Australia’s eccentric world of sports

By in Sports & Health

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COLLEEN MARTYN
Sports Writer

What do beer cans, wheelbarrows, cows, yachts and nudity all have in common? They are required ingredients for Australian sporting events and these wacky competitions are regularly held to test the skills, talents and downright craziness of competitors.

Bovine time trials
The Compass Cup Cow race, held by Mount Compass on the Fleurieu Peninsula, is the only cow race in Australia and has been an annual event since 1974.

The first race was made up of eight cows racing 40 yards. This first race was viewed by upwards of 1, 000 people and attendance has gained steadily over the years. Race teams are made up of the cow, a jockey and three urgers to coax the cow down the raceway. The jockey must remain on the cow in order to be declared the winner.

To maintain spectators’ interest, other events have been added to the Compass Cup Day. Favourite events include the Wobbly Cow race in which the jockey rides a barrel painted to look like a cow, but on uneven wheels, and is pulled by two teammates. The Fleurieu Milk Skull Off is another highly enjoyed event. People race to different stations and attempt to chug milk faster than the other racers. However, caution should be taken and those who are lactose intolerant are discouraged from participating.

Wacky wheelbarrowing
The Black Rock Stakes held in Western Australia is an annual race for charity. Competitors make up teams and modify wheelbarrows, complete with headlights and red tail lights. This race takes competitors over 100 kilometres while pushing their barrows full of iron ore. 2010 will mark the 40th year this event has taken place, with event organizers reminding people to donate and participate. Over the years the event has raised roughly $70, 000.

If you are lucky enough to visit Queensland, stop by and see why the members of the Whitsunday Yacht Club excitedly look forward to the Whitsunday Fun Race which takes place in early September on Airlie Beach. The fun race is not so much a reason to race and compete but to let loose and party. Every year hundreds of tourists flock to the beach to enjoy the festivities.

The reason for this event’s popularity could be attributed to the exciting live bands, fireworks and amazing street parades. Or perhaps it is because local bathing beauties grace the bow of racing yachts to compete for the title of Miss Figurehead. Did I forget to mention that most contestants choose to compete topless?

Drunken sailor’s paradise
Another competition held near and dear to the hearts of Australians is the Darwin Beer Can Regatta. This has been held annually since 1975 in Darwin on Mindi Beach. Boats are built using empty beer cans and tested for seaworthiness before being allowed to compete.

However, if a boat is found to be less than floatable, fear not mates — participants can take part in the land version of the regatta.

Merely bust a hole or two into the bottom of the boat and race around like the Flintstones. If there is anyone out there who aspires to race with the best of them, the next regatta will be held on Aug. 8, 2010. And if you wish to have an inside edge on what the best boats are made of, the beer of choice is the Darwin Stubby, which is 2.1 litres of beer.

Naked athletics
And what would a trip down under be without visiting a beach? All you need is a lot of sunscreen, a towel and a good book. Or, if you don’t want to be boring, head to Maslin Beach in South Australia, the country’s first official nude beach, and celebrate everything that is nudity.

If you happen to stumble upon this area around Australia Day on Jan. 26, be prepared for the onslaught of hundreds of nude beach goers ready to bring it on at the Maslin Beach Nude Olympics. Take part in exciting events such as the three legged race, discus throw and flag race. And what would any nude olympics be without a “best bum” competition?

Of course, if you are a bit too modest for this event and prefer to remain anonymous behind a pair of dark sunglasses, spectators are allowed to cheer on their favourite beach-goer from the cliffs overlooking the beach.