Toko­roa gets set to let cheese rolling be­gin

South Waikato News - - Your Paper, Your Place - LUKE KIRKEBY

There are cer­tain things that make no sense in this life and one of them is chas­ing a cheese down a hill.

That’s not to say it’s not a lot of fun though which is what com­peti­tors are sure to have dur­ing the an­nual Waikato Cheese Rolling and Trol­ley Derby in Toko­roa on Satur­day, March 11.

Now in it’s fifth year, or­gan­iser Mar­cus May­don said the event, which started at Cooper’s Hill in Glouces­ter, Eng­land around 400 years ago, is grow­ing in pop­u­lar­ity.

‘‘It just cap­tures an in­ter­est and the fo­cus is on fun,’’ he said.

May­don, whose grand­daugh­ter won the Glouces­ter-based com­pe­ti­tion in 2005 and 2006, said he tries to stick to tra­di­tion as much as pos­si­ble with the New Zealand com­pe­ti­tion.

‘‘The cheese is wrapped in muslin which pro­tects it and it is 14 inches in di­am­e­ter and four inches thick. We stick to that be­cause it is the tra­di­tional size but the hill is not quite as steep,’’ he said.

He said there are events for the whole fam­ily on the day in­clud­ing drone demon­stra­tions, a 90 me­tre long wa­ter­slide where users end up in a pond, Scottish danc­ing, egg toss­ing, caber toss­ing, and the in­fa­mous trol­ley derby.

Two years ago May­don dis­lo­cated his shoul­der in the derby when his trol­ley - a bath with wheels, trav­el­ling at 57km went two me­tres in the air, in­verted and threw him out.

De­spite that, he said in­juries hap­pened sel­dom dur­ing the event and St John was on hand to help if need be.

‘‘It’s only a gold coin do­na­tion to en­ter each event and for an event pro­gramme. We make it as cheap as pos­si­ble so it’s a fun day for the whole fam­ily,’’ he said.

‘‘The per­son with the lucky pro­gramme num­ber will also win an hour’s flight in an aero­plane from Toko­roa Air­port and they can go wher­ever they want which is not bad for a dol­lar.’’

May­don said it is all for a good cause, with pro­ceeds go­ing to dif­fer­ent char­i­ties and com­mu­nity needs each year. This year the West­pac Res­cue Heli­copter is set to ben­e­fit.

‘‘In pre­vi­ous years we’ve raised money for a de­fib­ril­la­tor for St John, over $2000 to­wards the ta­bles and benches out­side the chemist at the hos­pi­tal, and last year we raised $2400 for St John it­self,’’ he said.

The event kicks off at 1pm in Newells Rd be­side the tip.

CHRISTEL YARDLEY/FAIR­FAX NZ

Mar­cus May­don is be­hind the up­com­ing Waikato Cheese Rolling Cham­pi­onships be­ing held in Toko­roa.

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