Marble Bar Races honour legend
The Marble Bar Cup mixed breed undies run is one of the greatest moments on the Pilbara sporting calendar, making it the perfect vehicle to pay tribute to one of the region’s favourite sons.
Late heli-mustering pilot Ross McDowell, also known as Rossy Rotor, loved a day at the races, so it was only fitting several people who were close to him made sure his spirit lived on.
Hence the idea was born for Rossy Rotor Rooters, a team of near-nude runners donning those words on their underwear as they bolted down the red-dirt race track for the last race of the day.
In what was arguably one of the biggest Pilbara surprises ever, the McDowells were unaware of the tribute until the teams’ bottoms were standing in a line right in front of them on the race track.
They joined a large contingent of about 40 racers in varying degrees of nudity and athleticism for the 100m dash down the home straight of the red-dirt racecourse.
Mr McDowell’s wife, Chrissie McDowell, said it had been an honour to share the grief and joy of the past year with the community.
“I knew it was going to be a pretty emotional weekend because we always loved going to Marble Bar, and for Rossy, it was the highlight of the calendar for the year,” she said.
“This whole year has been really very sad, but very positive. I can’t express how grateful I am to this community.
“Rossy was a quiet bloke who touched everyone’s heart in a way which was so powerful.”
The team name was a tribute to the name Mr McDowell gave a triathlon team he competed in with his daughter Sophie.
As a further tribute, Chrissie was crowned beau of the ball the night before, notching up a McDowell family trifecta.
Chrissie and Sophie McDowell, wife and daughter of local legend Ross McDowell, who died in a helicopter accident last year. An undies run team was named Rossy Rotor Rooters in honour of one of Sophie's favourite memories of her father.