I hope you all had a great BearFEST, and congratulations to our new Mr VicBear 2019, Matt Gardiner. There was certainly stiff competition from the gallant Ray Lee and Victor Shields. And what a competition! Lights, action and camera – I can’t recall anything as brilliant since James Cameron sank the Titanic, with Kate Winslett and Leo Di Caprio fighting over the flotsam. I am of course obliquely referring to our hosts for the evening, the legendary Laurie Lane and Rob Camm: paired for the first time together as comperes for the Mr VicBears Competition at Union. Oh, how our hearts will go on…
We had an international guest judge in the firm but pliant flesh of of Kev Hamm, President of Big Sky Pride & Montana Bears, and I am sure you were all as delighted as was I to welcome back Dale Kruse and Randall Robinson after so many years. I was remiss at Union night for not mentioning the superb back stage work of the gentle giant Peter Callaghan who wrangles contestants with aplomb, ably assisted by Jason Turner as stage manager. Every competition they are back and I don’t know how we would manage without them.
But the Mr VicBear Competition was not the only event, as you would all know having been bombarded by our indefatigable social media guru, Mikhail.
Our stall at Carnival was a welcome oasis, booked some months ago with foresight by Kevin Reader as a double tent with power, and tastefully decorated by Darryn, Jeremy and Darryl (Jeremy’s “Handy Andy” if VicBears was Changing Rooms) with the finest hay bales your subscriptions could buy. The new banners that Kevin has created have proved to be arresting and eye catching, and above all provide strong visual reminder of the club itself, the services we offer at Union , and our sponsors. They are sensational, and frankly set us out apart from our peers. We received many positive comments about the logo and banner – it really was a great effort and well deserved..
Who could forget the hot gogo dancers of Friday night at Hunk together with some of the best music I have heard in a long while? Clint really did us proud in the entertainment department this weekend. Special shout out to Scott “Sweeny Todd” Fogarty for the hairy hunk signs. Underbear was perhaps our busiest night, and I want to thank in particular our cloak (and dagger) room manager Darryn Paspa, ably assisted by Sam & Jason, Aaron & Adrian, and Victor & Ed on the graveyard shift in the Cloak room. Underbear was an outstanding success: I would very much like to acknowledge Michael Rayner and his partner Craig for helping with the set up this afternoon in terms of inflating the inflatables and tastily festooning them about the Laird. Nothing says “party” more than beach balls, lasers and “Thomas the Tank Engine” floating above the DJ desk.
As ever, we had young Jeremy & Darryl flashing the tongs at the BBQ in its penultimate appearance on Saturday, with an final performance on the Monday Social by Jeremy and myself. Members will be pleased to know that not only did we raise sufficient funds over the weekend to replenish the coffers in store for Southern HiBearnation, your efforts also completely funded the purchase of a new BarBeQue for the Laird – well done! As a club we are incredibly fortunate to have the most generous and obliging hosts at The Laird Hotel: nothing is ever too much trouble for Brett and Mark of the Laird. Their kindness towards us is immense and never taken for granted. Likewise is the almost indefatigable Myka, bar manager extraordinaire and his team of bar staff (all of whom are very easy on the eye!)
Finally I want to acknowledge all my colleagues on the committee: one could not wish for a better group of bears. Despite wildly differing backgrounds and talents, working together we have achieved an incredible amount of progress in just over 12 months. Just wait until next week for February Union to see how we can top January!!!
Can you feel the Force already?
President, VicBears Inc.