Whipcracking

Our two youngest children are into whipcracking.
Our oldest son was enjoying the benefits of boarding school when this interest all sparked up. He is quite a good little cracker too, and spends a lot of time and effort, when home on holidays, in 'having a crack at it!' Though he has not had the tuition and time to practise.

It all started in 2009 at our local show. Itty Bitty MDK was obsessed! He watched the Wicks family non stop for the duration of the show, he got lots of tutoring from them and carried a metal briefcase with the whips in it, which he used as a seat when he was waiting for his turn. It was very funny. He entered the whipcracking competition and came 2nd in his age group.
Little did we know......


Things really ramped up for them this year, thanks to the support and encouragement from the Wicks family from Gunnedah in NSW, who have for many years been outstanding achievers in this sport.
In February, both Miss MDK and Itty Bitty MDK received encouragement awards at the Queensland titles held at Clifton. We were originally only going as Itty Bitty MDK was going to have a crack and I was able to convince Miss MDK to put together 10 tricks and have a go too. They were really happy with these awards ( a pair of whips and a Wicks Whipcracking DVD).

See that maroon and white old fashioned checked tie? it was a thick wool one that he insisted on wearing. It was like a big woolly scarf-- in February in Queensland?????

 On the drive home, something happened. We bought a pair of kangaroo hide whips from the Wicks', we complained to Mr MDK that he had been too rough with them, a little bit of teasing went on as Mr MDK had received a ribbon at this event, Miss MDK became a tad determined and so when we got home the whips were put into action and she cracked and cracked and cracked.

Itty Bitty MDK initially taught his sister how to do the tricks he knew. They stood outside, rain, hail and shine in front of a window and practised, Miss MDK watched videos on whipcracking and practised. Suddenly there were 2 kids encouraging each other, practising continually and learning from each other. I found it very hard to tell them to stop and do their jobs around the house and their homework!! One day I noticed Miss MDK had welts all up her shorts clad legs, I told her people would think she was a victim of some sort of whipping abuse!! She soon learned to wear long trousers and sleeves!







We went to the Armidale show in March to meet up with the Wicks' and have some more tuition and they were kinda pleased with the way the kids had progressed. The children did really well in their age groups and Miss MDK was entered into the open section and had extreme success there too.

video

A few weeks later we went to the Dunnedoo show, to meet up again with the Wicks family and compete. This time they were invited to do a little bit of a demonstration with the Wicks family for the crowd and did Mary had a little lamb in time together.

video

After that was our local show. Our local paper had run an article on our little crackers and lots of children were really interested in competing against them. Again they were successful in their age groups and then in the opens again Miss MDK placed first and Itty Bitty MDK placed 2nd.

2 weeks later we made the trip to Sydney. The NSW Royal Agricultural Society, RM Williams and the Australian Whipcrackers and Plaiters Association, were holding the Australian Whipcracking Titles during the Sydney Royal Easter Show. We were asked if we would like to do some promotional events with various media for the competition, we were more than happy to do this as I was on holidays and we were able to stay with my sister for the ten days from the start of the show leading up to the competition.


The opening day of the Show we were there at 5.45am to be on WSFM's Jonesy and Amanda's show. The venue was at the Ampitheatre where the children were going to compete 10 days later, fantastic.  While the music was playing or the news was on the kids were able to crack away. This brought much attention as it sounded like firecrackers going off. The main attraction at this event was 1. cracking on air and 2. the NSW Premier, Mr Barry O'Farrell. The children were going to teach him how to crack the whip. He had a good go, got a crack after a few goes, and probably left with some welts on his shoulders and back. He was attending a meeting later in the day with the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard and our daughter gave him one of the whips she had won. Perhaps he took it to the meeting with him!!


That's the whip he took with him in his hand.
Watch some of it here.
barry-ofarrell-cracks-whip-jonesy-amanda

We then headed up the hill towards the Dome and to go on the morning show SUNRISE with Grant Denyer at the weather break. It was still very early.

