Saturday, December 15, 2007


Jon Doust, Skye Shannon, Roy Piggott, Jeremy Beissel
Manjimup Cherry Festival Day Before
IN a disgusting display of bad manners, Jeremy Beissel stuck his face in a plate of cream, found a cherry and spat the pip on the chest of Genine Unsworth.
He won the Find the Cherry Pip and Spit Competition, a new game designed and created by Maree Cullinan of ABC South West.
It was all over before it started.
Beisseel, the new co-owner of Fonty's Pool, was in a like a duck and out like truck.
Doust was next but he politely held his pip.
Skye Shannon, ABC Rural Reporter, was a close third. She also resisted the temptation to spit on her superior.
Roy Piggott struggled and denied his plate had a cherry: "I've lost mine," he complained.
It was all for a laugh, obviously at the expanse of those with cream on their faces, particularly Piggott who took days to get the stench from his beard.
Maree Cullinan revealed herself as a creative and devious producer and someone not to be trusted with power and responsibility.
Here she is (on the left) leading on Genine Unsworth (on the right), a kind and gentle soul who has no idea what she is getting into.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


A long time ago, it seems all too long, Paul Omodei Jnr brought the trophy home. Almost. In fact, he didn't even get home before we lost it.
This is how they wrote him up in NZ.

Aussie blowhard wins cherry-stone spitting

BY AIMEE WILSON - The Southland Times | Monday, 03 December 2007
Southland Times

BIG SPITTER: Paul Omodei, of Western Australia, is New Zealand's 2007 cherry stone spitting champion.

They have found a useful way of dealing with those annoying stones you find in the middle of cherries in Cromwell.

Okay, so they stole the idea off the Aussies but, even worse, this year's New Zealand cherry stone spitting champion is from across the ditch.

Paul Omodei has been the Australian champion twice and on Saturday he took the Kiwi title from Michael Robinson, of Oamaru.

The agricultural consultant from Pembarton-Manjimup, where the competition originated, pushed his cheeks out to blast a stone 11m, just slightly ahead of Mr Robinson.

Mr Omodei said while he didn't work specifically with cherries in his field of work, he admitted to having four trees in his backyard, "so I was able to practise a bit," he said.

For full results of the NZ competition, click here: Cromwell



IN amazing scenes, the new Australian Champion Cherry Pip Spitter Mark Vitler was welcomed back to Mount Barker.
Eyewitness reports say placards were displayed in streets and wild crowds waved at the Big Spitter as he drove, somewhat surprised, towards his modest farm house.
Later Sunday night, Mount Barker time, friends and family joined Vitler with barbecued meat and fresh champagne, or something that tasted like it.
His wife, Jodi Vitler, said Mark was a new hero for the town's young.
"He didn't want to go at first, you know," she said. "I had to talk him into it.
"I said: Go on. You'll have fun. Who knows, you might even win a trip to NZ. He said: "It's a bit embarrassing, spitting in front of all those people."
What a strange comment coming from a man who stood before 10,000 people, on a windy day, with enough confidence to make the front row move back 10 feet, or 5 meteres, or 3 steps, 15 oodlies, 75 pickovers, 18 diddlesquats, or whatever the measuring system is these days.
Vitler is a typical Australian champion, modest, unassuming, laconic, big, well cared for, happy in himself, a hard worker, a mate to everyone who is a mate, community minded, good with bottle tops, ready for an arm wrestle at any time of night or day, an open honest smile always at the ready and keen to finish a meal that is put in front of him.
All right, given this is a blog, a lot of the above may have been made up in order to fill the space, but that is taking nothing away from Vitler and the town that loves him.
(He doesn't actually live in town. His place is much closer to the Porongorups, a mountain range in the deep-south of West Australia. Seriously, the man is blessed.)

Monday, December 10, 2007


A sight for sore Australian eyes: Michael Robertson holds aloft the GlobeVista Australasian Cherry Pip Spitting Trophy, almost one week to the day that he lost it.

December 8th
Manjimup, West Australia
IN a sad day for Australian Cherry Pip Spitting, the New Zealand Champion, Michael Robertson, sucked back the trophy he'd lost the week before.
From the back of a truck, Robertson spat in the faces of an entire town and crushed the opposition.
Well, not quite crushed, because his spit of 10.3 metres, pipped the Australian representative, Mount Barker's Mark Vitler, by just .2 of a metre.

NZ's Michael Robertson spits using his famous, curled-tongue, full body method.

Vitler, a big man with a big heart, spat 10.1 metres and might have won the Trans-Tasman trophy if not for the long, early morning drive along the Muir Highway that joins two great fruit growing communities.

Mount Barker's Mark Vitler shows a nation what he's made of.

