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Australia Day Cockroach Races @ Story Bridge Hotel

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by Geraldine Massey (subscribe)
I'm an experienced corporate communicator and editor with an eye for interesting events and an attachment to my trusty Oxford dictionary.
Event:
Australia Day Cockroach Races at the Story Bridge Hotel

Brisbane has the unique distinction of being home to the world's oldest cockroach races. Doesn't that make you proud? I think it's testament to the ingenuity of Brisbaneites that we actually found a use for those cunning creepy crawlies - even if it is only for one day of the year. The starter's gun will once again be firing at the Story Bridge Hotel on 26 January 2012 for the world-famous Australia Day Cockroach Races.

Cocky Podium - Image from event website.


Event Information

Entry to the event is by gold coin donation.

Charity:
Now in its 31st year of entomological entertainment the Australia Day Cockroach Races are about so much more than cockroaches. It may surprise many to know that all proceeds from entry, racing and the dunking machine go to the excellent children's charity, Variety. In 2011 the event raised more than $14,000. Who would have thought that loathsome could be so lucrative?

Venue:
Races are held at the historic Story Bridge Hotel, one of the last family-owned and operated pubs in Brisbane, nestled not surprisingly, under the approach to the Story Bridge at Kangaroo Point. The event also takes over the restaurant car park and spills onto Rotherham Street for the day. Tiered seating is provided for a great view of the races and for those of you who thought this was a low-brow affair, corporate boxes are also provided.

Time:
Gates open at 11 am and the first race will go under the starter's gun at 12 noon.

Entertainment:
The cocky races will continue throughout the afternoon, with the last race scheduled for a 4.30 pm start. Live musical entertainment will also be on offer throughout the day and into the evening at the Main Stage, Corner Bar Stage and Deery's Stage. If you need to cool off there is also a dunking machine. Food and drink are available for purchase.

Dunking Machine - Image from event website


Racing and Rules

While the whole affair may seem like a bit of a lark race rules are strictly policed by the race stewards and arguing with judges' decisions or generally behaving like a whinger is considered very un-Australian and will be frowned upon.

Contestants are encouraged to train and BYO cocky, but for those of you who draw the line at roach coaching, speedy specimens can be purchased for $5 each. It then costs a further $5 to enter the cocky in a race. Cockies for this purpose are actually imported from Victoria (not New South Wales as you might have expected).

Rules
Racing is conducted on a circular track. Cockies are let go from a bucket in the centre and the first to the edge is the winner.

Flying is not allowed and will incur disqualification.

Entrants may be tested for performance enhancing substances including coffee and red cordial.

- Prizes: 1st Place - Sponsor prize, trophy and bragging rights; 2nd Place - $25 cash; 3rd Place - $15 cash

Stewards on the racing canvas - Image from event website


Other Competitions

Cocky racing isn't the only competition on the day. Prizes are also on offer for the Best Stable Competition and Miss Cocky.

Best Stable Competition
Get your friends together to make a team. Think up a theme and a funny or witty name, and dress alike in outrageous or resplendant costumes. You're only limited by your imagination (and hopefully the bounds of good taste). Entry forms are available from the hotel and the registration fee is $10 per team. Entries close on 24 January 2012. Prize is a $2000 party at the Story Bridge Hotel.

Best Stable competition entrants - Image from event website.


Miss Cocky
Here's one that will look great on your resumé girls. Not just a beauty contest, the Miss Cocky competition is seeking someone to be a " true ambassador for cockroach racing for the year to come". If you think you have what it takes you can enter at the Stewards desk on the day. Prize is a $200 voucher for the Story Bridge Hotel

a previous Miss Cocky competition winner - Image from event website

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Why? If you can't beat them let them entertain you.
When: Australia Day 26 January 2012
Where: Story Bridge Hotel, Kangaroo Point, Brisbane
Cost: Gold Coin Entry. Cockroaches $5. Race Entry $5.
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