Sunday, December 21, 2008

The new Local Champ steps up his campaign

Craig McSharer and Jon Doust with GlobeVista's Tanya Izzard and Aidan Montague
(Photo by Natalie Bell)

Craig McSharer is the Australian Cherry Pip Spitting Champaign.
There is no dispute.
He beat last year's champ, the Mighty Marky Mark Vitler, with an amazing spit that crushed Vitler by 3cms.
Or was it 2, or 1.1?
Who can remember.
The action was hot and fast and furious and all attention was on the 13.3 metres by the crazed New Zealand, Mike Foam at the Mouth Bassett.
We know Craig is the Australian champ because spitters from Tasmania, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia - all cherry growing states - failed to turn up, to accept the challenge, to even acknowledge the sport.
Craig says to all spitters, Australia wide: "Bring it on! If you think you can spit, let's see your saliva."
If you want to see Craig glow in his glory, go here.

Monday, December 15, 2008

New Zealand town celebrates

The newly crowned GlobeVista Australasian Cherry Pip Spitting Champion Mike Bassett is fast becoming a local hero.
Wanaka is a neat little town perched up high in Central Otago in the middle of the South Island.
Surely 'The Hound Dog Man' can't be the region's first international celebrity, but you can be sure New Zealanders on both ends will make the most of his success with nothing more than a big mouth and a fine set of cheeks.
If you want to read how the prestigious Otago Daily Times is reporting his success, click here.


Mike 'The Dogman' Bassett has won the Trans-Tasman GlobeVista Cherry Pip Spitting Championship.
He is pictured above doing a haka with local hero Mark 'Spooky' Vitler looking on.
The crowd in Manjimup, Western Australia, was left standing numb after Mike spat 13.3 metre, through a wind, round a corner, across a road, up a street, over a truck and between audience legs.
It was stunning performance from the man someone from his home town of Wanaka, New Zealand south island, once described as "a young lad who has been nowhere and likes it here".
Current Australian champion Mark Vitler described his own performance as "not much better than a chook with a head cold".
Mark spat so bad he even gave up the Australian trophy to Manjimup boy Craig McSharer.

Mike took a fancy to his massive trophy and forgot to hand it back to the Manjimup Visitor Centre, was arrested on the outskirts of town, spent three minutes in gaol, was bailed, and returned later that night for a meal with the local sergeant's family.
All in all, the 15,000 people who visited Manjimup for the Cherry Harmony Festival agreed they had had the best time ever in their entire miserable life so far and vowed to return next year, the year after, and very year until the conceptualiser, Jon Doust, was either run out of town, or choked to death on a cherry pip.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


THURSDAY, Manjimup
The current New Zealand Cherry Stone Spitting Champion has arrived in Manjimup, Western Australia, pumped, aggressive, ready.
In a blatant and provocative move, as soon as Mike Bassett got out of the car on arrival at the Manjimup Tourist Centre, he spat.
The town is hot, well, cold, because the weather refuses to cooperate, but the town's cherry growers are promissing cherries from the Southern Forests Region.
These folk don't promise unless they can deliver. They will deliver.
And the current local champ, Mark Mr Big Vitler, from Mt Barker, is angry.
He lost in an awkward moment in Cromwell NZ and is determined to wrest back the trophy he never held.
It should be an exciting day, a day of big spits, a day of cherries, happiness, goodwill and exhuberance.
And the weather?
The gods have laps, and they keep them to themselves.

