How and why, they all ask looking at the ring in my udders, did this all start? This is, I realise, a complicated yet judicious question. Why do we ride 94.7 kilometres dressed as The Cows? Over 12 months ago, few of us even knew each other. And now we’re on a committee dressed in cow suits with an agenda and a motto:-
Planning is for people who don’t know what they're doing.
I guess it all started because of Jessica. She was only 20 months old when she succumbed to cancer in the early part of 2008. This triggered her parents, Grant and Kerrin, into doing something in her memory. Something honourable and a little inspirational. Without much experience, they decided to ride the 2008 94.7 bike race dressed as angels and raise money for CHOC, the homes for kids with cancer. Little did they know how this would unfold or the chain of events that would be unleashed from their actions.
What happened next goes a little something like this:- Kerrin told her friend, Cordi, that she was to raise money for CHOC. Cordi, without much training or common sense, decided to do the 94.7 bike race dressed as a dog. He then told his friend, Alberto, who roped in a couple of friends. And suddenly there were six riders all raising money for CHOC in memory of little Jessica. They couldn’t find enough dog suits, so they opted to go as characters from an animal farmyard. But no fancy dress outfitters would part with their suits. Eventually six black and white cow suits surfaced. And that’s how they rode the 94.7 bike race. One of them on a single-gear pedal-backwards-to-brake hold-on-for-dear-life ice cream bicycle.
Cordi, having recently removed his training wheels from his mountain bike, overheated on the day and barely made it to the finish line. But he, and all the cows and angels, did what they had set out to do and completed the race. And in so doing The Cows raised a quarter of a million Rand. Just like that.
Stories of tequila and Steers burgers began filtering along the cyberwaves inspiring many into action. The number of requests from people who wanted to ride the 2009 race in cowsuits astounded. A list was started and The Cows convened for a pow-wow (or a cow-wow if you will). CHOC were searching for a million Rand to acquire an additional home for the kids near Chris Hani Baragwanath hospital. Unphased by the magnitude of this endeavour and with the realisation that they could not achieve this by themselves, The Cows set about corralling additional cows for the herd.
It was agreed:- 50 cows raising twenty grand each would bring in the money. Easy.
50 cows turned into 80. 80 into 100. And finally we settled on the magic number: 129 cows. Not just regular cows mind you, now we were a band of calves, regular cows, super cows, and of course, the ice cream bicycle riding cows. The Cows were evolving and taking off in a way that few could have imagined.
Weekly brainstorming sessions for fund raising ideas and logistics became the norm. Many events were planned:- a street party at Gold Reef City on the 2nd October, a spinnathon on Halloween, an expo at the 94.7 registration, a bike race of just under 100 kilometres dressed as cows, and of course, an after party.
Deep down we are a just a bunch of cows with big ideas and lots of friends who donate to us because they love us and have a good laugh seeing our jiggly udders vacillate on bike seats under blue skies and the hot Johannesburg sun. Hamstrings quiver at the thought of the pedals which await us on the 15th November.
How and why did this all start?
The how is easy. As for the why, that’s a bit more intricate. On the 15th November, The Cows will all ride for many reasons. But, I guess you can say, the main reason we ride all started because of Jessica.
Two weeks until I ride an ice cream bike for 94.7k's,