A great night at Leaping to London

On the couch and with their ballons- Megan, Tim and Shane

Leaping to London provided over 230 guests with a night of great food and great entertainment together with some well chosen words from three elite riders, Shane Rose, Tim Boland and Megan Jones. These riders are all looking forward to jumping on a plane bound for England with their horses next Wednesday and although only Shane Rose has his name down as a nominated team member, both Tim and Megan are listed as reserves.

The night got underway with plenty of people making ‘silent’ bids on the numerous auction donations and while some were drawn towards some interior design advice offered by Gendy Parry-Oakden others were seen drooling over the hugest bar of Cadbury’s chocolate donated by Sonja Johnson.

After a good look around it was down to the business of finding your table and listening to the introduction speech given by MC of the evening the ever witty, Hamish Cargill and then it was onto dinner. Some video footage was provided during the evening by Peter Haynes from ‘In the Limelight’ and the large crowd ‘oohed’ and ‘ahhd’ as riders negotiated fences easily and some not quite so easily.

Question time

After a delicious main course Hamish once again took to the stage, this time accompanied by his friend and off-sider Dave Cameron. These two guys play off each other so well that it was a joy to listen to them as they welcomed Shane, Tim and Megan to the stage and onto the couch where they answered questions from the crowd.

The questions started off with some tongue in check questions including asking Tim Boland if he ever thought he had of ‘missed the boat’ and was a bit past it, to which he smiled and replied ‘yes Hamish and thanks for pointing out the obvious!” Shane was asked if becoming a dad might slow him down a bit on cross country … I think we can all imagine the answer to that question.

Olivia Rose wasn't going to miss out on a party for her dad

We all know that there have been many rumblings since the nominated eventing team were put forward to the AOC, but Leaping to London was about looking at the positives of the situation and not looking at what might have been. The evening was one of celebration for those riders chosen for the London team and a chance to thank all those riders who have made this run up to the Olympics such an exciting one.

During the evening Musto awarded a prize for the best dressed lady and gentlemen, which was won by Jess Featherbridge and her boyfriend Jack Hayden - photo above

An example of Anwen Keelings work was shown off and Jean Findlay won the auction prize of having a painting of her choice done by Anwen

Finally it was time for the main Auction and although things were a little slow to get going the crowd soon got into their stride and money was being drawn out of wallets thanks to Hamish and Dave’s encouragement. At the time of writing the final amount raised was not known but we will bring you that news as soon as we can. The Auction items ranges from a Bates saddle of your choice to an Angus cow and from an Anwen Keeling paining to a Tekno Autosports VIP package, so all tastes were catered for.

For the final item (dinner with George Sheridan and Brett Davey) a ‘special guest’ was invited onto the stage to lead the Auction in the shape of our Prime Minister Julia Gillard (pictured above). Determined to keep the evening to a certain standard Prime Minister Gillard fought off any suggestions that George and Brett should remove items of clothing to push the donations up and seemed happy with the $400 raised. However she did seem rather concerned that dinner with the two young men had been bought by an older man! (George and Brett below looked a little surprised too!)

With the Auction at an end the music started and the dancing began and I began to show signs of my age by wondering just how anyone could dance in shoes that high!

 

In the next few days we will put up some audio of the cheerful banter on the couch but for now if you click on the icon below you can listen to what Shane Rose had to say when asked when his staff were going to get a pay rise? As well as talking about his staff Shane goes onto to give his opinion of just how many good riders we have here in Australia.

Hear what shane had to say by clicking on the icon 

Congratulations to the organisers of Leaping to London and we look forward to doing it all again in the run up to Normandy … which could always be called "Nailing it for Normandy!"

Comments

I know we're all entitled to our own opinions BUT....who was that bloke yelling out 'ya dreamin' to Shane when he was favourably comparing the talent based in Australia with Aussies in Europe?? Not the place to do that, mate. Very poor form. There were some super-professional riders short-listed for the Olympics sitting in that room, supporting their colleagues who HAD been selected, and to hear that would have been a big kick in the teeth.

The 10kg GiantChocolate block and 5kg Giant Toblerone were actually donated by Cadbury Fundrasing WA .
Bruce & Julie McWhirter
Cadbury Fundraising WA

Agree, the timing was unfortunate (and accidental) from where I sat. The heckler is a huge supporter of Eventing financially, and was sitting on his hands during the early part of the rather awkward speeches (by Hamish). Eventually it just got too much- and he felt he had to say something -but the timing wasnt good. Basically "the heckler" can see that EA and the whole selection process stinks (from many conversations I was a part of, the majority of the guests at the fundraiser that night also felt this way). Goal posts that changed continually, last minute emphasis on events that were not supposed to count in the selection process, secrecy, insider knowledge by some riders as to what event to run at (and importantly NOT to run at), selection of Andrey Hoy and Lucinda Fredericks (what the??) and Tim from a Melb win with no olympic contenders?? Shane recieved an explanation afterwards for the timing error and that the heckle was just total frustration with the whole process -but was not directed at Shanes selection -or at Sonjas. However this gentlemans will invest no further money in the sport. EA needs to clean up its act on so many different levels. Cant say I really blame him for not wanting to put any more money into it or be involved any more in any way -can you?.....

well said by 'time for a change' I'm glad the issues can be seen by all levels and by those involved financially. Well said.