Sunday, December 07, 2008


SATURDAY, New Zealand
IN a shocking result for Australian cherry pip spitters, Mount Barker's Mark Vitler spat his way into second place in the Australasian Cherry Pip Spitting Championships first round.
The big man from the Porongurups huffed and puffed and spat but only managed to sneak in behind the eventual winner, Mike Bassett, from Wanaka, a town just up the road from Cromwell, home of New Zealand's finest cherries and biggest spitters.
Thousands gathered at Cromwell's Saturday markets to watch mouths of all sizes blow air behind cherry pips.
With snow still resting on nearby mountains, the local atmospheric temperature was cold but the competition hot.
Bassett spat 11.42 metres from a field of 48 spitters.
All in all the 48 contestants gobbed 408 cherries pips, or as the Long Cloud's like to call them, "stones".
This means round two in Manjimup this Saturday, December 13th, will be the hottest round ever contested.
According to late reports, Vitler was angry at his loss, blaming his manager, coach, an uncle by marriage, the colour of his socks and New Zealand food.
"There is no way I should have lost this spit," he is believed to have said. "When I get back to Manjimup on the 13th, which is my lucky number, by the way, people can expect to see one of the greatest spits ever.
"I'll show them a 1 in a 100 years spit!"
Local news suggests the competition's frist ever winner, Jo Perry, has been practising with great vigour and is keen to be the first woman to win the big trip over the ditch and spit for Australia.
Manjmup will also see the return of last year's first round winner, Paul Omodei Junior, keen to revive his family's fortunes and remind festival goers that he holds the local record of 12 metres, or 17 metres, or 23, any number greater than any number bragged about by any other spitters.
In the field will also be the winner of 2008 local heats from Donnybrook, Mt Barker and Manjimup.
Not to forget The Bassett Man, the current New Zealand Champ and winner of round one.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Nic Giblett, one of the famous Manjimup Gibletts, has penned this following piece.

GOURMANDS all over have lately become increasingly aware of a once little-known South West Australian town, thanks largely to the magic woven by the famous black truffle that has made Manjimup its Southern Hemisphere home.

“Manji,” however, is no one-trick pony. Combine it with neighbouring Pemberton, Walpole and Northcliffe, and think breathtaking stands of tall karri surrounding rolling green hills covered with vineyards, dotted by peaceful grazing cattle, sparkling freshwater dams and lakes teeming with sought-after marron, and the picturesque orderly rows of orchard trees – none more popular than the sweet red cherry. All this and more besides will be celebrated at the 2008 Manjimup Cherry Festival, to be held December 13 and 14 in the heart of Western Australia’s beautiful Southern Forests region.

Originally conceived as a morale-boosting event to revive the flagging spirits of the Manjimup township following the demise of its lifeblood tall timber industry, the festival is now in its seventh year and continues to attract a crowd of thousands to celebrate everyone’s favourite fruit.

According to festival coordinator Rose Moyle, the 2008 events programme is moving into new territory. “We want to highlight and celebrate the extraordinary range of beautiful fresh produce available in one of Australia’s most spectacular, clean and green regions: WA’s Southern Forests – and the talented people who bring that produce to your table,” Rose says.

The undoubted highlight of this year’s festival and a new introduction in 2008 will be an interactive cooking demonstration – ‘Tastes of the Southern Forests’ – by top West Australian chefs Don Hancey and Peter Manifis, to be held in main street Manjimup on the Saturday.

These two charismatic culinary maestros bring with them a wealth of experience in staging public food and wine-related events. Expect the very best of Southern Forests produce – marron, truffles, trout, lamb, beef, cheese, nuts, wine, a veritable cornucopia of veggies, and of course, cherries – used to great effect but in a quick and easy style that can be replicated in anyone’s kitchen.

The main festival day also features a range of entertainment for the family, including the traditional pip-spitting competition, fashion parades, market stalls, wine tasting, craft & wood displays, street theatre, and children’s rides and activities.

On the Saturday evening, cherry lovers are invited to pack a picnic for the Manjimup Timber and Heritage Park and enjoy WA band Murphy’s Lore – headed by Australian Idol finalists and brothers Chris and Courtney Murphy.

Sunday sees the festival blue-ribbon event unfold at Newtons’ picturesque cherry orchard, where a gourmet-focussed crowd of 160 converge to partake in a unique five-course long table lunch. Cherries naturally feature in most courses, paired with the best of local produce and wines and set under the leafy shade of cherry trees laden with sweet ripe fruit.

For further information on this year’s cherry festival contact Rose Moyle on 08 9771 2316, e-mail or visit the website: For information on Don Hancey, visit his website at or Peter Manifis’ The festival’s 2008 long table lunch chef is Ian Leaning of the Gloucester Motel and Figjam Catering; contact 9776 1266 or