With just over seven weeks to go, promotion for the Usher Cup 2022 is running full speed ahead as the offical media launch was held at Rainbow Bay Surf Lifesaving Club with Event Co-Founders, presenting partner, recipient charity representative and past finalist in toe.
With record entries, increased prize pool, and the launch of the $10K for TEN charity initiative, the message is clear, the annual event is set to be bigger and better than the first.
Event Co-founder and Usher Group Managing Director, Theodore Vairaktaris bounced with excitement as he discussed the number of clubs registered, and the massive prize pool – $7,000 for 1st place Women’s and Men’s and over $70,000 up for grabs. But it isn’t just the competitors that will benefit.
“We’re raising $10K for TEN charities, and I’m proud to say that when we went out to the construction industry, within 24 hours we had filled the sponsorship quota which is going straight to charity.”
Theodore has been taking the time to visit each of these charities personally, alongside fellow Co-founder and Event Director Wayne ‘Rabbit’ Bartholomew. These charity visits illustrate just how valuable the fundraising side of the Usher Cup is.
“It’s tough times for charities to raise money at the moment, there hasn’t been a lot of spare cash to give… They do amazing things in our community, for youth, for domestic violence, for housing animals and aiding their recovery, so we’re super excited about it,” said Wayne. “It really comes down to Theodore’s standing in the construction industry, to go out there and basically raise $110,000. He says 24 hours, I’m saying it was done in 3 hours.”
This achievement was due largely to the partnership with Hutchinson Builders, who were the first to commit, returning for the second year running as presenting partner. Team Leader and Gold Coast Manager Levi Corby was stoked at the opportunity to participate again this year.
“Usher and Hutchinson’s have such a rich working relationship that tends to mean that when Theo rings and asks for something he gets a yes pretty much every time,” said Levi. “When something like this pops up in our community, we’re the first to support, so, I’m hoping that it was less than 3 hours that we pressed yes!”
The team was joined by Anji Tierney, Corporate Relationship & Fundraising Manager from Animal Welfare League Queensland. Anji has been so blown away by the work achieved so far.
“It’s incredible what they’ve done, and you can tell there’s so much passion and work behind it and it’s such a privilege to be a part of it,” she said.
“It makes sense having this community of surfers from interstate and also from the Gold Coast that are so passionate about what they do and what they love, working with us as animal lovers and that are so passionate about the rescues that are in our care. It was a really organic relationship that evolved,” said Anji
With over 20 clubs confirmed, old rivalries were brought to the surface. Previous competitor Jaggar Bartholomew – who placed 2nd last year by mere seconds – talked about the competitiveness that comes with the event. At the end of the day though, the Usher Cup is more than just a competition.
“They’re just good human beings who are all pouring their energy into helping those who need it,” said Jaggar. “It’s going to be a great event to start the surfing year off.
Usher Cup will be held at the iconic Snapper Rocks from Friday 28th to Sunday 30th January 2022.