Savouring sports spectacle
DURING a year members of the sport’s department at The Morning Bulletin get the opportunity to witness a multitude of events.
While the majority may be classed in the mainstream, the main football codes for instance, there are numerous other sports we get out to see.
These are few of my personal memories for 2009.
The crowds continue flock to the Rockhampton Showgrounds for the speedway and last year I managed to get up close and personal as I discovered what it is like to sit next to the man in charge during a Super Stocker.
Unfortunately the result of this exercise was as brief as it was spectacular.
If track experience is measured in metres, then I would have 10 on my resume as that was the distance I covered after crossing the start line in Danny Lennon’s delightfully painted pink car.
Although Lennon and other members of the Rockhampton Saloon Car Club have been kind enough to ask me to try my luck a second time, the memory of climbing a safety wall, turning upside down and then feeling the car return to an upright position remain.
There were also great moments in all classes of speedway with Glen Knox and Chris Ohl coming through to break the stranglehold of Jeff Ohl, Mark Hogan and Lennon in the fiercely contested Super Stocker event.
Bull riding is another sport where crowds keep returning and spectators gain good value for their entry dollar.
Whether the show is at the Great Western Indoor Arena, Austadium or one of the grounds that host a single event each year, the action is always of high quality and worth viewing.
Stock contractor Brian Duggan is one of those people who has helped develop the bull riding section and now has a string of fearsome bulls ready to destroy the confidence of any cowboy who thinks he can master one of these fine beasts for an eight-second ride.
While it all sounds very cavalier, behind the scenes Duggan does a load of work to ensure youngsters coming through the ranks get to know how to prepare properly and limit the possibility of receiving a serious injury.
Nevertheless, it is a dangerous sport and every contingency is unlikely to be covered no matter what protection is provided.
Apart from bulls there are other aspects to rodeo. One of the popular events crowds regularly get to view at The Great Western is Barrel Racing and it is a delight to see, in the senior category, the cohesion between the ladies and the horses as they race around the three obstacles as quickly as possible without incurring a penalty.
Whether it is the more traditional form of boxing or the Muay Thai version, we certainly get some good shows in Rockhampton.
Once again the talent on show for the PCYCs tournaments continues to excite.
Des Upton has a fine group of young boxers and it’s always a pleasure to see these fighters get into their work.
In Nat Hinchliffe the club has a genuine contender for one of the state belts on offer in his division. Hinchliffe goes into the new year unbeaten and his correct style could see the teenager doing well for years to come.
Not that Hinchliffe is the only one, as Harley Broome is another technical boxer who likes to jab away through each bout and collect his points.
One of the highlights of the year was having a chat to the diminutive Lincoln Martyn after he won his belt and a cup that was very near as big as himself.
It is also good to see Darcy and Michael Fraser from the Kalka Boxing Club making a big impression as quite often the siblings are also battling the odds when facing bigger and older opponents.
On the kick boxing circuit Mitch Schukking has earned his tag as a crowd pleaser.
Although far from the biggest fighter from the Hellrazor Club, Schukking worries little about the size or reputation of his opponent as he knows just one way to fight-and that is to keep coming forward. In 2010 it is likely Schukking will be chasing a state belt in his weight division and that would be a great achievement for the fighter.
Less flamboyant, but equally effective is Wes Mainhardt, and he is another of the Ruben Fraser-trained fighters who should have another exciting year.
The record of Wanderers hockey and Frenchville cricket teams is very similar with each maintaining a winning mentality.
Even better for Wanderers is that the club is producing quality in both men’s and women’s A-1 grade teams.
This year Wanderers had a fine day when it came to grand finals with both the men and women getting over the top of their Southside counterparts.
Looking at those four teams in the finals gives confidence that Central Queensland can continue to produce players capable of making the national scene.
It is also well worth the trip to Kalka Shades as organisers manage to put on a good show, especially when it comes to the big occasion.
Softball is another sport in which Rockhampton does better than it should be expected to achieve.
Age group teams from the area continue to achieve at state level while players in state teams shine in national competitions.
A highlight of 2009 was the exhibition game played on the new Kele Park diamond as the match was a perfect opportunity to see, up close, the best young players around.
There were plenty of other sports we get to see, but one of the delights of the year was presentation night for the Sporting Wheelies and Disabled Association at Frenchville Sports Club where it was a pleasure to see the delight on the faces of those attending-all sharing the joy of participation in sport.