Event 10: El Grand Finale

The Grand Finale of the 2008 Mancathlon – “Karaoke” – was held at A’isha Bar on Saturday 15th November and was attended by the following Mancathletes:
Shane Munro, Dr Todd Keenan, Jason Gregg, Brydon Price, Gareth Ballard, Josh Short, Rodney MacFarlane, Duncan Reynolds, Gavin Marshall, Leighton Agnew, Stuart Brooke, AJ Sutton, Simon Judkins, Conrad Blight, Dr Kirk Stevens, Thomas Rowe & Simon Watson.
In the year 2007 The Mancathlon concluded in a fiery explosion of creativity; in which pheromone-soaked polyester shirts and tight whiskey-stained trousers instantly immolated amidst the sheer, blazing heat of performance. 10 brave Mancathletes clambered high atop the Karaoke stage and poured out their bright burning hearts for a fervently passionate audience of Mancathlon fans. But now in 2008 a full 17 competitors would clasp the cold microphone in their shaking, sweaty hands and do everything within their powers to convince the gathered audience that they were K-Man Number 1, Hitachi! As twilight fell on Auckland City, the subterranean bar began to fill with strange looking men in tight jeans, tight corduroys and tight leather pants. Was this AKL’s hottest new gay bar? Or was it ground zero for an impending explosion of heterosexual charisma & showmanship that would send shockwaves of machismo rippling out across the city, causing women as far away as Whangaparoa to collapse on their sofas, trembling in spontaneous orgasm?
It was the second one.
1. Shane Munro – “I Walk The Line” by Johnny Cash
From Frank Sinatra to Prince and now onto Johnny Cash; Veteran Mancathlete Shane Munro had made his Mancathlon Karaoke career resurrecting the great musical icons of the 20th Century. But this year’s ‘Man in Black’ was a truly inspired choice for the big Fijian. Shane was steady rocking the dark clothes & demeanor of J.R. Cash and had gone as far as becoming addicted to amphetamines & barbiturates in the weeks leading up to the comp, showing true dedication to the character. He swaggered on stage, sneering & looking around at the folks in the audience “Hello, I’m Johnny Cash” he said and launched into the bona fide rockabilly classic. He was the first man to step up to the plate but he showed nothing in the way of nerves, just like the man himself Shane was cool, calm & in command. That sweet 1-Pointer from the Truck Pull had eased his troubled mind, he was clear of the loser’s trophy and free to get down with a little rock n’ roll. The reward for his labours? A booming send off from a hugely impressed audience as El Grand Finale got underway in style…
Average Rating: 5.75
2. Dr Todd Keenan – “We Built This City” by Starship
As the thin, watery synths of this 80’s megahit began to wash over the crowd, a dynamo of a man leapt onto the stage and proceeded to tear it to pieces with his flamboyant showmanship. Decked out in a huge 80’s hair-metal wig, braces and the ubiquitous tight pants; Dr Todd had metamorphosed from mild-mannered chiropractor to sex-crazed rock n’ roll demigod. “We built, We built this City!!” he belted out, arms launching & flailing into the air, he spun around & rocked a little white man booty-dancing, he dropped to his knees, he leapt back up & did a jump kick, he sung until his lungs bled & his spine blew out his back. In short, he made damn sure that any man that followed Dr Todd Keenan would have to work hard for those sweet, sweet Mancathlon Points because he had just set the new standard for on-stage commitment. He whipped the crowd into a frenzy with his vocal & physical stylings; women were throwing panties, men were hurling chairs, and up on the bar shelves, bottles of flaming dog juice were exploding from the cataclysmic force of Todd’s performance. After such an ass-shattering recital this early in the piece, the big questions on everybody’s minds were could this shit possibly be topped? And who the f*ck was Marconi and why was he playing the Mamba?
Average Rating: 7.23 (2 Mancathlon Points earned)
3. Jason Gregg – “Suspicious Minds” by Elvis Presley
Jason Gregg, the big Canadian who had travelled halfway across the world just to take on The Mancathlon was feeling good. With a point on the board from the Creation of Fire he had a little distance from the loser’s trophy, his Elvis outfit was snug & shiny and his fake pompadour was rising proudly; plus he’d been practicing in the shower all week. He had practiced a number of things in the shower that week but one of them was singing “Suspicious Minds” and it was this activity that would bear the most fruit in this night’s contest. Prior to the comp he’d had a Fool’s Gold Loaf & 2 bottles of Dom Perignon choppered in to the roof of the bar & consumed them while receiving a deep tissue massage to ensure that the nutrients would enter every pore of this body. Now up on stage with the jangling chords of the intro ringing out from the speakers he began to move his hips a little, he started to shake & grind as he channeled the King of Rock N Roll. And then he erupted into song, his rich baritone voice filling the room. Soon the man was in full flight, sweat pouring from his forehead in sheets, arms rotating, hips gyrating, in fact the whole shebang was gyrating as Jason whipped out everything he had and gave it to the audience. And still they wanted more! Finally with the thunderous applause ringing in his ears, Jason stepped from the stage & collapsed onto a the satin sheets of a heart shaped bed with two midgets, a bottle of tequila and a peanut butter sandwich.
Average Rating: 6.76
4. Brydon Price – “I Can’t Get No (Satisfaction)” by The Rolling Stones
Mr Price had mounted one hell of a campaign in 2008. After a devastating loss in ’07 he had rebuilt his entire body piece by piece, quitting the durries, hitting the gym, sexual yoga, wind tunnel training, the whole nine yards. His newfound physical vigour & commitment had paid big dividends and saw him coming into the final event in 4th place, a thousand miles away from any danger of the loser’s trophy. There was no just way this man was gonna turn down any challenge though & despite being tone deaf in both ears, his mouth and his left leg, he was damn sure going to get up on that stage & pour his heart out. Casually attired but wearing a wry smile, Price climbed atop the lofty stage, flicked on the mike and launched into what can only be described as not the definitive version of “I Can’t Get No (Satisfaction)”. His easy going manner & understated demeanor were not ideal for the rigors of Mancathlon Karaoke and his performance was later likened to Mick Jagger, on valium, in a swimming pool, of custard. A highly admirable performance for a Mancathlete clearly well outside his comfort zone but not enough to earn the hearts & minds of this discerning crowd…
Average Rating: 3.96
5. Gareth Ballard – “I Was Made For Lovin’ You” by Kiss
Gary Ballard comes from Marton. In Marton they do not wear dresses, tight pants, sing songs or cavort on stage. They look after farms and they’re good bastards and they enjoy a beer after a hard day’s work. So this event was not an easy one for this competitor but when the stakes are this high a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do. The stakes in question were the I Lost The Mancathlon ’08 Trophy which Gary was in serious danger of inheriting…the dark reflection of Big Chiefdom, the shameful secret of the Mighty Mancathlon. He’d got off to a good start costume wise, the audience appreciated any man willing to force his body into a tight lycra embrace and adorn his face in the sexual war paint of Gene Simmons. He’d been downing beer after delicious, ice-cold beer throughout the afternoon as part of his Dutch preparation but now it was time to sing for his supper, to appeal to the gathered audience with the only two weapons in his arsenal – his voice and his moves. Like many Mancathletes he started a little slow, working his way through nerves & cold windpipes but once that chorus hit he started going for the gusto, pulling out some huge high notes as facilitated by the tight lycra pants. He was belting that shit out, throwing it all on the line. And when he started drunkenly disentangling himself from his shirt it caused the crowd of female admirers to start screaming in rapture; hurling underwear, birth control pills and bottles of Asti Spumante onto the stage. Determined to avoid the loser’s trophy Gareth was just about to whip out his balls and wave em around like Jim Morrison when the song mercifully ended…
Average Rating: 6.65
6. Josh Short – “All These Things That I’ve Done” by The Killers
