Mayors rise to hip challenge

By Zac Yates

A group of confused Scouts looked on as representatives from sister cities Wanganui and Toowoomba took part in a one-off event on Wednesday.

Mayor Annette Main led her team to victory in a three-game contest involving hula hooping, quoits and egg-and-spoon races.

Local hula expert Anne-Marie Emerson gave the competitors, including councillors, spouses and staff members, a crash course in essential hula technique.

"You've got to give it a really good oomph," Emerson said to Wanganui District Council CEO Kevin Ross who was having trouble getting his hoop started.

"You've got to keep it up for longer," Mayor Main advised him, showing brilliant skill with her own hoop.

Mayor Antonio was one of the first to drop his hoop, followed by Wanganui councillor Rob Vinsen whose wife Lyn showed great technique for a first-timer.

After four minutes of continous hooping only three competitors remained in the running: Mayor Main and Toowoomba Regional Councillors Nancy Sommerfield and Anne Glasheen.

Mayor Antonio was cheering on his councillors, advising them to "keep breathing, dolls!"

When an extra challenge in the form of walking while swinging was suggested things took a turn for the worse, with Cr Glasheen losing her swing quickly followed by a photo-finish between Mayor Main and Cr Sommerfield. It was decided the councillor from Toowoomba had her hoop off the ground for a fraction of a second longer, and so the Queensland city has the hula title for now.

A full programme for the sister city visitors meant the contest started 45 minutes later than scheduled, which in turn meant not enough eggs could be hard-boiled in time for the egg-and-spoon race. The 10 competitors had to make do with golf balls and teaspoons instead.

This race was a lot closer. With one hand behind their back, the teams faced off over a short course, walking to and around small traffic cones at a brisk pace.

One of the Scouts present was heard to remark: "Watching you guys is better than the Olympics!"

Cr Vinsen was the picture of concentration during his run but this cost him precious ground, which Wanganui councillor Jack Bullock was fortunately able to recover.

Ultimately it was down to the two mayors to bring it home, Mayor Main crossing the line to take a close victory with a team time of 59.7 seconds.

The tie breaker match was quoits, and as a westerly wind came in the contestants had to adjust their throws accordingly.

Points were few and far between, and after each team member had made their toss it was down to the wire with two points per team (Cr Bullock and Mr Ross, and Crs Glasheen and Sommerfield).

The strengthening wind made a tie-break throw tricky but Cr Bullock made a magic throw to scoop the win for Wanganui.

There was talk Toowoomba may host its own Masters Games but it remains to be seen if there will be a round two for this competition.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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