Against all odds - bribery, coercion, bullying, arm-twisting - I held onto my guest pass to meet Greg Murphy on Monday evening.
This girl's not entirely stupid; there had to be more than average odds in a room full of testosterone-oozing men, so no way was I parting with my ticket.
On that count it was eye-opening. I had yet another illusion dashed as I found that mum was wrong - the way to a man's heart is not through his stomach, it's through his Holden.
Ebbett Tauranga held a special 'meet Greg Murphy' evening to raise funds for Project Hope. Still riding high from his Pukekohe success, Greg was articulate, forthright, funny, self-effacing and generous with his time.
He certainly has an aura about him that would have made him stand out from the crowd, even if his posters and billboards hadn't been peering at us from every available space.
All in all, it was a great night. About 200 fans crowded into the spotless Ebbett showroom and redeemed their ticket price in good food and wine. Radio Network organised and promoted the event and it ran like clockwork.
Original entertainment that invited audience participation and gave everyone a good laugh ensured the right tempo. By the time the auction commenced everyone was well primed and eager.
In every break Greg signed posters, clothing - and in one case a boob - and no-one missed out on the opportunity to shake his hand.
The fact that Greg is an all round nice guy probably kept the action going when it came time to bid for a breakfast date with him the next morning.
Dave Hutton of Bayside 4x4 Spares scored brownie points with his wife by winning a seat either side at the premium price of $1400.00. Ken Blunt of HSV gained a round of applause when at the end of his auction he pulled a special offer out of the hat: the chance to do four hot laps at Pukekehe with Greg Murphy.
Healthy bidding ended with Les and Gail Thompson of BBQ Factory paying $2200 for the privilege.
With such high energy and good spirit abounding, it is easy to see how I ended up walking away with a cheque for $4650.00.
Yet again we had a living example of the greatest results achieved from working together. Paul Oliver, Parts Manager, Ebbett Tauranga conceived the idea; Radio Network developed and sponsored the promotion; Bay of Plenty Times supported it; and numerous local motor industry businesses dug deep into their pockets all for a good cause.
And yes, I did shake his hand; I did get a photo shoot; and I did get a signed cap. Eat your heart out.
Fundraisers: Quilt Auction: Tauranga Quilters Association quilt display at Bayfair for 2 weeks from 30th April. They will be auctioned at 1pm on 7th May. Ray White Auction: Every day during the Home Show Ray White will be auctioning a household item (approximate value: $600) with all proceeds going to Project Hope. Mount Cosmopolitan Club: Who Knows? Promotion. Sunday 29th May all day garage sale, entertainment and huge auction. To book a table ph: 575 4886.
Don't forget if you are planning an event to let me know so that I can offer assistance and help promote what you are doing. If you have any fund-raising ideas or want to make a contribution call me on Ph: 571 1631. Donations: our 0900 number 09004GOOD or deposit at any ANZ Bank.