GIVIT to the Road Boss
Event raises money and laughs for organisation
ARMED with swags, spare parts and lots of characters, 55 cars set off to make their pilgrimage westward across Queensland from July 10 to 20.
The array of vehicles all lined up to tackle the second annual Road Boss Rally which is full of steep ascents and descents, water crossings and magnificent scenery, with the intent to raise funds for GIVIT.
Road Boss Rally organiser Jamie Lawson has been running these events for 30 years.
“My dad has been involved in car rallies since the 1950s and back then it was serious rallying,” he said.
“As it evolved he realised there was a need for people that loved their cars, loved the bush and all aspects of the trials but weren’t really interested in the racing side.”
And the Endeavour Rally was formed.
Two years ago, Jamie changed the name to Road Boss Rally and has taken GIVIT on as the charity to support.
“We found GIVIT quite by accident but it is the perfect fit for us,” Jamie said.
GIVIT is a not-for-profit organisation run through a website where they have a database of donations to connect with people who really need it.
Jamie and his wife Michelle spend all year working on the rally, mapping out the course, gaining access to properties and deciding on the locations to stop each night.
His love of the Australian outback, the culture and the people draws him to the places, making no two rallies the same.
“It allows us to not just visit but to get beneath the surface and find the core and the culture of Australia and who we are,” he said.
Throughout the day, the participants test their skills and knowledge driving through the off-beaten tracks. They glimpse the Australian landscape and see many places tourists don’t often travel.
This year they travelled from Gladstone to Tamworth stopping at the Boulia Camel Races.
The rally leaves a lasting economic footprint along the way with each town they stop at being funded to feed the crews and many hold auctions or raffles to help the community further.
The rally has raised more than $500,000 in two years for GIVIT.
GIVIT founder and CEO Juliette Wright hasn’t partnered with anyone since she began the organisation in 2010.
“There are so many generous people that mix their love of charity with their love of going to wild places over land in their very entertaining cars,” Juliette said.
She realised there was a need for GIVIT when she tried to donate her son’s baby clothes to a local charity.
“Not one charity would take the clothes,” Juliette said.
“They get the pick of the bunch of baby clothes from Lifeline and Salvos and lots of people donate baby clothes, but no one donates the crib, or work boots so the father can get a job, or the ironing board.”
So, Juliette created GIVIT to fill that gap, they can connect people with real items through the hundreds of charity groups connected to GIVIT.
Juliette and her team are still handing out donations they purchased with last year’s funds and the rally participants witnessed their generosity along the way.
In Gladstone, they donated a wheelchair to a 14-year-old girl with severe arthritis.
In Muttaburra, they donated iPads to the kindergarten. Principal Tanya Bambling was excited by the gift.
“They are currently using my iPad from home. So, this is a very valuable source for our young ones to learn.”
Many other drop offs were made along the way including a washing machine, sporting equipment and various appliances.
For many of the rally crew this is their favourite part, seeing the response from those they are supporting.
Heather Christie knows well the effects of helping as she spends her days supporting charity groups including the Caloundra RSL.
She has been rallying in her 1966 HR Holden since 2009 and loves the adventure.
“It is a fun way of giving yourself a pat on the back and giving time out for the 12 months of fundraising and volunteering for the charity,” Heather said.
“A little holiday for us and we get to see where our money goes.”
A common thread for many of the participants was the comradery the group felt and the way they could help.
Martin Crouch from Mt Mee said it was excellent fun and got him off the farm. The dairy farmer drives with his wife Rowena and loves helping people.
“There is a great comradeship in the group,” Martin said.
“There are a lot of antics that happen along the way and it is a challenge in a two-wheel drive, we go a lot of places some 4WDs won’t go.”
But John Ledbetter as the resident mechanic is on hand to help. The Toowoomba resident doesn’t raise as much money as others but says he attempts to help out in other ways.
“Personally, I think the rally is good and we are doing something for charity. I have had 34 people do the trip with me over the years and three of them have continued on with their own cars,” John said, who has done the rally since its inception.
“This has been my way of giving back and I work on other people’s cars while on the rally.”
Ken Laugher from Maroochydore said he didn’t spend a lot of money on his vehicle.
“A lot less than I spend on drinking on the rally,” he said.
“Put it this way, you can’t put a price on it. It goes together, it stays together, it goes home and I park it.”
Ken has been on the rally at least seven times and has been doing charity work all his life.
“This is the best rally to do with the charity and all that.”
The next rally will be on July 9, 2018. Find out more at roadbossrally.com.au or go to givit.org.au.
SPLASH OUT: Creek crossings along the way made for challenging driving.
GIVIT Founder and CEO Juliette Wright and Road Boss Rally organiser Jamie Lawson.
Debra and Steven Ash in The Red Rocket.
Jockeys just hold on rather than steer camels across the line.
Bonnie and Clyde get stuck on a mound through a Wacko.
Adults join in the fun with camel tagging, the winner taking away $500 at the Boulia Camel Races.
Sculptures line the roads near Aramac.