On the afternoon of Australia Day 2017, the whip cracking Gods shone down upon us as the clouds parted, the sun came out and the angels sung on high….
*Imagine here the sound of angels singing on high….something like….Laaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! But high. No, higher than that. Higher. That’s it!*
Now do it out loud. 😀
We arrived home in the afternoon with Lindsay’s brand new whip, the whip he’d waited 12 months to buy from world record holder Nathan ‘Whippy’ Griggs. He could hardly wait to get cracking. If you read Part 1 of this story on Friday then you’ll know that this was a big moment.
If you didn’t read Part 1, click here. You’re going to need to read that first and come back. Go on off you go! I’ll wait…..
Now where was I? So it was a big moment…..
Dean suggested we do a bit of research into how to actually crack the whip but I wasn’t having a bar of that. I’d seen The Man From Snowy River. How hard could it be?
‘What? Are you kidding?’ I said. ‘Here, give it to me. It’s not that hard’, and off I went outside, whip in hand to prove my point.
‘You’re going to need to wear a hat and safety glasses’ said Dean.
I was incredulous.
‘Because Nathan said so’.
‘Oh. Well in that case, dress me up then’.
Who am I to question Nathan ‘Whippy’ Griggs.
So sporting Heather’s hot pink cowgirl hat and a pair of fair dinkum safety glasses, I flicked the whip as if I were throwing a dart, really hard. And just like an elastic band be buggered if that bloody whip didn’t spring back and damn near take my nose off.
It stung and my eyes began to water. Not that anyone needed to know.
‘Might need to change tactics’ I announced to my ever-doubtful, somewhat frightened looking audience of three.
I swung the whip around and around in a circle high up over my head. I figured it couldn’t do me any harm up there.
You could hear it swirling through the air at great speed and then just like Tom Burlinson astride his trusty steed I flicked, I ducked, I closed my eyes, tried to protect my head. But it got me. It got me good.
As I unwound it from around my throat, I noted the concern in the faces of my family.
‘Let’s You Tube it’ I said.
They all let out a sigh of relief.
After a lot of practice and a bit of online tuition, not only was I able to elicit a crack or two. Lindsay, Heather and Dean managed to crack it too. There was much cheering and yahooing. It’s quite a thrill when you actually manage to pull off a crack.
But boy oh boy did I have to eat humble pie. It’s a little bit harder than I thought. Apparently.
Note the absence of hat and glasses in the bottom two pics? If I hadn’t read the safety instructions myself, you’d think I’d been had.
So the next day we went to see one of Nathan ‘Whippy’ Grigg’s shows in the main street during the Tamworth Country Music Festival. Finally. We arrived with half an hour to spare and jostled with the other early birds for a ringside spot in the shade. Mate, you’ve gotta stand your ground! It’s a dog-eat-dog world among whip cracking enthusiasts I tell you. It’s not for the faint-hearted.
Anyway, the show starts and out comes Nathan ‘Whippy’ Grigg’s swinging not one, but two whips around and cracking in time…..to the beat of music! In double time.
TRIPLE TIME EVEN.
It was groovy music too. Real funky like. The man had rythmn and speed. He threw in all sorts of tricks too.
Well I looked at Dean and Dean looked at me. And I looked back at Nathan and then back at Dean. And my mouth and my eyes were wide open. If someone had have popped a ping pong ball into my mouth, I would not have been surprised. I looked just like one of those clowns at the show as I stood there gobsmacked looking back and forth between Dean and Nathan.
He holds The World Record for the most cracks in one minute with 614 cracks. That’s more than 10 cracks per second.
Here am I trying to pull one crack per half-hour without being injured.
He is a very talented fellow. Just 23 years of age! You can check him out on Facebook here.
After the festival was all over, can you imagine our delight when we saw Nathan’s camper van and trailer pull into our neighbour’s house next door? Not kidding! He’s mates with our neighbour and stopped there for the night before heading off to his next gig.
It did take a lot of our self-control not to mob him. We just peeked out from behind the blinds as he rolled in. We might have squealed a bit. Then we ate tea outside as if it was just another day living in the Australian Country Music Capital.
We live next door to an Australian Yodeling Champion. I know this all sounds a little bit far-fetched. But it’s true! We’re rubbing shoulders with some country music notoriety I’ll have you know.
No she doesn’t yodel in the shower. Trust me, we’d hear her! Johanna is awesome.
And that is the story about the whips. So inspired was Dean that he too spent his pocket-money on a whip of his own. Now both he and Lindsay enjoy having a bit of a crack now and again.
In the mean time I’ll keep working on my technique. After seeing the ABCRA Rodeo Finals the other night I’m thinking I might try steer wrestling. I reckon I’ve got falling off the horse down pat already and I wrestle kids onto the change mat everyday. What’s to learn?
Have you ever had a go at cracking a whip?
Maybe you yodel?