Much to his chagrin Josh Short had been forced to miss the Grand Finale in 07 when he had to dump a couple of hooker’s bodies for Justin Timberlake. Now in ’08 he was 100% good to go baby, ready to unleash his good vibrations en masse to an unsuspecting world. He started slow, but once he warmed up it was a beautiful thing! He threw his tex-mexican ensemble around the stage with giddy abandon, channeling Brandon Flowers to huge success. The dude was into it, he was totally amped and the audience could taste the taste the electricity. “I got soul but I’m not a soldier” came the echo. He hit those notes with a velvet hammer and the audience responded to his passionate performance as he came off stage to rapturous applause & spontaneous man hugs all round. Shorty! Shorty!
Average Rating: 7.05 (1 Mancathlon Point earned)
7. Rodney MacFarlane – “All Night Long (All Night)” by Lionel Ritchie
Rodney MacFarlane. Smooth. Loverman. Sexual Moustache. White Chocolate. Yes, on Saturday 15th November in the year 2008 he came to encapsulate all these words and more. Number one big sexy with a bullet. He was the perfect understated Commodores frontman with a moustache whose sheer perfection could only be acheived with a black vivid, a steady right hand and a mirror. Let’s be honest, he hadn’t had a huge Mancathlon season. But with a ten-pound snake and half a million in the bank Rodders had nothing to prove, he was there just to rock out to some sweet soul music and that’s exactly what he did. The man didn’t move around a whole lot he just sang with a beautiful melody, a winning smile and let his vocals do the talking. The audience lapped it up, singing along, waving their hands, cheering & shouting for this smooth soul brother. How long could Rodder’s keep up this vocal perfection? All Night Long…
Average Rating: 7.36 (4 Mancathlon Points earned)
8. Duncan Reynolds – “Desire” by U2
Who could forget the massive “Working Class Man” of Karaoke 2007? Coming out of nowhere to UTTERLY DEVASTATE all other competitors in the previous year’s competition, Duncan had thrown up some serious expectations for the West Coast’s Finest Son. After a huge success in Enormous By Easter he had derailed his true Champagne Campaign in 2008 by boneassing his foot through all that newfound physical exertion. He’d locked in “Blaze of Glory”, the thunderous Bon Jovi standard as his last ditch effort to avoid a Mancathlon loss but when he found out it was gonna be a Jovi back-to-back he volunteered for a switch to Bono’s bombastic ’88 hit and f*ck if he wasn’t going to give it everything he had. Sadly, despite a huge stage presence, a strong cadre of female support and a freshly waxed belly Dunc was just not able to recreate that which was unrecreatable. The first of the evening’s competitors to suffer from random & debilitating microphone issues, Duncan was inextricably handicapped by the bad mic and wasn’t able to let his true genius flow like it needed to flow; straight from his heart to the audience. No one can deny that D.R. is Greymouth’s finest musical export but despite guts, glory, leather pants & innate vocal ability this was not destined be his finest hour…
Average Rating: 6.47
9. Gavin Marshall – “Wanted: Dead or Alive” by Bon Jovi
Gavin Marsall had had himself a pretty good inaugural Mancathlon. His strong jaw & physical approach had seen him amassing a solid 10 points of pure Masculinity throughout the comp, but Gav was not the kind of soldier to rest on his laurels. He was the kind of soldier to rock up on stage in a tight cowboy outfit, fake hairdo & in a high-pitched scream declare himself Wanted: Dead or Alive! For all those who thought Gav wouldn’t have the chops to rock out on an 80’s monster hit it was a sharp wake up call. The man was surprisingly awesome, and even when the exact notes eluded him the spirit and passion did not. He was a cowboy, and on a steel horse he rode. It was clear that he had been practicing because like many singers that night he was not beholden to the monitor to spoon fed him the lyrics, he had that shit down cold. He sang with conviction and by the end of his track you truly believed that he’d seen a million faces and he’d rocked them all! ‘Cos he’d rocked at least 3 faces that week and would probably rock at least 2 more that night…
Average Rating: 6.97
10. Leighton Agnew – “Paint It Black” by The Rolling Stones
With so much drama in the L.B.C. it’s kind of hard being Leight D O double G. Well ain’t that the damn truth. Here’s a man who put it all on the line in his quest for greatness in The Mancathlon 2008, physically, mentally and sexually. Now with the final at his fingertips he was utterly exhausted; his precious bodily fluids drained, his Masculinity utterly desiccated by his monstrously passionate drive for Big Chiefdom. It took a gargantuan effort to wrestle the Trophy off the imcumbent Stu Beef, and now with 23 Mancathlon Points on the board, Leighton’s body was finally cracking under the strain. Nevertheless this awesome competitor had managed to secure a superior bowl cut, pour himself into some borrowed ladies’ jeans and gear up to rock out on some mid-60’s Rolling Stones savagery. There was no doubt that the man had some moves, he strutted, he pouted, he chicken-danced. But with a head-cold burning up his sinuses he just didn’t have it in the sing-song department. He was the 2nd Jagger in the night’s triumvirate of Stone’s Rollers and while he took the audience on a sweet little journey it just wasn’t enough to shake them all night long. That would have to wait until the next competitor.
Average Rating: 4.84
11. Stuart Brooke – “You Shook Me All Night Long” by AC/DC
Stu “Beef” Brooke. The Big Chief for a full 2 years running had already left an incredible legacy in The Mancathlon. This ultracompetitive sumbitch was known for his late-season runs in which he threw his incredible physicality & resolution headlong into the World’s Mightiest Contest. His previous Ka-ra-o-ke entries, “Roxanne” by The Police and “Rain” by Dragon had been characterized by his sheer unyielding dedication to a single note expelled loudly and with massive, massive commitment. This year was no exception but the difference was he chose the exact perfect song for his roustabout style, the best bogan love song ever…”You Shook Me All Night Long” by Acca Dacca. Oh yeaaahhh!! Launching into the hard-rockin’ Aussie classic with typical abandon, Stu Beef stalked around the stage like a bogan possessed, roaring out the verse & chorus like he had gravel in his lungs, not settling for anything less than 11 on the dial at any stage ever! The crowd responded in kind, chanting along to the chorus with incredible fervour, carrying Stu on a wave on enthusiasm to a massive 5-Point Win in this truly Marquee Event.
Average Rating:  7.56 (5 Mancathlon Points earned)
12. AJ Sutton – “Wild Thing” by The Troggs
Having endured two losses in two consecutive Mancathlon Karaoke years, AJ Sutton was out to prove a point. AJ knew he had the showmanship, the creativity, the flamboyance to rock the party the way it needed to be rocked. He just had to find the right song. Having initially tapped the soaring “Eye of the Tiger” for his ’08 Anthem, he changed his mind at the last minute to the Trogg’s ’66 hit “Wild Thing” with it’s large, effusive chorus and singalong verses. It still had potential to go horribly wrong and to descend into a toneless morass but Sutton was not gonna let that happen! Bedecked in faux chainmail shirt, fur shoulders and spray on jeans, AJ threw his vocal cords into the song, singing with gay abandon. Truly the Most Improved Player by a long shot; AJ told the story with passion, with a dynamic narrative and with sheer vocal commitment. As the song reached a rousing climax so did his many female fans, throwing their heads back in pure, wanton release as L.L. Sutton coaxed them to ever higher plateaus of sensual release. Boo-yakka sha!!
Average Rating: 5.32
13. Simon Judkins – “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor
Judkins arrived at the venue looking dapper in a James Bond tuxedo. He left with his ass bruised from the rough ministrations of a dozen drunken hussies. What happened in between? Twas a clandestine strategy enacted by this master of the big gay surprise that involved hiding an incredibly flamboyant & sequined cocktail dress and foot-high, pink beehive wig under the Karaoke stage ready to be unleashed on an unsuspecting audience. Simon had been wracked by indecision in the leadup to the Karaoke, living in the engorged shadow of his previous year’s performance as the “sweet transvestite” Dr Frank N. Furter. After missing out on both “I Was Made for Lovin’ You” & “White Wedding” he decided that it was time to suit up once more for a little cross-dressing action, he pretended to be disappointed about this, for a second. As he emerged from the bathroom after “taping it down”, he strode confidently to the stage atop 6-inch heels cutting a swath through the crowd to the tune of wolf-whistles & cat-calls, he grabbed the mic and launched into it. “At first I was afraid I was petrified, I never thought that I could live without you by my side”. He sung with trademark panache but something was going horribly wrong, it wasn’t the tape coming undone, it was the microphone – it was cutting in and out, the levels were wrong, something, you couldn’t hear the man! He was visibly frustrated but like a true professional he kept shaking his groove thing and working the crowd. Look out for “It’s Raining Men” in ’09.
