Tavern rally revs up rural support
FOCUS ON FARMING
Three months after the very successful seventh Black Dog Tavern motorcycle rally (January 2), the proceeds of $1500 from the event were handed over to the East Coast Rural Support Trust at the tavern April 9. Owner of the Black Dog Tavern at Makotuku, Helen Upson, caters particularly for motorcyclists, being an avid rider herself, and she certainly lays on a great experience for riders from all over the North Island in early January. This year 55 riders participated, many others being put off by a dire weather forecast which actually did prove accurate late on Saturday night. This by no means detracted from a brilliant Saturday, which started in the morning with a backblocks tour of Central Hawke’s Bay, which Helen led despite breaking her ankle just two months earlier. After a lunch put on by the East Coast Rural Support Trust, the riders had a fun afternoon jousting with soft lances on two Yamaha Peewee 80s, riding the permanently sited mechanical bull, enjoying the hospitality of the bar, partaking in raffles, and enjoying the dinner before being entertained by an excellent band and some hilarious comedians for the evening. Black Dog Tavern is ideally set up for such an event with cabins, tent and campervan sites in a vast area of lawn with a huge brazier, around which to enjoy camaraderie through the evening. Inside there is plenty of space for diners, which has just been expanded. Traditionally, after the evening meal every rider rides his bike through and is photographed in front of the bar as a memento. It’s a great place for any group to celebrate an occasion. Next year’s event is set for January 8. Put it in your diary. Helen is adamant that the East Coast Rural Support Trust deserves the assistance. She sees the stress of rural people, especially last year with the drought and Covid-19, and strongly believes the trust does a great job in getting rural people help. Representative Tony Rhodes spoke to the bikers during the evening about the need for men in particular to open up and seek support in tough times. East Coast Rural Trust Coordinator Jane Tylee said the demand was huge last year, with the trust helping many farmers and their families — providing food and advice during the drought and then mental health advice during the lockdown. She says networking is vital for isolated rural families and she urges anyone to get in touch: “We want to be the ambulance at the top of the cliff — not the bottom.” For further information contact the trust on 0800 787 254. On Friday evening the Dannevirke Young Farmers also held a fundraiser for the East Coast Rural Support Trust in the Mangatera Hotel.