Cancer Research Advocate Bikers
Lock up your daughters, board up your windows! A band of bikers is storming the town. No, wait…it’s the Cancer Research Advocate Bikers…
You’d be forgiven for thinking your sleepy fishing village was on the verge of mayhem when more than 1000 bikers roar into town. It happened in Mad Max, after all.
Thankfully, though, the first weekend of April didn’t witness ‘Toecutter’ and his merciless motorcycle gang in action but the Cancer Research Advocate Bikers, or CRAB. It was the non-profit group’s second annual bike show in Bermagui, NSW, to bring burly bikers and community together. Importantly, CRAB had come to do what it does best: raise funds for research and awareness of cancer.
The ‘Kingies’, the Bega Valley arm of CRAB, has about 110 members around the southern coast of New South Wales and comprises an interesting mix of characters with day jobs such as accountants, solicitors, shop-keepers and tradies.
The CRAB group was formed more than four years ago by Rob Grimstone after he lost his mother to cancer. Grimstone has since founded similar cancer awareness groups in other states and the CRABs have collectively raised hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Each non-profit club is named after a crab indigenous to the area: the New South Wales ‘Kingies’, Queensland ‘Muddies’, Brisbane ‘Sandies’, and South Australia ‘Blueys’, while Victoria has the Mornington Peninsula ‘Hermits’. When Grimstone’s neighbour returned to Switzerland, he suggested they set up a CRAB group there, too, known as the ‘Hummers’.
Forming a group in Bermagui was easy: it’s a kind-hearted community full of generous, eager workers. Between monthly rides and regular meets, the Kingies primarily raise awareness and funds for cancer research.
For its second annual bike show, the Kingies assembled 160 bikes with hundreds more spotless and beautifully restored examples lining Bermagui’s main street. It was a glut of shiny metal and fancy paintwork, leather, badges, tattoos and a good sprinkling of grey beards.
The show attracted around 1200 enthusiasts to drool over the spectacle and enjoy the conversation.
Thirteen categories were judged including people’s choice, best bike from its country of origin as well as the best custom bike, ratbike, overall paint, vintage, veteran, sidecar and lady biker.
Winners received a trophy and $100 cash donated by local businesses, who also did just about everything else to make the event happen. In fact, the Kingies’ only costs were meat, alcohol and the obligatory hire of port-a-loos.
The raffle’s jackpot prize was a kitted-out boat and trailer package valued at $12,500. The most recent fundraiser, the Annual Bermagui Rubber Duckie Challenge, during the Queen’s Birthday weekend, saw 500 funded ducks released into the river on an outgoing tide.
Leah Dawson, a volunteer co-ordinator for the Cancer Council NSW’s southern region, was thrilled by the fundraising effort.
On accepting the CRAB cheque, she described the Kingies as a colourful bunch of bikers – always out in the community, spreading the word and collecting money.
Friday night pub draws and auctions are held throughout the year with the winter firewood raffle being a favourite. Some of the group’s hairier members can even be convinced to do the big shave – if the stakes are high enough.
The Kingies have so far donated $50,000 to the Cancer Council NSW with a further $25,000 pledged from the latest show and boat raffle. By the end of the year, the Kingies aims to have donated a total of $150,000 since it formed five years ago. As a result of its efforts, the Kingies were the winners of the 2012 Cancer Council NSW small fundraiser section.
Newly formed CRAB groups continue to spring up across the country with Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula being the most recent. The Hermits will soon be on the road with a black and gold catering van which was recently bought at ‘mates rates’ from the local Lions group. The group’s first raffle will be a beautiful Harley-Davidson, so go to CrabHermits.com to buy tickets.
Too many of us and our loved ones have faced cancer with varying outcomes. This life-changing disease is physically and emotionally challenging for everybody involved but, with the combined efforts of kind-hearted volunteers and non-profit organisations such as the Cancer Research Advocate Bikers, we can all help make a difference by donating to this most deserving cause.
For more information on CRABs…
South Australia: CrabBlueys.com
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