Average Rating:  5.67
14. Conrad Blight – “Miss You” by The Rolling Stones
Rico was good to go man. He had that 80’s look that he loved so well, he’d polished his forehead up, he had all the lyrics memorized, and he had the slow, sexy blues of the Rolling Stones ready to ooze out from the powerful P.A. system. But as the song kicked off he just seemed a little nervous, a little tentative, he wasn’t throwing himself into it like he needed to if he was gonna rock out with the big guns amidst this heady competition. Then came the inflection point, he hit a couple of huge notes a third of the way through, relaxed into it and proceeded to explode all over the audience with his unique brand of showmanship and funky white man dancing. He tore off his jacket and strutted around the stage, never once looking back at the monitor, he sung, he roared, he yelped and boogied, he made sweet love to the stage, he got the crowd singing along. A perennial crowdpleaser Mr Blight, and he did not disappoint in ’08.
Average Rating:  7.25 (3 Mancathlon Points earned)
15. Dr Kirk Stevens – “White Wedding” by Billy Idol
Part of the new breed of Doctoral Mancathletes who had come in and shaken up The Majestic Contest with their singular dedication, Dr Kirk was not afraid of a challenge. That said, Stevens was clearly outside his comfort zone in this one but like so many times this year the man punched well above his weight, or height as the case may be. Clad in leather, with silver painted hair and a chromed out jesus piece, Kirk was not only looking the part but once the chiming guitars of this 80’s rock classic kicked in he started singing it loud and bringing the sexual thunder with furious abandon. He had his sneer down, he had his fist pump going strong, he stalked around stage commanding attention at all times, striking poses, getting low and bringing it back up for the big notes, roaring and howling his way to a savage climax “It’s a nice day to staaarrtt aggaaaaaiiinn!!!”. More Idol than Idol!
Average Rating:  6.88
16. Thomas Rowe – “Faith” by George Michael
Discovered nervously hanging out in the men’s toilets prior to the event, Thom Rowe was getting in character. The 7 foot tall builder had busted out his best stonewash jeans for the evening and ripped holes in the knees (George Michael recommends knee pads), got himself a sweet leather jacket, shades and a crucifix earring and now it was time to show the audience exactly what he was made of. His stage persona was bang on – he rocked it hard, shaking & baking, moving & grooving, the big man was unstoppable on the dancefloor. He was only let down by his somewhat tuneless performance but that can be attributed to repeated ear infections from his many years of synchronized swimming. A huge end to a huge performance in The Mancathlon ’08 that would see him tie for 2nd place overall in his inaugural season, next stop…Big Chief ’09?
Average Rating:  5.09
17. Simon Watson – “Mr Brightside” by The Killers
Walking in the shadow of Josh’s huge rendition of the earlier Killers track was a tough ask for this nuggety contender. But Watson put on a brave & soulful performance for the energized crowd and they loved him for it. Ringing out the competition in style, Reg was looking smooth as a silkworm in a satin sheet and threw everything he had into the task at hand. As the final chords soared from the speakers and Reg took a bow before the audience, they erupted in a massive round of applause that seemed as though it would never end…
Average Rating:  5.41
And just like that it was over.
The officials collected the voting forms & retired to a dark corner of the bar with half a dozen iphones & some cold beers to work through the huge stack of voting forms, crunching numbers and clutching their heads in pain as they tried to statistically balance the late arrivals. The Mancathletes relaxed, their ordeal over, and set about clinking a few glasses together & reminiscing about a hugely entertaining season, a true step up for The Manacthlon once again. Then Rico jumped back on the mic and it was time for the Prizegiving – in which legends are made, efforts commended & for one man, dreams shattered. First up it was congratulations to the winners of the evening’s comp, especially Brooke and MacFarlane who had truly blown away the competition with their Balls Out Rock and Smooth Soul Funk respectively. Next up, the Little Trophy, the I Lost the Mancathlon ’08 Trophy which goes to the man who just couldn’t drag himself off the bottom of the points table in a highly competitive season, Gareth came up to receive the tiny cup with appropriate stoicism, vowing revenge in 2009. Then the Spirit of The Mancathlon – for the man who best embodied the finer aspects of the contest throughout the season, this year it was Blight who would be voted the honour by a jury of his peers for his behind the scenes service to competition. And finally the big one, the one the world was waiting for – as the new Big Chief 2008 Leighton Agnew stepped up on stage to receive Sport’s Entertainment’s Richest Prize, the Mighty Mancathlon Trophy. After a massive effort that saw him dominant in Orienteering, Assault Course, Creation of Fire, Truck Pull and Beer Brewing, he had ended the season a full 7 Mancathlon points ahead of his nearest competitors. He held the cup high above his head in victory, Shannah came running up on stage & jumped into Leighton’s arms, they embraced, the Big Chief & his woman both wearing womens’ jeans at the end of an incredible 3rd season of The Mancathlon with the applause ringing in their ears. That’s what it’s all about!!
Meanwhile however, Garyland had become a violent & troubled place. Something was tearing at Gary’s insides, a terrible suspicion that justice had not been served & that the tiny trophy was not his due after such a righteous last-ditch performance. He took the loser’s trophy out into the alleyway & smashed it with a brick, he howled at the moon in animal pain & frustration. Storming back inside he mounted a furious appeal with the Mancathlon Events Committee. A gross error had occurred during the Awards Ceremony, Ballard was in fact not alone at the bottom of the points table but was joined by fellow Mancathlete Duncan Reynolds who been unable to replicate his massive success of the previous year’s final. The big question now, what kind of Lose-Off be could be rapidly convened to resolve this case? A rap battle to “Shook Ones Part 2”? An interpretive dance hoedown? A boat race with pint glasses of tequila? After some heated debate it was elected that the man with the lowest Karaoke score would be this year’s unfortunate underachiever so we went back to the score sheet to let the people decide. And so it was that Duncan Reynolds, by a mere 0.18 rating lost out to Gary’s topless onslaught in the evening’s comp and thusly was awarded the I Lost The Mancathlon ’08 Trophy…well in theory anyway, Gareth had drunkenly lost the trophy somewhere in the bar.
Thank you’s go to Paul Orion & A’isha Bar for their hosting with the mosting. Thanks to Big Dan B for stepping up to the plate as Emergency M.C. in his inimitable stylee. A big ol’ thank you to Guy T. for his sweet work on event photography & on the fantastic Mancathlon website. A hugemongous thank you to Staines for his photographic skills & commitment throughout the season, he is a truly integral member of the Mancathlon family & a good sumbitch to boot. Thanks go to all the good people who came along to the Grand Finale and partied, voted, laughed at us & with us – you made it the legendary event it was.
Ladies & Gentlemen, The Mancathlon 2009 beckons, watch this space…
Leighton “The Big Chief” Agnew (23)
Stuart Brooke (16)
Thomas Rowe (16)
Conrad Blight (14)
Simon Judkins (13)
Brydon Price (11.5)
Jared Trail (11)
Gavin Marshall (10)
Phillip Guthrie (10)
Dr Todd Keenan (8)
AJ Sutton (8)
Dr Kirk Stevens (8)
Rodney MacFarlane (7)
Josh Short (5)
Simon Watson (2.5)
Shane Munro (1)
Jason Gregg (1)
Gareth Ballard (0)
Duncan Reynolds (0)
The following Mancathletes were absent from Event Ten:
Phillip Guthrie & Jared Trail


