Annual Poohstick Race – Taggerty – New Years Day – Family Travel Blog

Family Travel Blog - Travellng with Kids

We dropped into the local General Store during our recent camping trip to Taggerty and were told about the 8th Annual Poohstick Race that was to be held on New Years Day on Little River. What’s a Poohstick Race you ask, so did we so we had to go and find out.

Based on the game introduced by Winnie the Pooh in the book The House at Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne where sticks are dropped from the upstream side of a bridge and the winner is the first stick to appear on the downstream side. Taggerty Poohstick Racing has modified the rules a bit running the races along the river, rather than under a bridge and they use ice-cream sticks, rather than twigs. They also have a Freestyle category, where racers can enter anything as long as it floats.
Keira with our Poohstick entries

Keira with our Poohstick entries

Anyone can enter the races as long as you have an ice-cream stick with your name on it, you also need to give your Poohstick a name. They are then launched down Little River in heats, yes there are that many entries! The winner of each heat is put aside and all the losers are then thrown in for the repechage, the winner of which is then added to the final with all the other winners. Now don’t be fooled, it’s not as easy as it sounds, there are obstacles to overcome such as branches, rocks and tree debris. The course is about 20 metres long and it’s hard to see the whole course from the limited viewing positions ensuring spectator suspense, patiently waiting, watching for your stick to come into view.

The finish line.

The finish line.

From a Taggerty point of view there seemed to be a cast of thousands in attendance at this years event, the 8th annual, estimates put the crowd at least 60. It is was great to see the effort that the locals go to and there was a buzz of anticipation in the lead up to the races. There’s the classic race, involving the Poohsticks and the freestyle race, where entries are only limited by imagination. The locals had lovingly prepared their entries over the year (or maybe just New Years Eve) and some of the entries were impressive. The turnout to this years event was a record apparently, with 8 heats in the Classic and 7 in the Freestyle.

The entries for the freestyle race.

The entries for the freestyle race.

After lining up to register our Poohsticks we stood back to listen to the opening speeches and watch a member of the local council cut the ribbon to officially open the event.  Then it was down to the river to try and get a good vantage point.  We managed to get a good spot about half way along the course and waited for the races to commence.

Julian, a Taggerty local officiating the race.

Julian, a Taggerty local officiating the race.

We were blow ins from the caravan park and only had an entry for each of the kids in the Classic race.  Caelan managed to snap his Poohstick on the walk to the course but luckily they had sticks that were abandoned after last year’s race up for adoption.  Caelan got a new one and Craig decided to adopt one too. We were unaware of the freestyle event and Caelan quickly tried to prepare an entry with dad’s help but we failed to see it go down the river, we are tipping it got snagged at the beginning! Or possibly caught up with the chocolate brown Labrador dog on the course at one stage. It was good to see a number of furry friends that had joined the excitement. My kids enjoyed the furry friends nearly as much as the race as they were up front and centre, I on the other hand started upfront and centre and retired to the rear due to a self inflicted ailment called a hangover! It was New years day remember! I didn’t miss the launch of our pooh sticks though, only the freestyle events which I was a bit disappointed about.

Our Poohsticks were in heat 2 & 3, but due to most of the Poohsticks, for some unknown reason, being alarmingly similar it was hard to determine which was ours and which wasn’t! We cheered them on but unfortunately we were not winners on this occasion. It was hard to hear the winners names over the excitement on the course. Keira had also snapped hers and we were able to make it out amongst the others, she come out strong and was coming up the inside but there was a stronger current on the outside which brought a few of the stragglers up the outside to snag a winner right on the line by only a nose.

The Poohsticks coming down the river past the first obstacle.

The Poohsticks coming down the river past the first obstacle.

At the end the trophies were awarded to the proud winners and some of the locals handed around some fruit and dips with crackers. We were then invited back to the General Store for a free ice pole supplied by Peters. It was nice to chat to the locals and be involved in something that they obviously all love. The kids enjoyed it and whilst we had hoped to bring home the trophy it wasn’t to happen this year. No doubt we would have been mighty unpopular to have stormed in and ran off with the Poohstick Trophy, those city slickers winning the prized trophy!

The Official Poohstick Trophy

The Official Poohstick Trophy

A good time was had and a few laughs, I often wonder what it would be like to live in the country, being city born and breed. I think it is great for kids. At the same time I looked around at how dry the land in the area was and thought these guys must be doing it hard. I hope they’re not, they were nice people, if we’re ever in Taggerty again for New Years Day we will have another stab at stealing away their prized trophy! Who knows, they might have a cast of thousands next year after everyone reads this post and pops it on their social calendars for next year!

The local Gang-gang Cockatoos even dropped in to watch.

The local Gang-gang Cockatoos even dropped in to watch.

Safe travels everyone.

Sal.

 

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