postheadericon Night is but Young Setters Report

Well, it is all over, and we can now sit back and reflect on what has been a major undertaking for these two setters that had only competed in two or three rogaines each before our hands were raised to volunteer for setting ‘The Night is But Young’. In fact, I’m still not sure whether we raised our hands or whether they were raised by someone else. 

Anyway, it all started for us when Joe went to the George in the Jungle rogaine but didn’t compete. Talking to Ian around the camp fire he mentioned that we could probably set an event in Kojonup one day (he tells me that he meant in at least two years time – but Joe doesn’t like to sit back, he prefers to be in there having a go, so I’m not sure what he said). And Ian definitely didn’t forget, so when there was a lack of setters and a venue for this upside down Joe’s phone started ringing and then my phone started ringing. After a few Oohs, Ahhs and Umms from our end of the phone, and supporting comments like ‘we have a couple of experienced vetters to help out’, ‘there is a manual that tells you everything you need to know’ and ‘we’re only ever a phone call away’ from the other end of the phone, we were committed. A map, a mapping package, a printer and the promised manual were delivered and the size of the task we had ‘volunteered for’ began to emerge.

Having done the armchairing, then sharing the setting and vetting, coordinating with the other land owners, doing the maps, clue sheets and collection maps, we were finally ready to see you all rolling down the road and in the gate. It was a bit of a shame that the shire grader only got as far as being parked at the end of the road and didn’t actually get to grade the road, but I’m looking on the bright side because I now have a nicely graded road that hasn’t had 100 vehicles drive in and out, so I will have smooth driving for months.

With forecasts for up to 80 mm of rain over the weekend, we had been visualising scenes like those on the news from Queensland and Carnarvon and pondered the implications of that for route selection and how to rescue walkers that were stranded on islands around the farm. But, luckily, that all remained in our imagination as the champagne cork was popped to clear skies and a beautiful moon. We then sat and waited, with the occasional drive around the patrolled roads and wondered how it was going ‘out in the bush’. I can say that, as novice setters, we were very relieved to see happy, albeit tired, faces when you all began to return after your night’s adventures.

The local land owners were all very supportive of the event and very interested in the concept of people wanting to walk around their paddocks for 12 hours during the night. In fact 20 of them were so interested that they decided to enter as competitors and try it for themselves. Most of the others just came to watch the start and then again the finish and have some breakfast. A couple of these spectators mentioned that they wished that they had entered as well and tried it for themselves.

I think the free entry for land owners is a great thing for WARA, the feedback we have had is that the locals are very happy and at least two are giving serious consideration to joining up and doing further rogaines at other venues. And the ‘free entry for land owners’ was also how Joe and I came to do a rogaine and look what has happened, first event last year, setting this year.

The land owners were also very interested in the event organisation and they were all impressed with the professionalism of WARA and the running of the event. We have not had any negative feedback about what happened on their properties, so thank you all for respecting their properties and we will be welcome back if ever we want to hold another.

It has been great to have jumped in the deep end and had the opportunity to ‘Set’ an event and thanks to the WARA organising committee for having faith and providing support and wisdom and to Ron and Geoff for coaching us through.

Now that it is finished and we are looking back, the job doesn’t seem so big. In fact, why had it seemed like a mountain at the time? It has been very rewarding and a huge learning curve, and I am sure that in future rogaines our approach will be different and hopefully our results will improve. So, for those of you who are considering the idea of setting an event, ‘we have a couple of experienced vetters to help out’, ‘there is a manual that tells you everything you need to know’ and ‘we’re only ever a phone call away’ – jump in and give it a crack. There is plenty of support and the challenge and the rewards are even better than getting 2000 points.

John Young

Last Updated (Saturday, 12 March 2011 16:26)