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Bonus Round: The Brew-Off

The Bonus Round of the 2008 Mancathlon – “The Brew-Off” – was held in AJ’s Backyard on Sunday 9th November and was contested by the following Mancathletes:
Brydon Price, Rodney MacFarlane, AJ Sutton, Thomas Rowe, Conrad Blight, Gareth Ballard, Leighton Agnew, Dr Kirk Stevens, Stuart Brooke & Simon Judkins. 
Pulling a 2.5 tonne truck loaded with tyres across a carpark, now that shit’s 100% guaranteed to bring a man’s thirst on. And what better way to quench that raging desire for liquid refreshment than with a delicious, icy cold homebrew. Mmmm. Thinking about it right now aintcha? Uh-huh, that’s right, you are…
This year’s bonus round spanned the entire length of the Mancathlon competition, with 10 Mancathletes taking up the challenge in their garages, kitchens & subterranean mancaves. Brew kits were purchased, research undertaken (beer was drunk), equipment sterilised, water boiled, malts & yeasts added, watches watched as days went by, brews bubbling passionately within fermenters, then bottles were bottled and finally came the waiting game as beers matured & conditioned over the many weeks of tough, Mancathletic competition. Questions raced constantly through the highly-tuned minds of these elite sportsmen… Would my brew look & taste like gritty horse piss? Or would it emerge as a thing of vast, incredible deliciousness? Is 5 days prior to the comp enough time for my lager to mature in bottle? Can I get pregnant from a spa pool? 
On a fine November’s day, the 10 amateur brewmasters assembled in a Grey Lynn backyard while their beers sat chilling to perfection in the enormous Icy Tek Chillmaster 3000 and the 3 heavyweight Celebrity Judges were arrayed before them shuffling notes, sharpening pencils & cleansing their palettes with vodka, steel wool & toothbrushes. The concept behind the judging panel was powerfully simple – Judge 1 was Natasha – “A Pro Brewer”, Judge 2 was Rachel – “A Homebrew Expert” & Judge 3 was the venerable Uncle Marty – “A Good Man Who Likes A Cold Beer”. The judges would appraise each beer in turn, based on the following 5 categories (each one out of 10 points) – Aroma, Appearance, Taste, Aftertaste and True to Type (a.k.a. How well it represented the style it purported to be). 
Each competitor strode forward one by one according to the randomised draw, with shaking hands and sweat soaked foreheads, to present their boozy labour of love to our incorruptible judges. Included below are each judge’s total points out of a possible 50 as well as their commentary on each man’s brew. Where comments were illegible, stars are included in their place.
1. Brydon Price – Pilsener
Judge 1: Good honey notes, slight hops, lacking in bitterness for a Pilsener. Finish a little rough. Too ***** on pour, cloudy. Not too bad for a home brew though. 26/50
Judge 2: Lively honeyed aroma, slightly cloudy, good body & balanced. Amazing label. 38/50
Judge 3: Predictably good. 33/50
Total: 97  (1 Mancathlon Point earned)
2. Rodney MacFarlane – Brown Ale
Judge 1: Harsh vinegar / acetone aroma/ Good ***** cloudy – lacking head retention. Bit flat. Touch thin in body with rough vinegary finish. Better luck next year though. :-)  18/50
Judge 2: Pleasant nutty aroma, long finish, balanced. A little light bodied. 36/50
Judge 3: Seems very genuine. 32/50
Total: 86
3. AJ Sutton – Indian Pale Ale
Judge 1: Great clarity, good head retention, CO2 – great not too ***** flat. Good hoppy aroma, good bitterness in keeping with a Pale Ale. Slightly rough vinegar finish. 34/50
Judge 2: Tastes like a summer edition spiced ale. Nice balance, nice body. 33/50
Judge 3: So much better than Tui East Indian Pale Ale. 33/50
Total: 100  (2 Mancathlon Points earned)
4. Thomas Rowe – Lager
Judge 1: Harsh green apples, acealehyde, **** like aroma. Great appearance, head. Clarity a little off. Harsh after taste, and powerful vinegar taste. 22/50
Judge 2: Burnt kind of aroma, body ok, quite lively. 39/50
Judge 3: Prefer others to this but don’t dismiss. 26/50
Total: 87
5. Conrad Blight – Indian Pale Ale
Judge 1: Cloudy, lacking in head, nice hoppy aroma, tad thin in body, slight bitterness from hops but not enough for a Pale Ale. Finish a tad rough. 28/50
Judge 2: Quite cloudy, not unpleasant flavour. Probably would improve with age. 25/50
Judge 3: Seems like a very nice drop. Wish I had this years ago. 39/50
Total: 92
6. Gareth Ballard – Mexican Cerveza
Judge 1: Good clarity & head attention, harsh vinegar cider aroma & taste. Good body. After taste o.k. 23/50
Judge 2: Good clarity, a little hoppy, good body. 32/50
Judge 3: Could spend some time with this but not in Mexico. 33/50
Total: 88
7. Leighton Agnew – Continental Pilsener
Judge 1: Quite *****, head retention v. good. Good clarity, good hoppy aroma, good body, clean crisp taste – good after *****. Excellent – could be a bit more bitter for a Pilsener. 36/50
Judge 2: Big head. Great balance and flavour. 42/50
Judge 3: Thanks for coming in. 34/50
Total: 112  (4 Mancathlon Points earned)
8. Dr Kirk Stevens – Lager
Judge 1: Good clarity, head retention good on pour, collapses away. Harsh acetone / vinegar in aroma. Thin, vinegary, sour after taste. O.k. Great label. :-) 23/50
Judge 2: Big head. Ok flavour. Not so balanced. 30/50
Judge 3: Just what the Doctor prescribed. 35/50
Total: 88
9. Stuart Brooke – All Malt Red Ale
Judge 1: Great red colour, good clarity, head retention o.k but collapsed away too soon. Good dark malty aroma with background hops, full body, good clean finish. Excellent. 41/50
Judge 2: Very pleasant slightly nutty flavour. Lacking head. Good body & balance. 37/50
Judge 3: Good malty taste. 36/50
Total: 114  (5 Mancathlon Points earned)
10. Simon Judkins – NZ Wheat Beer
Judge 1: Great head retention, great colour, good cloudiness. Slight orangey, yeasty aroma in keeping with wheat beer. Unfortunately masked heavily by harsh vinegary / acetone notes. Nice finish. 29/50
Judge 2: Quite malty for a wheat. Initial flavour true to type. 38/50
Judge 3: We shouldn’t have to drink Whitbier in Berlin. More of this. 36/50
Total: 103  (3 Mancathlon Points earned)
Thanks go out to AJ & his flatmates for hosting us in their lush Grey Lynn backyard. Extra Special Thanks go to our 3 Celebrity Judges – Natasha, Rachel & Uncle Marty, who gave freely of their time & expertise; ingesting our homebrew with brave faces, fixed grins & appropriate professional dignity at all times. Cheers!
MANCATHLON POINTS TABLE [After Nine Events & One Bonus Round]
Agnew (23)
Rowe (16)
Judkins (13)
Price (11.5)
Brooke (11)
Trail (11)
Blight (11)
Marshall (10)
Guthrie (10)
Sutton (8)
Stevens (8)
Keenan (6)
Short (4)
MacFarlane (3)
Watson (2.5)
Munro (1)
Gregg (1)
Reynolds (0)
Ballard (0)
The following Mancathletes prefer wine, or maybe a nice shandy on a hot day:
Jared Trail, Gavin Marshall, Phillip Guthrie, Dr Todd Keenan, Josh Short, Simon Watson, Shane Munro, Jason Gregg & Duncan Reynolds.  

Event 9: The Truck Pull

The Ninth Event of the 2008 Mancathlon – “The Truck Pull” – was held at ASB Showgrounds on Sunday 9th November and was attended by the following Mancathletes:

Jared Trail, Leighton Agnew, Jason Gregg, Dr Kirk Stevens, Shane Munro, Gavin Marshall, Josh Short, Dr Todd Keenan, Stuart Brooke, Brydon Price, Conrad Blight, Simon Watson, AJ Sutton, Thomas Rowe & Gareth Ballard. 