Here missy is at the last minute checking and changing her crackers. 
They cracked Mary Had a Little Lamb in time together, Grant had to stop them from going into the second verse which they had started. They would crack all day if they could. Grant had a go later and got a crack. The cameraman was a bit too worried about losing an eye to have a real go, he held the whip and thought about it just that bit too long!
watch it here


Next we went just around the corner and cracked for 2UE radio, this was for the winners of a competition that was run for 2UE listeners to camp overnight for the opening of the show. There were about 50 people there and they were having breakfast when we were there. The kids ran through their routines, they both had a 1 minute routine which they would use in the titles and they did some other in time routine. The crowd seemed to appreciate the performance.

That was it for the first day, three media appearances before 8.30 am I think it was. The show was not even open! We got ourselves some pies from inside the Dome and then later checked the whips into the cloak room in the Members stand and had ourselves a jolly good look around.

After the extreme chilli tasting.


Dreaming of being a goat farmer.

We stayed until really late that night and watched 'til the very end! We were exhausted when we left!


On the Sunday we were invited to go on air with ABC radio with the Woodies. This was great fun, though it was absolutely pouring down rain and was disgusting, luckily we had plenty of warm clothes and jackets.
The other fella there with whips is Daniel Wicks, the Australian Men's Title holder. He did most of the interview and then did Philandy hoofbeats which sounds like a horse going from a walk to a trot, to a canter and then back down. He is an amazing whipcracker and blows our mind every time we watch him crack.


Mummaducka at this stage was lugging a suitcase with all the whips, jackets and paraphernalia around everywhere.

The current collection


All the whips in one bag.

Lucky that the Members stand has an excellent cloak room where you can check everything and anything into (including show bags!!)


The Woodies had, following after us, another young man who kept various reptiles, we hung around and the kids got to have a hands on experience.


This one really surprised me, Miss MDK usually will not touch anything icky. Notice the boys with their hands ready for if she drops it!

The following Saturday (Easter Saturday) was the The NSW Royal Agricultural Society, RM Williams and the Australian Whipcrackers and Plaiters Association 2011 Australian Whipcracking Titles competition.
There was an amazing display of skill and talent.
We had no idea what to expect. The day was very long. We stayed overnight in a closeby hotel, so that  the children could get a good sleep and be well rested. Things did not go according to plan there as the hotel was critically understaffed and their computer system was "down" delaying our check in by a few hours. They tried to make up for it with complimentary food and drinks, however it did not help with our purpose of having non tired children, non stressed parents and an early dinner.
Despite all that the Children had an amazing run and both placed first in their age divisions. A true testament to the coaching they received from the Wicks' from Gunnedah, constant, regular practise and skill.
We are most proud of not the trophies they brought home, but the way ALL three conducted themselves over the whole time we were there. Focused, gracious and dedicated.
Big brother was in charge of the video camera all day long (and it was a huge day) and got amazing footage of all the different crackers.
 Here is what he got of his siblings.
These are the winning routines.
10 tricks, and a 30 second freestyle routine in all.

Juvenile, 12 years and under.

Pee Wee, 8 years and under.



Missy had an accuracy component too.



Such concentration.



The various age division winners

The North West Region's competitors.
Now that my two have Australian titles, they can no longer enter any Novice category.


The following morning (Easter Sunday) we had to get up early and meet up with Emma from the Weekend Today show for a segment. Can you imagine running (cos I'm always late!) and hauling that big Trophy from one end of the Sydney Showground to the other? Well we did and it was not easy!

 Here, Daniel Wicks is giving Emma some pointers on how to crack.


Then he did this little trick with her. She was a bit scared.
Don't worry Emma, he hasn't once hit my kids with this one!
At the end she herself did a two handed straight crack, Well done!
We hung around afterwards and got in on the segment with the Farmyard nursery and an Easter Egg hunt, YAY!! and they used GOOD chocolate!


 Our Eldest son was on TV too for the first time.


 That Donkey in the background WOULD NOT behave, we thought 'someone' might have been stirring him up??


 Itty Bitty got the special job of giving the lamb the milk bottle. Of course he fell in love with it and wanted to bring it home. There was a bit of giggling from the crowd up the back!!
Emma was a real livewire and great fun!

Next event, the NSW Whipcraking Titles at the Deniliquin Ute Muster.


TBC...

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