Raft race antics leave a bad smell

CHARLOTTE SQUIRE
Last updated 14:09 04/01/2013
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CHARLOTTE SQUIRE/FAIRFAX NZ
FLOATING STOCK: The Dairy for Life team, dressed as cows, celebrate their efforts in the Collingwood Raft Race.

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Yesterday afternoon around 1.30pm was not a good time to try driving across Aorere Bridge, near Collingwood.

The annual Collingwood Raft Race was taking place, and a large crowd gathered on the bridge to throw a fuming concoction of rotten whey and old squid at the competitors as they floated beneath the bridge towards the "finish line" at the Collingwood Motor Camp.

Entrants included a range of holidaymakers and locals. People of all ages rode rafts made of materials such as bathtubs, wooden pallets, mussel buoys and even a spa pool.

The winners were Jayden Strange and his uncle, Garth Strange, who were known as the team Strange One.

They received the Bright Shield for their efforts. The shield will remain on the wall of the local pub - the Collingwood Tavern.

Having competed in several years of Collingwood Raft Races, Jayden Strange said the secrets of their success were a rudder and sail.

Mr Strange said he was relatively unaffected by the smelly concoction being thrown from the bridge.

"We didn't get as much as the others," he said.

However, not everyone was impressed with the antics.

Paul Jowsey said it was the fourth and last raft race for their teenage sons.

He said their raft caught and grounded just past the Aorere Bridge, the raft rolled in the current, and the four boys were struggling to get things sorted and safe.

"For the onlookers on above on the Aorere Bridge, this raft misfortune became their perfect opportunity to unleash the traditional bombardment of old eggs and flour bombs. Except this time their offering was buckets of liquid pig manure and buckets of rotten milk," Mr Jowsey said.

"The boys were drenched with this revolting, putrid and extremely dangerous to one's health mix of putrefaction.

"Do the Bainham, Rockville and beyond cow cockies feel a certain dominance and success in this repulsive act?

"The boys were doubled over vomiting in the river, trying to escape this disgusting imbecile act."

Each participant was required to sign a disclaimer. The main risk appeared to be the intense, lingering smell of the rotten whey and squid, which was thrown at the competitors by people wearing industrial gloves.

Tourists and those who did not know the annual event was on struggled to drive their vehicles across the bridge.

Cars pressed slowly through a crowd of about 100 cheering, gagging spectators as stinking handfuls of whey and squid, plus the occasional fresh egg, were thrown at the racers - and caught by the wind to sprinkle spectators and cars.

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Collingwood Motor Camp owner Bill Climo organised the raft race. He said he was pleased with the turnout of 18 entries, which was slightly down after poor weather on Tuesday meant the event had to be postponed.

"There was still some flooding, and they had a bit of wind behind them, so that was good," he said.

Second place went to the team What Is It You Can't Face?, while third prize was taken by the team Bright One. All competitors received a prize.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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