What do you get when you combine 2.5 tonnes of 1979 Chevrolet Scottsdale Pick-Up Truck loaded with 20 car tyres with 40 metres of carpark and huge amounts of manpride in the late stages of the Mancathlon ’08? You my friend have got yourself a recipe for one of the purest contests of masculinity yet seen in This Majestic Competition. And that’s exactly how it went down in Greenlane on a really, really ridiculously good looking day, with the sun beating down and random punters from the Tent Show looking on in disbelief. Big Marty Clist was on hand to rig strops to the front axle of this powerful machine which would then be a hooked to a harness that would be worn by each Mancathlete as he attempted to drag this American beast across the burning asphalt & over the finish line. 
Jared Trail had come roaring into the parking lot, his brand new 1500 CC Hog tearing fissures in the atmosphere & causing small worm holes to eddy around the carpark sucking trash & road cones into them. Weighing in at 150 kgs, 7 feet tall & covered in tattoos, Trail was clearly the event favourite for the Truck Pull bar one thing, the Randomizer. How many times had Mancathletes cursed this august institution, which the Events Committee used to ensure the general disadvantage of going first was shared around amongst the field? Trail had psyched himself out about it, undermining his own potency, telling himself that his time would not hold over 14 other pulls as other competitors chased his early benchmark. Then Marty called it, the pull was on, Trail heaved into action, straining against the strops. For a second, nothing at all. And then slowly, the truck began to roll forward. The Beast kept straining against his leash, dragging himself determinedly toward the finish line in kind of a Baywatch slow-mo until finally he was there, crossing the line in 25.9 secs, chest heaving with exertion, face pained and his entire head glowing bright red. 
Next up on the block, Leighton Agnew. A powerful competitor in 2008, Agnew had proven himself adept & extraordinarily focused across a wide spectrum of events. Now at Event #9 and at the head of the pack points-wise he could almost taste the cold domestic lager in that giant Big Chief Trophy at the Grand Finale. But he would have to earn it by God and at this point The Mancathlon was still anyone’s game with a host of hungry competitors breathing down his neck. Well maybe not Munnas & Gary’s game, but Rowe & Judkins were looking dangerous & the Big Chief Stu Beef could never be discounted. Leights strapped himself in, strolled confidently to the start line, crouched in a sprinter’s posture and then… erupted in an incredible display of power & speed, swiftly getting a roll on and then proceeding to drag the Chevy at a real good clip, straining forward & hot stepping his way across the finish line in 22.8 secs. Cot Damn!!
Jason Gregg, the big Canadian with a big heart, but would he have the big balls required drag this sumbitch across the line? Jase came off the starting blocks like a maniac & did not stop; he was screaming wildly, body all askance on one side, a look of pure, focused insanity stapled to his eyeballs. It was an awesome sight to behold & got him over the top in just over 30 secs. Dr Kirk was next, concerned that his stature (or lack thereof) would place him at a disadvantage, he needn’t have worried. The Animal that won “Enormous By Easter” was back and grinding hard across the asphalt carpark crossing over at just a hair past 30 secs in very respectable form. Kirk was followed by a couple more of the big guns of Event 9 with Munro & Marshall stepping up to the plate. Both men exhibited extremely powerful pulls, tugging hard across the point of no return to highly explosive finishes, a look of pure satisfaction etched upon their exhausted faces. This was truly tug-artistry of the highest calibre. 
Short & Keenan both placed respectable times in the early 30’s, with Short’s “Battlecry!” and Keenan’s quiet intensity showing some of the various mental techniques employed by Mancathletes to maintain peak optimal focus. Next up, Stu Beef, the reigning Big Chief & physical juggernaut. Stu was determined to come hard in this event but a slow start could not be overcome by a powerful second half and at 28.1 secs, points were looking anything but secure for Beef. Meanwhile Brydon Price was suiting up, getting ready for his pull. The wily journeyman had rebounded from a savage loss in the ’07 Season to become one of the success stories of ’08, the durries had been ditched, the gym had become his second home and now he was to put a little of that new found power into this rough & tumble event. Price had an interesting technique, arms stayed hanging prone in front of him while he steady powered down the course with his legs alone, but that consistency paid dividends for the man who would cross the line in a very respectable 34.1 secs. Next up was Rico. Would Blight’s height confer on him a similar advantage to the lofty Agnew? In a word, no. He struggled hopelessly at the opening of his pull, spending a full 5 seconds getting any movement at all from the big truck, yes, he was clearly lacking the fire in his loins, possibly from a surfeit of soy products in his diet. Once he got the f*cker up to speed he had good technique on the run but it just wasn’t enough, he crossed the line in 36.2 secs wailing and gnashing his teeth in regret. 
Reg Watson had observed the prevailing technique of going forwards and decided that it just wasn’t for him. He was gonna go backwards. Reg flipped the script on the whole event by turning around and slowly, consistently dragging the truck backwards in a tug-of-war style. Would this be the innovation that would catapult him to greatness in Event 9? No, it would not. But it enabled the canny battler to put up a decent mid-range time at 32.2 secs. The next man on was 3 year-veteran AJ Sutton. AJ was going to use the physical conditioning acquired by countless hours of athletic lovemaking to his full advantage in this event. But something happened on the way to Mancathlon gold, Sutton just wasn’t able to keep that big truck moving like he needed to and he crossed the line with a somewhat flaccid 34.2 seconds. Thom Rowe stepped up next to show us how a real man pulls a truck. One of the few Mancathletes to work outdoors in a physical job Rowe was looking good to take away a few points in this one. And take ’em he did, throwing up a real solid time of 24.9 secs & rushing himself into 3rd place just behind Marshall & Agnew. 
One last Mancathlete stepped up & strapped in. Gareth Ballard. The stakes were high for Gary, as both he and Shane knew all too well. Both men were sitting on a big, round zero down at the bad end of the Mancathlon Points Table & were in very real danger of taking out the “I Lost The Mancathlon ’08” Trophy. Munro’s pull of 26.9 seconds had him currently in 5th place and with the one sweet, sweet Mancathlon Point that would accompany this placing. Gary looked focused. Gary looked angry. But Gary took 38.7 seconds to cross the line as he shifted through a veritable kama sutra of different truck-dragging techniques, and that just was not gonna do it. Munro whipped out some cardboard & did a celebratory backspin, points on the board baby! Points on the board…
Thanks are due Hayden & Lisa for sitting inside the hot, steamy Scottsdale as it was dragged back & forth across the lot, and to the blokes from ASB Showground for letting us use the location. Extra Special Thanks are due to Marty for his rigging equipment, professional expertise & je ne sais quoi and to Alistair who lives down the block from me & was amenable when a total stranger rocked up to borrow his Chevy for a Truck Pulling Competition, awesome. 


# Mancathlete Time Points
1 Jared Trail 25.9 2
2 Leighton Agnew 22.8 5
3 Jason Gregg 30.7  
4 Dr Kirk Stevens 30.1  
5 Shane Munro 26.9 1
6 Gavin Marshall 24.1 4
7 Josh Short 31.6  
8 Dr Todd Keenan 31.1  
9 Stuart Brooke 28.1  
10 Brydon Price 34.1  
11 Conrad Blight 36.2  
12 Simon Watson 32.2  
13 AJ Sutton 34.2  
14 Thomas Rowe 24.9 3
15 Gareth Ballard 38.7  
Agnew (19)
Rowe (16)
Trail (11)
Blight (11)
Price (10.5)
Marshall (10)
Judkins (10)
Guthrie (10)
Stevens (8)
Sutton (6)
Brooke (6)
Keenan (6)
Short (4)
MacFarlane (3)
Watson (2.5)
Munro (1)
Gregg (1)
Reynolds (0)
Ballard (0)
The Following Mancathletes were absent from Event 9:
Rodney MacFarlane, Duncan Reynolds, Simon Judkins & Phillip “In Absentia” Guthrie.


Le Beef


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Event 8: The Race

The Eighth Event of the 2008 Mancathlon – “The Race” – was held in The West on Sunday 9th November and was attended by the following Mancathletes:

Simon Watson, Dr Kirk Stevens, Brydon Price, Gareth Ballard, Stuart Brooke, Simon Judkins, AJ Sutton, Josh Short, Conrad Blight, Shane Munro, Gavin Marshall, Jared Trail, Thomas Rowe, Dr Todd Keenan, Leighton Agnew & Wild Card Caleb Staines. 

One fine day in the Western Suburbs; in a nondescript warehouse down a barren cul-de-sac past knock shops & greasy lunch bars, Fifteen Mancathletes and One Wild Card donned racing suits, hair nets and battered helmets, rubbed talcum powder on their hands, sipped from secreted bottles of Russian Sock Whiskey, visualised the sharp curves of the track, repeated inspirational mantras to themselves softly “I’m the shit…I’m the shit man!”, punched walls in the carpark, bench pressed cinder blocks or snuck off to the bathroom to “relax themselves” prior to “The Race”. The Mancathlon was long overdue for a little Motorsports action. Driving around in circles in one direction for hours at a time and ending up exactly where you started in a bizarre exercise of pointlessness may not seem like the kind of activity engaged in by a man. But hey, tell it to Steve McQueen bitches! Just don’t make him claw his way out if his buried Pontiac and fly over to New Zealand to rough you up some, ‘cos that’ll just make him angry. 

Anyways, inside the warehouse wound several kms of narrow track, brutal corners and treacherously flowing chicanes. And in the pit stop sat an ornery collection of nasty looking old beasts, war-horse Go-Karts that had endured countless years of abuse – constantly revved, constantly skidding and frequently smashing into opponents & obstacles with brutish impact. It was now up to these 15 Mancathletes to navigate these rickety death-traps at speeds of up to 400 kmph around this savage infinity loop. 
The ever-controversial Randomizer had decided the 2 race draws that were issued earlier in the week. Messrs Watson through Short were first up on the block and it was incumbent on these 8 Mancathletes to lay down some serious times on the track, for they would have no right of reply. Each group had 2 practice laps then 2 x 7-Minute Timed Races to get the job done. The only rules of the track were don’t smash the other karts, if you’re too slow pull over for the guy behind you (suuuure) and slow down to walking speed if the yellow lights went on around the track. 
The first group went off like maniacs from the start line, tearassing around the track with slightly frenzied looks of concentration contorting their faces and their hands locked like deathgrips on the shuddering steering wheels. Not a man out there was gonna give inch, nobody was pulling over for noone and slowing down to walking speed was just not going to happen. The race officials seemed to give up, the big fella with the tats throwing down his flag in disgust. From the stands it was pretty hard to tell who was gaining the upper hand, Reg certainly looked the part until he was pulled off and reprimanded for failing to stop or slow down at any stage ever. One thing was sure though, Round 1 rode their karts just as hard as they would ride. Once the two races had elapsed & the racers clambered from them, their karts looked like shadows of their former selves, broken and smoking and talking about the war. Reg’s kart looked especially busted up, great clouds of evaporated clutch & gear particles swirling up from it, his unorthodox technique of simultaneously braking & accelerating at all times had taken it’s toll…
Round 2 came out of the gate with a point to prove – there was no way in hell those Round 1 jabronis were gonna get all those Precious Mancathlon Points. And so they tore off from the starting line, throwing themselves into corners, tearing down straights, muscling past each other in the constant battle for position. Until, Trail got a good nudge on Blight around a corner, sending him spinning out of control around a corner and on went the yellow light. This time round the race officials weren’t taking no for answer, they were reasserting their authority & that yellow light was going on & staying on until every driver on the track was driving at speeds that couldn’t crack an eggshell. And that yellow light seemed to be constantly on. Constantly dammit!
Somehow, someway though the canny Thomas “Bus” Rowe, driving the aggressively comported Kart # 9, managed to scoop that sweet 5-pointer with an impressive average fastest lap speed of 45.23 secs. Followed closely by one Mr AJ Sutton who piloted Kart # 9 across the line in the 1st Group with a blistering average time of 45.72 secs. In the 46 second range were drivers Dr Kirk Stevens, Stuart Brooke and Leighton Agnew all showing skills on the track to become the other points scoring Mancathletes in “The Race”. In summary I would like to conclude that racing shit is fun and that The Mancathlon kicks ass. The End. 
“I feel like I got a pile of cattle chasing my ass, and I’m peddling as hard as I can to stay in front of ’em. I’m looking behind me driving like hell.”
– Rusty Wallace