Competition was strong, with Donnybrook's Norm Bedford spitting 10 metres on his way to a cricket match in Bunbury.
Competition organiser, Jon Doust, said it was time Australian spitters caught up with the New Zealanders.
"Robertson is obviously funded by a serious backer and clearly spends months preparing," Doust said.
"Our blokes all have jobs, families to support, nations to build, creeks to cross, rivers to dam, hills to ship out and can't compete on the same level."
When it was pointed out to Doust that only the week before Paul Omodei Jnr had travelled to NZ and wrested back the Trans-Tasman trophy with a magnificent spit of 11.24 metres, he shrugged his shoulders and said: "That maybe so, but I think my earlier comments will look better on a blog, than some namby-pamby stuff about 'best man won on the day', or 'it's back to the drawing board.'''
Here's Robertson celebrating the next day with a haka.

In other news:
Before the event got under way, The West Australian ran a piece inside the front cover.
Read on:

(Click on it to make it bigger and readable.)

Saturday, December 01, 2007


Today, December 1, 2007
Cromwell, New Zealand
Earlier today, NZ time, Paul Omodei Jnr spat his way into the record books with a resounding victory in the Trans-Tasman Cherry Stone Spitting Championship.
To win, Paul faced his nemesis, Michael Robertson, the 2006 Trans Tasman winner.

It was a tight contest, according to our on-site reporter, Tatum Larsen: "Paul spat hard and fast and the stone, as they call the pips here, flew 11.24 metres."
Michael was crushed, defeated, took time out, ate a pie, sucked on a bottle of coke, walked back to the podium and faced off for the right to fly to Manjimup and attempt to wrest back the trophy, which looks, in case you've forgotten, like this:

Due to an ongoing holiday, Paul will not appear in Manjimup next week to spit off in the Globe Vista Southern Hemispheric Cherry Pip Spitting Championships (or something like that).
Michael Robertson will be there, angry, tormented by his defeat, eager to find a bed, anywhere, somewhere, but certainly not in the hotel room booked for the purpose of his visit.
And why should he, he's young, he's handsome, he's from New Zealand.
This blogger can't find a pic of Paul Omodei Jnr, but here's one of his father attempting to swallow an avocado stone.

Donnybrook 2007

It was a big day with small numbers.
It was cold, wet, muggy, overcast and the town seemed bereft of Saturday morning shoppers.
Four of us stood around the fine old train station located in the centre of town, handing cherries to each other and talking about the weather, and the whether.
Whether it would rain.
Whether anyone would show to spit in the Great Donnybrook Spat.
They did.
One bloke brought his grumbling kids: "He made us come."
"I want a ticket to New Zealand and I don't care which one of you wins it. Now get up there and spit."
They spat, not at dad, not in his direction, but they were aiming at him.
Then dad spat.
None of them got anywhere near the mark, a mark that wasn't there, but we knew where it would be if it was.
Then Campbell Brown showed and blew the pip a mile. Well, not quite a mile, he claimed it was a mile, but it was more like 6 metres.
So we gave him a t-shirt.
That's him below.

It rained some more.
We ate what we could.
Giovanni from Mandurah turned up and made Campbell look like a mug.
Neither of them could make it to the Big Spat in Manjimup the following week, so we asked them to leave the premises.
We had $100 in our pockets and we were not giving it to anyone who refused to play along.
Finally, Norm Bedford, sent to town by his wife to buy a loaf of bread, was called over from outside the bakery by Donnybrook's Man of the Moment, Angelo Logiudice.
Norm stepped up, puckered up, spat up, and we knew then and there we had a winner.

Turns out Norm is a professional cricketer and while in Manjimup he will also take a shot at the Chuck The Cherry competition.
His spit?
Good question: 8.8 metres.
Not bad.
On a windy day, it might just be enough.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Yes, there will be cherries this year in Manjimup.
And Mount Barker, and Donnybrook.
In fact, cherry spitters from both town will make their way to Manjimup for the big chance: free ticket to New Zealand in 2008 to represent Australia in the Southern Hemispheric Spitting Competition.
On December the 8th, Manjin Park, heat winners from Mount Barker, Donnybrook, Manjimup along with the 2007 New Zealand Champion Spitter, will make their way to the stage for the big Gob Off, otherwise known as The Globe Vista Australasian Cherry Pip Spitting Championships.
This years crop will not be as fecund (can i say that? I mean as big.) a crop as last year's.
Why not?
Good question.
Plenty of rain, sure, but what has been lacking is cold, need more cold, which is why 2007 was such a bumper year: plenty of cold, bugger all rain.
Get ready, gather wind, make your way to Manjimup, December 8th, 2007.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Oh yes, we'll do it all again

Getting closer.
Our Pip Spitting Champ from 2006, Paul Omodei Jnr, is almost on the plane for Cromwell NZ.
He's training, spitting, every day, he said, so I hope he is.
Paul will fly into Queenstown, jump a car for Cromwell, spit like al hell has broken lose and, hopefully, bring the Australasian Cherry Pip spitting Trophy back home where it is yet to belong.
Those pesky NZers may not be able to play rugby when the saliva hits the fan, but they sure can spit.
As for the cherries, not sure this far out.
What is certain is that there will not be as many as last year because although Manjimup has had plenty of rain, it has not been cold enough.
Get ready.
More news coming.