January 26th is known as Australia Day and is also the day of the famed Compass Cup -"Australia's only cow race". In true Australian enthusiastic style, the Cup only kicks off at 12:50 pm. The day is not only about cow racing, no siree. There is truly something for everyone at the Compass Cup. You can enjoy such athletic delights such as the Thong Throwing competition (footwear variety not undies) and tractor pull; all the glamour of the cat walk with the rubber boot marathon, and for the culinary enthusiast the Australian Iron Guts competition, which amounts to demolishing large quantities of Aussie treats, such as meat pies, lamingtons and Iced Coffee, complete with the always classy vomitting equals disqualification rule. There was also the very blokey ute competition, which consists of hotted up man toys with big engines parked in a line with burly owners posing along side and of course the mandatory drive by with obligatory elbow sticking out the window sunglasses pose - iconic Aussie rock classics like those screamed by Jimmy Barnes, Cold Chisel and The Angels blaring from the stereo and a bit of an engine rev ....so impressive, I almost fainted. But wait folks, it wasn't all glitz and glamour, there were legitimate scientific experiements which involved moments of risk and daring; the Engine Blow promised to deliver this brand of edge of your seat action.
A waterless and oiless old beater was presented in the middle of the arena - the sacrificial lamb if you like - the object of this high brow experiment was to see how long it took to blow 'er up. Fire extinguishers were at the ready as several blue singletted scientist initiated the experiment, but like all worthy experiments the outcome was surprising and not the least bit expected - bugger all happened in fact, the engine simply died a quiet death after about 20 seconds (quite the anti-climax).
The cow race itself was painfully non-action packed, although quite comical. The main challenge was staying on the cow - no saddles you see. But unlike race horses, the cows weren't into it and planted their hooves into the turf like unwilling mules. It wasn't a race persay, rather a win by default. The winning cows were those who just happened to be walking in the right direction for long enough to have eventually and quite accidentally wandered over the line, while the rest of the handlers chased loose riderless cows all over the arena as over zealous chaps attempted to climb on board. It was a crazy spectacle and a weird day, but after that... I knew I was home.