# Mancathlete Kart # Average Fastest Lap Speed Placing Mancathlon Points
1 Simon Watson 7 47.09 7th  
2 Dr Kirk Stevens 21 46.50 3rd 3
3 Brydon Price 5 46.99 6th  
4 Gareth Ballard 2 49.05 12th  
5 Stuart Brooke 8 46.52 4th 2
6 Simon Judkins 1 48.51 11th  
7 AJ Sutton 9 45.72 2nd 4
8 Josh Short 11 47.82 8th  
9 Conrad Blight 18 49.57 14th  
10 Shane Munro 8 49.21 13th  
11 Gavin Marshall 11 48.07 9th  
12 Jared Trail 21 48.22 10th  
13 Thomas Rowe 9 45.23 1st 5
14 Dr Todd Keenan 19 52.09 16th  
15 Leighton Agnew 2 46.96 5th 1
16 Wild Card C. Staines 5 49.65 15th
Agnew (14)
Rowe (13)
Blight (11)
Price (10.5)
Judkins (10)
Guthrie (10)
Trail (9)
Stevens (8)
Sutton (6)
Brooke (6)
Marshall (6)
Keenan (6)
Short (4)
MacFarlane (3)
Watson (2.5)
Gregg (1)
Munro (0)
Reynolds (0)
Ballard (0)
The Following Mancathletes were absent from Event 8:
Duncan Reynolds, Rodney MacFarlane, Jason Gregg & Phillip Guthrie.


Le Gary

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“Half Time(ish)”

The Mancathletes will observe the sanctity of NZ’s Labour Weekend by taking a brief intermission from the constant rigours of high-performance athleticism that The Mancathlon demands. As bruised bodies & egos heal in jacuzzis high atop palatial coastline properties, the various competitors will reflect on the savage cut & thrust in this latest season of Sports Entertainment’s Mightiest Institution. With a mere Two Events & One Bonus Round remaining until the Grand Finale there are now precious few opportunities for these men to stamp their mark on the contest, and potentially, on the Champion’s Trophy. Which of these rugged souls will have the 10-Pound Cojones required to step it up a notch in these closing stages, to truly bring the thunder and establish themselves as The Big Chief in 2008. Watch this space dear readers…

Also stay tuned for your invitation to the finest social event of the season, the Grand Finale. If you are not present for this earth-shattering, epoch-defining event, you will forever be tasting the bitter ashes of regret and the slightly salty tang of chagrin. I recommend Fanta, it kills the taste-buds at their roots and it’s a fun colour!!

Event 7: Bicycle Jousting

Event 7 Report Co-Authored by 3-year Veteran Mancathlete, Mancathlon Co-Founder and Animal Psychologist Mr Simon Judkins. 
The Seventh Event of the 2008 Mancathlon – “Bicycle Jousting” – was held in a Desolate Suburban Park on Saturday 18th October and was attended by the following Mancathletes:

Simon Judkins, Conrad Blight, Gavin Marshall, Thomas Rowe, Leighton Agnew, Brydon Price, Jared Trail, Rodney MacFarlane, Josh Short, Stu Beef, AJ Sutton & Gareth Ballard. 

As storm clouds gathered ominously over Manukau Harbour and the industrial pylons buzzed & crackled menacingly above the desolate suburban park, a dozen brave and foolhardy Mancathletes gathered to do battle in a modern interpretation of the classic sport of knights – Jousting. On HMX-500’s. Yep, that’s Aquila Non Capit Muscas Suckers!! 

Tensions were high, each contestant secretly wondered what pain awaited him. The organisers nervously hoped that the many safety precautions would suffice – or would Judkins’ event prove potentially lethal for a second year running!? Manpride girthed them, testosterone steeled their resolve. Carnage ensued.

