Towns to battle fundraiser out
The rivalry between Gore and Mataura is beginning to heat up as the "Rumble of the River" fundraiser, to be held at the Gore Town and Country club on May 16, approaches.
The date has been moved back a month to accommodate the teams and to give them a chance to prepare for a show that organisers are hoping will be one of the best flyer fundraisers yet.
Both towns are finalising their teams - 10 people will compete in stage challenges including comedy, singing, modelling, building, a "boat" race and the "showstopping" event that will be a lip-sync.
But seven weeks out, the competition is heating up with the poster pin-up boy for Gore District's new brand, Robert Grant, quick to use his new-found fame to advantage.
"When they needed a man for the district brand they chose a Gore bloke because Mataura wasn't up to it - enough said," Grant said.
Mataura captain Chris Duffy said he would hit the Gore members where they least expected it in their stage competition.
"We love being the underdog, no-one expects us to win but we're going to hit them where they least expect it".
Auctions would be held between each stage on the night to raise money for a selection of worthy causes - St John Ambulance raising funds for its new building, Gore Counselling Services, Womens Refuge, the Mataura Marae, Mataura Bikepark development and Southland Spirit of a Nation's community pride and fundraising programme.
The fundraising has become a competition in itself between communities with the "War of the West" fundraiser held between Ohai-Nightcaps and Otautau raising $120,000.
Event manager Gerry Forde of Southland Spirit of a Nation said he believed the Gore clash would top that effort.
"Gore has the biggest venue we've ever run this show and I know how generous the district is and how fiercely it will support their team and these fundraising groups."
Tickets are available from the Gore Information Centre and the Mataura Service Centre.
The Southland Times