setting and vetting. I thought that was a great idea and we started off with our first meeting to determine map location. We looked at a few options - a farmland event was first considered but we eventually
decided on a bush event, it being August. I guess in terms of contacting landowners our team had a relatively easy job as the area is bush only, but we did have to arrange permits for setting and vetting as the area we selected is a die-back disease risk area. It took a while to get all the approvals in place, and we only had final approval nine weeks before the event
itself. So on went the speed skates.

My first setting experience was held in the comforts of Ian’s living room, where four of us poured over the map and tried to find enough interesting features to hang some controls for you lot to find. Owen had already done a great job in selecting many sites and we then added some more to fill the map in.

A few weeks later the time had finally come to get out there and see what the bush really looked like. Ian and I went out on a Wednesday and, although at first it was hard to establish exactly where we were on the map, we were soon back on track thanks to the power lines! We spent the whole day pace counting, checking features and driving down non-existent tracks and looking for tracks that were meant to be there, but had been swallowed over the years by the ever-expanding jungle.

George in the Jungle having a well-earned rest with his faithful felineI really enjoyed myself and must say that actually spending time in the bush navigating whilst not competing is a great way to learn a bit more about those brown lines on the map that I sometimes struggle to find on the ground (I strongly suggest somebody change the colour of those contour lines to pink so we have half a chance of finding them on the ground – seriously who picked brown?!) 

I went out once more with Ian a few weeks later, followed by joining Warren for some vetting and reading the dozens of emails that came in from the others after a day spent in the bush. Then it was time to do our homework before we got together to decide on point allocations! I invented my own ingenious system to playwith points (yellow stickies) which was great until the time came to finalise it allO I was expecting a lot more banter on this night, but the team agreed on the points allocation quite quickly.

Ian went through a very steep learning curve to get familiar with the ins and outs of OCAD to create the map and we saw many colourful versions fly past in our inbox, all one step closer to the great map you ended up using during the event.

In the midst of this we also still had to come up with a name for the rogaine. Having Owen as the newsletter editor hounding us to make up a name in time to get into the newsletter certainly helped (as I said, this was all done only a few weeks before the event itself). I always thought rogaines have quite clever names and I think I now know who is responsible for these clever names: Owen! We all had some crazy (and some boring) ideas, but we knew immediately he had found a winner when he came up with ‘The George in the Jungle Rogaine’. It might have been a mystery for some of you before the event, but hopefully it all became clear when you finally did see the map! (ed. Note - it started off being The Rumble in the Jungle, referring to the noise from the Worsley conveyor, but then we decided to camp in the George Arboretum, in the George Forestry Block, on George Road ... say no more).

For those who wanted to vote on siteThe weekend before the rogaine was spent swapping the setting plates for the real controls and nearly trotting on an emu nest in the south-west corner of the map! He had eight eggs and one chick already, and probably didn’t like to be disturbed by us. A fun day, again sunny (we were very lucky in the whole setting / vetting process with the weather, considering it was done in July/August) and very successful. 

The Friday before the event came and Owen picked me up early. We had some firewood to collect to make sure you wouldn’t get cold around the hash house! Warren was already placing all the signs in the area and Ian arrived soon afterwards to help out with the firewood. The polling booths (toilets) were dropped off, the admin tent was erected, the truck arrived and we set off to deliver the water to the water drops. By the time we came back the hash tent had also been set up and it looked a lot more like a hash house site for a rogaine then a few hours before. Great! 

The first rogainers arrived early afternoon – I never realised people arrived that early! – and it soon became a lively hub of activity. Congratulations to the bus driver who brought the cadets out - reversing that 45 seat coach (with trailer) out of the hash site and negotiating the 99 point turn to get back on to George Road pointing the right way was certainly an achievement. Standing around the little campfire and meeting a lot of (for me) new people was great and all too soon it was time for bed.

Jude checking a water dropThe next two days are a blur of helping people find a campsite (thanks all for being creative! - being a bush event, the hash site was on the small side, and we had the biggest turnout for a nonchampionship event that we have had for years), talking to people, driving the patrol car, eating, driving some more laps in the patrol car, searching for a late school team, a cadet team and a family and having lots of fun. Oh, we did manage to get a few hours of sleep each too. Do we mention the one team that was truly late - they were located walking back in to Hash 40 minutes after the event ended - were not lost at all, just that their watch was an hour behind - they thought that they were in time.

Control collectors went out, and the hash site rapidly emptied. Soon we were back to an empty hash site, with little evidence of the 500+ people that had been there only a few hours before. So if somebody asks you if you would be interested in setting or vetting an event, jump at the occasion! It is a great way to see what goes on behind the closed doors of setting and vetting in all those months before the event. Many of you might wonder if it helps with your rogaining skills.

Am I going to be a better rogainer after the setting and vetting experience? Of course! So watch out Wil and Ricky as I now know all the tricks!
Hopefully you had as much fun as we did and I hope you all made sure to ‘Watch out for that Tree’! ☺

Jude Mulhuijsen

Last Updated (Wednesday, 12 January 2011 21:33)