Soon the steady hum of the neighbouring motorway was eclipsed by the savage crunch of primeval combat. Barely padded lances thudded into makeshift armour. Sternums imploded with sickening crunches. Gasps and groans emanated from the crowd of nervous W.A.G’s and waiting competitors as bloody mayhem unfolded. First up saw the sages of the Mancathlon go head to head, as old mates vented years of bilious tension…
Judkins vs Blight
Both nervous at the inside knowledge of the flimsiness of the armour, the solidity of the weaponry and the unknown quantity that this event promised to uncover, their nervousness was tempered by their keenness to ensure the event’s success. Thwack! Crunch! Oomph! Pizzazz! And it was under way. After some controversial adjustments to the rules and scoring, the addition of assisted propulsion….would a clear winner emerge? A sudden death tiebreaker was decided upon by chivalrous agreement. The closely fought battle saw Judkins declared the winner by a hook-ed nose. Blight swallowed his seething manpride in a display of humble chivalry & accepted the verdict of his peers, vowing to make good use of the repercharge.
Gavin vs Thom (The Battle of the Titans)
After enduring countless taunts from Judkins (amongst others) about issues of physiological impossibility, Gavin proved his critics wrong by sliding his impressive jaw into the XL motorcycle helmet. The two big men soon upped the ante, repeatedly slamming into one another at top speed, casting aside their friendship in a frenzied battle for Precious Mancathlon Points. Both ended up flat on their backs after being rocked completely from their mounts in a massive opening salvo; the force of the impact echoing around the canyons of Onehunga, shattering grilled windows and causing junk yard dogs to tear their chains asunder & run through the streets attacking cars. After three parries, Thom was vanquished and Gav emerged victorious (and audibly relieved to have sustained no injury).
Leighton vs Brydon
Despite the clear size difference between the two combatants, Brydon soon proved that you should NEVER underestimate the nuggety journeyman from Glenfield. With steely calmness and expert technique, he parried lofty Leighton’s blows and landed the killer shots, all the while maintaining his control. After a close fought round, Brydon put past humiliations behind him (“I Lost The Mancathlon ’07”) and emerged the victor for the first of many upsets of the day.
Jared vs Rodders
Rodders nervousness showed as bullet sized beads of perspiration erupted across his soft forehead. He faced The Beast from the Nor’ East down the narrow lanes. Adrenalin surged through his veins like Mentos & Diet Coke. He came to do the business, prepared for carnage with his own private nurse (specialising in blood no less). Smack! An almighty collision. As the dust cleared and people dared to look, they encountered Trail lying in the muck, big arms tracing vague circles through the air like a huge concussed turtle. The return parry saw venom in each of their eyes as a cocky Rodders screamed “Take that you biiiarch!”. After three runs another stunning upset saw Rodders advance to the winners pool, and a bitter & humbled Trail left to take his chances with the also rans.
Josh vs Beef
Fresh from his gritty result in the assault course and pumped to make a late run in Mancathlon ’08, the compact terrier Short took on Reigning Top Dog, the Big Chief Stu Beef – supremely confident and smarting from a paucity of points in ’08. The jabs were stiff and purposeful, the thuds increasingly desperate. The hits smarted with savagery. When all was done the gritty Short could not contain his excitement with some well earned & exuberant celebrations as he laid down some cardboard and launched into a few backspins while Run DMC pumped from a stolen car stereo hooked up to some torch batteries. Stu was relegated to duke it out in the pit with the underlings of the repercharge.
AJ vs Gareth
The two baby faced assassins faced off. AJ, utterly sapped of his precious bodily fluids after a gymnastic all-night lovemaking session, dug deep to produce some epic hits. Gareth had no answer. It was over mercifully quickly. AJ lived to fight another day, Buddha Ballard discarded to the scrapheap to lick his wounds and regroup; the hideous spectre of the Losers Trophy haunting his dreams nightly as he awoke screaming, drenched in sweat & clutching his favourite copy of Penthouse Forum from the late 90’s. 
The vagaries of odd numbers and tournament draws saw the need for a complex series of repercharges that had the gathered Mancathletes clutching their monkey skulls in pain as the stink of sizzling brain cells filled the air; but which nonetheless gifted the Losers a second chance to make good on their big talk. Smarting wounds and angry pride provided the impetus for some blood curdling sudden death encounters, far too many to recount individually but with special mention to the spectacular bending of Trail’s pole just prior to Agnew being flung through the air like a ragdoll toyed with by the cruel god Physics. When the battle ground cleared, Stu Beef, Jared Trail and Blight emerged victorious, with Stu and Jared advancing on points.
In the tournament proper…
The Second Round unfolded:
Gavin vs Judkins (“The Grudge in the Sludge”)
The sledging had worn thin. Gavin relished the opportunity to wipe the smirk off his cruel tormentor’s face and teach that upstart a thing or two, or at least hurt him good. Judkins needed a nervous poo. He availed himself of his trousers for that dark purpose. Marshall steeled his weighty chin, narrowed his eyes & tried to ignore the fetidness that was wafting across the battlefield. “The Grudge in the Sludge” unfolded with some massively meaty blows. But to everyone’s surprise it was the thin-lipped Judkins who emerged victorious, managing to win back his opponents respect and burying the hatchet…..for now!
Brydon vs Rodders
The duel of the underdogs saw a closely contested but increasingly brutal round as Rodders “High-Shot” MacFarlane proceeded to make Price’s skull dance inside its casing with several illegal but strategic shots to the helmet. Rodders advanced, his innocent eyes betraying none of the savage instinct that lurked within, but those that looked down at his gnarled hands witnessed them shaking & flexing at the prospect of the next violent encounter as he ran into the bushes & attacked a squirrel. 
Stu vs Jared
Jared just nudged it. Pow pow!
AJ vs Josh
As these two warriors were launched off the starting pads by their pushers they soared down the battle lanes, their HMX-500’s suddenly as light as air, hurtling toward each other at incredible speed like laser beams across a futuristic Tron-like grid. Each Mancathlete steeled himself for the huge impact ahead, their jaws flexing with powerful muscularity, their vision honed to radiant clarity as time slowed & stretched out along an infinite horizon toward an uncertain future. And in that moment between moments each man turned his gaze inwards, thinking of everything that he was and was yet to become, every glorious victory that he had relished, every profound failure that had endured, the friends, the lovers, the friends that became lovers, the big girls that should’ve stayed friends, the memories that comprised their sum experience on earth, the piquancy of life that in combat becomes so precious, yes, all this and more flooded through the thick-boned craniums of these mighty athletes. Until suddenly, their enemy was upon them, their flared nostrils and dark, angry eyes mere feet from them now. They brought their jousting sticks to bear, forcing them through the slow air until they aligned with their opponent’s chest. Short cried out an angry battle call as he smashed his lance into Sutton, Sutton crumpled as his world exploded into pain, Short held steady his HMX as massive waves of energy rippled through his body, Sutton was flung backwards, turning over and over as he cartwheeled through the air, Short whipped out the cardboard & proceeded to celebrate, Sutton’s body landed in a Hillsborough intersection, skidding and bouncing on the pavement, Short pumped his fists in victory, Sutton raised a broken, shaking thumb in kinship, acknowledging a fine victory.
Brydon vs Stu (5 placed play off)
A brutal, cold and calculated encounter, which saw Stu turn in a masterful display of ruthlessness. Stu heeded Judkins’ words of subtle technique (“Just f*cking smash him off his mount real hard”). Everyone was grateful that a fourth encounter wasn’t needed (“just stay down bro”)
Jared vs Rodders
Rodders MacFarlane tried to find a kink in the armour of his powerful opponent. He tried valiantly. He tried repeatedly. After 5 rounds each man was matched blow for blow, absolutely even. It was the brave Rodder’s cunning & guile vs the unyielding physical mass of the Beast. In the end Rodders was unable to find that one strategy that would break through and Trail knocked him from his steed. As Rodders cried discreetly into a cold domestic lager, Trail laughed loud & deeply and sacrificed a goat.
Josh vs Simon
Simon beat Josh.
Special thanks to Christie & Allen for kindly loaning us the body armour that shielded our vital organs from the brutal onslaught. Thanks to Gordon from Plastic Systems for providing the brutal onslaught.
5 Judkins (For the first time in 3 years Judkins takes out an event! Baaammmm!! )
4 Josh (Announces his intentions for the latter half of the comp.)
3 J. Trail (Grasps those sweet points in his sweaty, spade-like hands)
2 El Rodders (Throws up a deuce)
1 Stu (SMASHED Price)
Agnew (13)
Blight (11)
Price (10.5)
Judkins (10)
Guthrie (10)
Trail (9)
Rowe (8)
Marshall (6)
Keenan (6)
Stevens (5)
Short (4)
Brooke (4)
MacFarlane (3)
Watson (2.5)
Sutton (2)
Gregg (1)
Munro (0)
Reynolds (0)
Ballard (0)
The Following Mancathletes were absent from Event 7:
Shane Munro, Duncan Reynolds, Dr Kirk Stevens, Dr Todd Keenan, Jason Gregg, Simon Watson & Phillip “Flavio” Guthrie
In other news:
Randall Potter has withdrawn his bid for the 2008 Mancathlon citing work, relationship & study obligations, as well as a commitment to bring reasonably priced Steven Seagal movies to the Third World through DVD’s made of recycled Fanta bottles and Salt & Vinegar chip packets. 


