Raising awareness one snag at a time

Clint Wallish and Todd Curtis enjoying the final sausage on their 'Tour de Snag'. (Supplied)

Ash Bolt

Two Geelong men have completed a rather unique tour of Victoria – eating a sausage at every Bunnings store in the state to raise money and awareness for mental health research.

Clint Wallish and Todd Curtis started their ‘Tour de Snag’ last March and after 10 months and more than 7500 kilometres on their motorcycles, had their 77th and final sausage at North Geelong’s Bunnings on Sunday.

Mr Wallish said the idea for the unique fundraiser came while the pair was dealing with the stresses of lockdowns and the pandemic.

“The idea came from Todd – we tend to ride our motorbikes together almost every weekend for a bit of getaway time,” he said.

“It was a stressful time – I had gone through a redundancy and Todd works in health, so we needed something to take our minds off it all.

“Todd just said, ‘why don’t we have a sausage at every Bunnings”’ and I said, ‘why not?’ and then we decided to make it a fundraiser.”

Using their challenge to raise money and awareness for the Black Dog Institute was an easy choice.

“The motorbike community is very closely aligned with the Black Dog Institute, who do great work, so we wanted to raise some money for them,” Mr Wallish said.

It proved to be a big challenge, with 77 Bunnings stores spread across the state, including around 25 in regional Victoria.

“We started with Leopold – we were going past and just pulled in and thought now’s a good time to start – back in March,” Mr Wallish said.

“There were big gaps along the way where because of lockdowns we couldn’t go, but we managed to do it in 10 months.

“It was a challenge, because the sausage sizzles are only there for a small amount of time, so we often had to crowbar so many stores into one trip.

“You learn quickly that hitting up seven stores in the west of Melbourne in one day is not a good idea.

“But apart from feeling nauseous, we loved it. It was a great experience. We didn’t make much hoopla, we just rolled up got our sausages and left, but we got to meet so many amazing community people who were out there doing their bit to raise money for their sports club or group.”

Mr Wallish said the trips also encouraged people to talk about their mental health.

“When we told people what we were doing, or when they saw our Facebook, it encouraged people to talk about their own mental health,” he said.

“That’s a big thing. People need to be more open about what they’re going through and the support they need around them, so to take away that stigma was an important part for us.”

Mr Wallish said he’d noticed that Bunnings was strict on its sausages and pricing across all 77 stores, community groups were given more freedom with the sauces.

“When you’ve already had five sausages that day, and you roll into the next place and they’ve got something a bit different, like sweet chilli sauce, that gave us a real boost,” he said.

“Bunnings was strict that it had to be beef sausages and they had to be $2.50 and all that, but it seemed the sauces were where they could get more creative. That was always fun to see everyone’s approach to the sauces.”

The pair has raised more than $2200 towards their $5000 goal along the way and Mr Wallish said they would likely find another idea to do something similar in the future.

“We had a great time, but I can’t look at another sausage for a while,” he said.

“We worked it out that we had spent $380 between us just on sausages alone, and done something like 7500 kilometres.

“But it was a really amazing time.”

Donations to the fundraiser can be made online at teamblackdog.org.au/fundraiser/TourDeSnag2021.