Give It A Bash

August 03rd, 2017
Give It A Bash
The iconic Variety Bash will kick off in Mount Barker for the first time ever on Saturday, August 12.

More than 100 cars and 300 entrants will gather in Gawler Street before the eight day journey to Mount Gambier.

Variety Bash raises money for sick and disadvantaged children to provide specialist equipment, therapy, medical supplies and more.

The event’s route is chosen each year by Variety chairman Brenton Ramsey and in 2017 he wanted to introduce the charity to the growing area of Mount Barker.

Named ‘Pasture To Pines’, entrants will travel over 1,800 km through the South East of the state, and into western Victoria, before finishing in Mount Gambier.

Aldgate’s John Gibson is no stranger to the Bash and last year was inducted into the Bash Hall of Fame for his 27 years of participation.

Joining John in his 1982 Mercedes is his son-in-law Simon Drew and bash newcomers Hamish Dunn and John Duncan.

In 2016 the team was named the fifth highest fundraisers and raised close to $80,000.

John’s fundraising efforts have come a long way since his first bash in 1989.

“I was invited to participate with two other guys, so the three of us went out and I raised about $5,000,” he said.

“I had my first taste and saw a presentation made along the way to a child that needed some assistance.

“Variety gave him money for a wheelchair and from that time on I was totally involved, committed and very passionate about the cause.”

Entrants fundraise all year and during the event will present over $450,000 in grants to families and communities.

After years on the road, John said he gets up to a lot of mischief during the Bash and enjoys the comradery.

“I’m really looking forward to meeting some newcomers and travelling different tracks that we haven’t been on before,” he said.

“We’ll teach the newcomers a few tricks and ask them to do a couple things that might be a bit silly but they’ll have to find out the hard way.

“The challenge of the whole bash is to get your car from point A to point B and the biggest thing is we don’t see every basher in-between events.

“It’s just once a year, like a reunion. It’s a wonderful experience – people come from all point of the compass, interstate and overseas.

“We are aiming to be gold and we have been for the last 10 years – we always aim to raise more than $50,000.”

John is especially excited to see a grant presented to Boobowerie Primary School, 25km out of Burra.

“There are some kids there that need some help and assistance,” he said.

“My daughter is a senior teacher at the school and she is putting an application in for some play equipment.

“Also, my mother-in-law was born in Mount Barker and I’m a Hills boy, so it’s special to me that the Bash is starting here.”

Gawler Street will be a hive of activity on Saturday, August 12 from 6-8am as Bash entrants gather for celebrations.

Local traders will be open earlier than usual and there will be special presentations, competitions, give-aways, face painting and live music from Hills Radio.

Hills Radio founder and CEO Chris Carpenter said they will broadcast from the radio station and right into the street.

“We’ll be amping up the old tunes with a nice selection of 60s, 70s and 80s music,” he said. “The Bash will attract a great crowd to Mount Barker and we are very privileged for it to be kicking off here.

“Hills Radio will also be going up and down the street to get some snippets, chat to people to find out what Variety means to them and why they participate each year.

“Variety is such an amazing charity and they do so much.”

Note that council will have traffic management in place and there will be no parking in Gawler Street from midnight to 10am with the entire street closed from 5-10am.

For more information or to make a donation visit

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