Uppercut of Beef

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Event 6: Creation of Fire

The Sixth Event of the 2008 Mancathlon – “Creation of Fire” – was held in the Stone Age on Saturday 11th October and was attended by the following Mancathletes:
Jared Trail, Josh Short, Dr Kirk Stevens, Simon Judkins, Gareth Ballard, Duncan Reynolds, Thomas Rowe, Jason Gregg, Dr Todd Keenan, Conrad Blight, Brydon Price, Leighton Agnew, Gavin Marshall & AJ Sutton.
Since the dawn of time, mankind has harnessed the elemental majesty of fire. For the creation of light and heat, for fighting off predators and destroying utterly the villages of their rivals; burning their crude houses & grainstores while they laughed heartily from the sidelines, for the forging of swords, spears & primitive marital aids, and for transforming the bloodied & stringy flesh of their slain livestock into delicious, meaty steaks.  In the year 2008, when this ancient power that was once wrested from the gods by an upstart Prometheus now flows freely from futuristic devices in every room of our comfortable enclaves, what does it mean for man to create fire? To abandon the womb-like comfort of modern civilization and to rely only on his primitive masculine instincts – using just flint & steel to generate that precious spark, that ignites the tinder, that burns the straw, that consumes the kindling, that engulfs the wood in its heated embrace, swelling upwards in flaming red, yellow swirls until finally it sears through a thin line of cotton string suspended 50 cms above the stone floor. This weekend past, 14 lucky Mancathletes found out exactly what it meant and herein we find their compelling story…
As the habitual Mancathlon convoy of late model sedans, company cars and dirtbox hoopdies wound into Wainui valley, they crested the hill and were confronted by the absolute stone-cold monumentalism of Wainui Quarry. Possibly the most awe-inspiring venue of any Mancathlon event ever (barring the Dog’s Bollix and Rico’s lounge) the sheer rock cliffs vaulting upwards from the exposed stone ground, the native bush adorning the hills, the hulking carcasses of abandoned earthworks machinery lying around the quarry all combined to evoke a resplendent masculine poetry in the soul of every man there. The Mancathletes trekked down the long gravel road to the quarry hefting bags of dry pine & kindling, a large bale of straw and an unmarked box full of magnesium bars, flints and Opinel carbon-steel #6 folding knives while the quarry rose up before them, a monolith to their personal glory, or a mausoleum to their dashed Mancathlon dreams? Only time would tell. 
The gathered Mancathletes set to the tasks at hand, Rowe erecting the work stations with wooden stakes, string and builderly skill, Price, Judkins & Trail fetching skankwater from the stagnant creek, Short & Sutton slicing kindling with precise strokes of Trail’s winning but rusted axe and Blight standing around like a poser talking shit. Pretty soon the raw ingredients were laid out across the stony expanse, quivering with a latent potential to erupt into flame but awaiting the skilled hands of an assured & capable Mancathlete to coax them into full bloom. Between each pair of wooden stakes was drawn taut the 50 cm high line of string, and arrayed about the station was a uniform selection of vaseline smeared cotton wool buds, straw, kindling and pine wood, which along with knife, flint and innate skill would be their only tools in this contest. Pretty soon the wood was laid out and it was time for the thing to get played out, Round 1’s Contestants crouched by their stations preparing their blazing fires in their heads, visualizing the fierce flames that would signal Mancathlon victory for miles around and insure the bold etchings of their family names in various stained & thumbed historical tomes. 
Trail, Short, Stevens, Judkins, Ballard, Reynolds & Rowe all assumed the position. Crouched on haunches, foreheads creased in concentration & eyes focused on a distant horizon of Chiefly Glory. The starting gun fired, echoing like a ripple of thunder around the semi-circular quarry and suddenly the Mancathletes were off – furiously shaving magnesium onto wooden blocks, constructing crude windshelters with their allotment of pine, erecting teepees & stunning asymmetrical modern masterworks of tottering timber in an effort to flow those precious flames skyward toward a mockingly robust line of cotton string. The crucial realization was swift to dawn on these highly focused gentlemen; that it was child’s play to invoke the flame but to nurture and grow that precious seed into a fullgrown flame was man’s business. Short & Ballard bolted out of the gate with hungry straw driven fires licking passionately toward the sky, yes, they looked like easy winners but would their flames show the lasting endurance and fortitude required for Mancathlon victory or would they blow their precious potency onto the couch in a puerile pulsation of pre-fixture pique? Hmmmm.
While other men furiously fumbled with their makeshift shacks of kindling in various random kama-sutras of combustion the Beast from the North-East, Mr Jared Trail was diligently devising his own masterstroke of sexual firebuilding. As is his wont. A carefully constructed latticework of narrow pine kindling formed a rigid tower of Babel soaring ever skywards up which those mercurial licks of orange flame could dance their way toward the heavens in their own lusty fashion. Once the Various Small Fires (respect to Ed Ruscha) had erupted down the line, it was simply a matter of waiting, cultivating and praying for those flaming chimeras to grow larger & realer, to burgeon & soar upwards, battling all the while against the changing winds that eddied & swirled around the quarry floor until they could engulf utterly that tender horizon of cotton string. But here’s the thing dear readers – that cotton string was one cot-damn ornery sonuffabitch, hard as a diamond nail in and of itself, and once paired with the unpredictable spring winds, it proved an almost insurmountable adversary even for these battle hardened competitors.
With the aid of his long, flowing duffle coat, J. Trail managed to shield his precious fire from those capricious winds, but protection came at a price. With his rumpled face growing hot & creased from the hellish buffeting he looked almost ready to explode spontaneously in a shower of steak, sausages & Jack Daniels bottles. Somehow the big man managed to hold on though, focusing his rage into a Round 1 winning time of 11’33” as his long-blackened string finally parted ways with itself. Next up in Round 1’s success stories was the towering inferno himself, Thomas Rowe, folding his 7 foot three frame down toward the gravelled terra firma as he blew fervently on the stirring coals & flames of his own fiery efforts, his dedication finally netting him a 12’52” time and looking like a shoe-in for some of those sweet, sweet Mancathlon points. Old Simon Judkins rounded out the top 3 with a solid, but somewhat controversial effort of blazemanship at almost 17 minutes when he tapped his posts and provoked his string to fall, then spent the remainder of the afternoon tapping his opponents posts to prove that his string didn’t drop prematurely. 
From then on Round 1 became a battle of attrition between the two early juggernauts Ballard & Short, both with extremely solid fires but somehow unable to “go all the way”, their fires constantly toying with that tender string but not giving it the hard-loving satisfaction that it truly required. After countless frustrating minutes watching it dance intricate ciphers around the twine, Josh Short’s flame finally chawed through its bit as that hardy cotton string fell curtain-like to the sides. Ballard’s frustratingly tough-nosed string was less than a minute behind as one of his stakes disintegrated in collapsing embers and that fallen twine was finally consumed by flames. By this stage Dr Kirk had abandoned his fire, claiming beneficence on the wood-supplies front but prompting our lone female attendee to label the man as “a straight pussy”, categorically untrue but entertaining nonetheless. West-Coaster Duncan Reynolds persevered with his wildfire but was unable to take it over the top and eventually walked away in mild disgust as his nascent blaze was ignominiously dowsed in swampwater by a safety-conscious Rico.
As Rowe reconfigured the stations for Round 2, dark storm clouds began to gather over Wainui Quarry. Trail began to laugh and clutch his belly, bending backwards and roaring in pre-earned victory as the coming Mancathletes faced the prospect of attempting to light their primitive fires under siege by the watery elements. But suddenly the weather calmed, the seething winds died and the circumstances started to look a whole lot more favorable for the brave soldiers of the second round. The only hairy spanner in the works now was the sheer resources; the amount of wood remaining was looking spartan to say the least, the once healthy piles of pine sapwood were looking depleted and it was obvious that the gentlemen of Round 2 would have but one chance in their furious catapult toward victory. But not matter, one shot’s all that’s required for a true Mancathlete!
Gregg, Keenan, Blight, Price, Agnew, Marshall & Sutton closely attended their stations; prepping their materials and centering their beings, awaiting the flinty strike of the starter’s gun. Bam! It was on suckers. With all the lessons learnt off their randomised colleagues the Round 2’ers threw themselves into their task with glorious abandon. Agnew immediately set about erecting a focused and solid structure, his impeccable latticework evoking gasps of admiration & envy amongst the gathered Mancathletes. Price also was off to a roaring start with his immediately immolated straw bird’s nest fueling a well-planned tower of red-hot ligneous power. Blight meanwhile was f*cking around with a poorly conceived & executed teepee that soon collapsed under it’s own shameful weight. He quickly reassessed the scenario, gathering new straw & cotton wool and constructing a more solid affair, defensible to the wind and with an elevated pyramid of wood atop it’s reinforced platform. His feverish enthusiasm almost proved his undoing as he cleanly sliced open his index finger causing gushes of crimson blood to splash across his wood pile but he continued furiously onwards, his passion for victory unallayed by personal injury.
Whether it was through a dying of the winds, an assimilation of Round 1’s lessons or through a general breaking of the competitive seal it was clear that Round 2 would be considerably more massive than its predecessor. In a mere 7 and a half minutes, Leighton Agnew seared through the wire, with a reinvigorated Brydon Price a mere 60 secs behind him. A wildly excited Juarez reached completion a minute and half later as the entire length of his string erupted into flame at just under 10 minutes. Big Gavin Marshall exploded into a celebratory victory breakdance a mere minute behind him, followed ridiculously closely by the good natured canucklehead Jazzy Gregg just 7 seconds later, pipping the formerly dominant Ruakakian, Jared Trail by a full 25 seconds of “man time”. What can you say amigos? Easy come, easy go!
It took another 10 minutes of burning and earning for Round 2’ers Sutton & Keenan to flame through their ropes but once they’d had a taste they were cot-damned if they were gonna give up the ghost and they made sure that cotton string knew exactly where it stood in the scheme of things…dead last! And that was it dear reader, all she wrote with a foot note. 14 Mancathletes had squared off against the most primeval of all challenges, the ability to create and encourage a blazing, life-giving fire. To prove their masculinity in front of the entire tribe, to verify that they when the cards were down they could generate the heat, the light & the flickering, flesh-searing flame that would give rebirth to a dying village in time of strife and woe. All were called, and some men responded with the fury that Mancathlon Glory is borne of while others merely phoned it in. As the Mancathletes retreated to a temperate pub in Albany for a well deserved beverage amongst a typical Kiwi farrago of primed, youthful athletes and aging hangers-on, we sipped our delicious domestic beers and reflected upon a fine day of Mancathletic activity in an epic 2008 Season, congratulating victories & looking forward to the next clash of compatriots.
Special thanks to Guest Timekeeper Annaliese who braved the pheromone mists of The Mancathlon as Event 6’s sole female contingent. Extra special thanks to Austin King, a fine bloke & community minded citizen for kindly allowing us to burn stuff in such an epic venue.


Leighton Agnew 7’30” 5 Points
Brydon Price 8’26” 4 Points
Conrad Blight 9’59” 3 Points
Gavin Marshall  11’01” 2 Points
Jason Gregg 11’08” 1 Points
Jared Trail 11’33”  
Thomas Rowe 12’52”  
Simon Judkins 16’48”  
AJ Sutton 25’23”  
Dr Todd Keenan 26’36”  
Josh Short 35’43”  
Gareth Ballard 36’04”  
Duncan Reynolds D.N.F.  
Dr Kirk Stevens D.N.F.  
Agnew (13)
Blight (11)
Price (10.5)
Guthrie (10)
Rowe (8)
Marshall (6)
Trail (6)
Keenan (6)
Stevens (5)
Judkins (5)
Brooke (3)
Watson (2.5)
Sutton (2)
Gregg (1)
MacFarlane (1)
Munro (0)
Reynolds (0)
Ballard (0)
Potter (0)
Short (0)
The Following Mancathletes were absent from Event 6:
Stuart Brooke, Shane Munro, Rodney MacFarlane, Randall Potter, Reg Watson & Phillip Guthrie.


Respect the Dunc

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