This is a story about a great Aussie bloke named Mal. Mal is the sort of man that has been the spine of the outback all his life giving spirit and strength to small community groups and keeping the sport of Bronco Branding alive.
Mal is an accomplished Bronco Branding champion and well regarded for his great skill in the sport. He has been on a small town Council and he put in many of the hard yards to establish the local Camp Drafting Club. He has been a hard-working man on the land all of his life. He is not only a champion bronco brander but he has made every effort to keep this sport going in Australia.
I got to meet Mal because he is the Dad of my friend, Megs. Meg’s Mum, Liz, has been married to Mal for almost all of her life, supporting him and working with him on stations, going to Bronco Branding events and moving around the countryside from one cattle station to the next. Behind every good man is a good woman and this is what Liz is. I would often see Mal, proud as punch, driving his Nissan Patrol ute around town. He set Megs up with a Nissan Patrol ute too so she could travel Australia with her faithful dog, PK, and also her friends Reggie and Pup. We will talk more about Reggie and Pup later.
Each of us has an animal in our lives that we really bond with. Mal had a horse named Nugget. To Mal, Nugget was loyal, determined and one of a kind. That horse was like a best friend to him. They rode and worked together as a great team for many years. To everyone else, Nugget was a rogue and Nugget never had the same regard for anyone the same as he did for Mal. In fact, there are many stories that have been told about Nugget and his antics with other people, but those are stories more for beers around a campfire than a blog. Let’s just say that Nugget was a one man horse.
Sadly and unexpectedly a few months ago, Mal was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer and passed away so very quickly, well before his time. This broke the hearts of many outback people, young and old, and it was fitting that he was given a send-off led by his bronco branding mates, his dogs and horses at the local camp drafting grounds.
This is where my mates, Reggie and Rhiannon have come into the picture. They too are good friends of Megs and knew Mal. Reggie and her husband Pup traveled Australia with Megs in their Nissan Utes. There are many good yarns that have come from this epic Australian camping adventure that would be best told around a camp fire with beers too, perhaps the same campfire that the Nugget the Horse stories are told.
Reggie and Rhiannon are some of the best mates a girl could have. These outback girls are hilarious, always up to shenanigans and can be relied upon to be there for you no matter what. You rarely find them out of their boots and Akubras. They are Nissan fans. We have all camped and gone to outback events together for many years. This pair have even ended up on the feature page of the Courier Mail with their pants down at the Birdsville Races IN FULL COLOUR! These girls are what the word shenanigans was made up for.
Reggie and Rhiannon have entered this year’s Mystery Box Rally, a rally that raises awareness and funds for the Cancer Council. Over the last 9 years, Mystery Box and Shit Box Rally have raised over $12 Million for the Cancer Council. It is a cause that is very raw and close to all of our hearts. Their entry into the Mystery Box Rally is in honour of Mal. Look out Mystery Box Rally, the Racks from the Stacks are heading your way!
Mal would love the fact that this pair have purchased an old Nissan to do the rally in. They have called it Nugget the Nissan in honour of Nugget the horse. I am sure Mal would have chuckled at that. They have raised thousands of dollars for the Cancer causes already, with many people who knew Mal getting behind them with generous sponsorship and others throwing support towards the cause because it is about stopping cancer, something we all want.
Reggie’s husband Pup happens to be a mechanic, and Reggie’s not-so-willing brother, Bretto is a fitter, both very handy trades to have. Both men have been roped into getting Nugget the Nissan on the road ready for the Mystery Box Rally. They have also roped in a bunch of ring-ins to help so Nugget the Nissan will be roaring at it’s finest. Most of these ring-ins have names that end in ‘o’ or refer to an animal or something crazy that they did. The don’t use their real names because no one can remember what their real names are now except for their mothers. The good thing is, they all work for beer and are happy to lend a hand for a good cause. What appeared to be a few little repairs here and there has turned into a mammoth challenge but with a few beers being thrown their way these boys can be relied upon to get Nugget the Nissan in ship shape ready to start the rally.
So, this is where these girls are at, in honour of Mal – a great man, Meg’s Dad, Liz’s husband, a proud grandfather, a champion bronco brander, Nugget’s best mate, a man of the community, a man of the outback. There will be more updates as Reggie and Rhiannon get closer to starting the rally and we will keep you updated during the rally as well.
If you want to follow the journey of Reggie and Rhiannon in Nugget the Nissan in the Mystery Box Rally join their Facebook page. If you have a few dollars or a fiver to spare then log onto their fund raising site and make even a small donation. It all adds up.
This one’s for you, Mal. Cheers.
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