How can you get a bicycle for tossing a handbag? It happened to us, well, to Andrea one day back in November of last year. We were still in Australia at that time and the weather was finally warming up after an unusually wet and cold winter.
It was a Saturday; a warm, sunny Saturday morning. Once a year the Collie Agricultural Show is held in town. There are log-chopping competitions, carnival foods, equestrian events, all sorts of domestic animal exhibits and competitions, a food and craft fair in the pavilion and of course there are show bags to be desired by all kids to the detriment of their parents' wallets. But this year there was something new: a strong-man contest. It was actually a series of strongman events constituting a competition that lasted for about 2 hours. The competition was really set up for male competitors but they had incorporated one event especially for female Schwarzenegger wannabees - the handbag toss. The handbag involved had been filled with some kind of heavy pieces of metal and was actually pretty hefty. There were probably about 10 female contestants who took a shot at handbag fame and fortune but none were as stout, sturdy, stalwart or strong as Andrea who grasped the metal mettle with both hands and swung it mightily into an arc of release of roughly forty-five degrees from the horizontal (the optimum angle of projection for greatest horizontal distance). And I snapped a series of images that capture the immortalising event.
We had to wait around for a while before the winner was officially announced and the day had warmed up so as to have started to become a little uncomfortable as we neared noonday (note the unrelenting verbosity of the sequence "...so as to have started to become a little..."). But eventually the announcement was made and we were both thrilled and a little embarrassed. I think Andrea wanted to go up, grab the bike and get out of there but she did pause for a photo for the organisers although, at the time, we thought the photo might be appearing in the local newspaper the following week.
Winning the bike was great but we didn't really need another bike and it was too small for us anyway. Before leaving the area of the strongman event we talked to a local policewoman who had also competed against Andrea in the Handbag Toss. She congratulated Andrea on her win and I vaguely remember something about joining the RCMP in Canada. But Andrea's main purpose in approaching her had been to ask about donating the bicycle to a local family for Christmas which was only a month away. The policewoman took Andrea's details and said she would contact her if she had any good ideas. In the end Andrea donated the bicycle to a local charity and made some new friends of the folks who worked there. I'll include three more photos of the proud winner with her bike with local backdrops.