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That's all for 2010

Posted by Buck on 20 August 2010

Kia Ora,

Well, the 2010 Roadshow is now over and it's been quite a ride. I have loved every minute of it and would just like to say a big thanks to all the fans who came along. It was a fantastic turnout and we appreciated each and every one of you being there.

This year we travelled across New Zealand visiting some great communities along the way. For the first time ever, it was the locals versus the All Blacks in a series of community challenges. We had loads of fun and as it turns out, we weren't half bad either. I'm proud to say we tied the series with three wins apiece.

The All Blacks won the waiter racing, coal shovelling and the caber toss, while the locals won the curling, gumboot throwing and wood sawing. It was a tough and fierce competition, so great effort everyone! And of course the rugby challenges still proved popular with heaps of fans having a go.

It was great to see the All Blacks and the communities come together on this year's Roadshow. We certainly had a blast, so thanks again to everyone who showed their support.

Cheers,
Buck

The MasterCard All Blacks Roadshow – over for another year

Posted by Richie on 12 August 2010

Hi everyone,

It was great to get back on the Roadshow after being at Tokoroa and Taihape earlier this year. And it was awesome coming out to see the fans after our win over the Wallabies the night before. Taking home the Bledisloe Cup in front of a home crowd has to be one of this year's highlights for me.

Although we had a lot of rain and the event had to move indoors, we still had a great turnout. Akaroa Area School hosted the event in their gymnasium and had the three rugby challenges and waiter racing set up in no time. To thank the school for their hospitality, MasterCard donated a rugby ball to each student. No doubt they'll be practicing their rugby skills for the next Roadshow!

Also, we were lucky enough to have a couple of other All Blacks along. There was Brad Thorn, who is the oldest player in the current All Blacks side. Plus we had Owen Franks, whose brother Ben joined us on the Roadshow at Tokoroa. Owen is also incredibly competitive. He actually threw his waiters tray at his competitor who was beating him in the waiter's race!

So to top off our win in the Bledisloe Cup, we went on to beat the locals in the waiter's race. It was a great effort by the boys and the locals, but we managed to edge them out in the end. So the Roadshow series finished with three wins to the All Blacks and three wins to the locals. It was a fierce competition and I've learnt a lot too. I'm now an expert at wood sawing, gumboot throwing and of course, waiter racing.

I can't believe the Roadshow is over for another year. I've had such a great time meeting all the fans and going head to head with the locals in the challenges. It's been fantastic. On behalf of the All Blacks and the Roadshow team, I'd like to give a big thanks to everyone who showed their support. I hope you had as much fun as I did.

Richie

Last stop for 2010

Posted by Buck on 12 August 2010

Kia Ora,

Sadly Akaroa was our last stop on the Roadshow event calendar. But we were determined to have a blast on our final day. We were greeted with pouring rain and strong winds, so we had to bring the venue indoors to Akaroa Area School's gymnasium. Luckily we had the support of Banks Peninsula Rugby Club, who had 15 volunteers on hand to help us out. Great work guys. We also presented Banks Peninsula Club Captain, Tom Stewart with a signed All Blacks rugby jersey to thank him and his club for all their support. They also put on a great BBQ and did some fundraising for their club.

Despite the weather, the locals turned up in force and it was great to have Richie, Brad and Owen joining us after their fantastic Bledisloe Cup victory the night before. It was also good to have my wife Jo with us in Akaroa. The atmosphere was buzzing and everyone had a great time.

This week we were up against the locals in the waiter's race. As always, I cleaned up on the community challenge, in spite some unwarranted accusations that I had bent the rules and stuck the glasses onto the tray. Don't know what made anyone think that. So with my help, the All Blacks won this challenge. And that meant we drew the series with the locals at three wins each. Great effort everyone!

This Roadshow has been a lot of fun and I am really looking forward to working with MasterCard as their rugby ambassador next year. The support from the communities and fans has been absolutely fantastic and it just wouldn't be the same without all the help that they give us. Thanks to everyone who came along.

Buck

Get your skates on

Posted by Buck on 4 August 2010

Hi everyone,

We rolled into a blustery day at Naseby, but were rewarded with an afternoon of balmy sunshine. It was great to see our boys come out to a remote Otago town such as Naseby. They don't often get events like this, so it was nice to be able to take the Roadshow there.

Isaac Ross, Andy Ellis and Andrew Hore stepped up to the curling challenge, none of them 'cracked the egg' but I think they did a pretty good job for first timers. It's quite a tricky sport and it showed too as the locals won by heaps! Isaac Ross had the best score out of the All Blacks, but maybe that's because he's such a tall bloke. A big congrats to the locals – you really showed us how it's done.

Andy Ellis really got into the "ice sports" spirit. Along with curling he also donned ice hockey goalie gear to take on 20 junior ice hockey players. He was rather good at it too. This might stem from his cricketing skills when he was a young lad. And when he was done on the Roadshow, he took himself up to the luge where the Latvian Olympic Champion was happy to give him a few pointers before he set off down the 100-metre slope. Thankfully no broken bones...just a bit wet in the end.

A special thanks to Maniototo Rugby club and their 14 volunteers who helped out all day. Paul Dougherty, President of the Maniototo RFC and Sean Becker, NZ Curling Captain were presented with signed All Blacks rugby jerseys for their clubs' support of the Roadshow.

So that about wraps up another fantastic day at the Roadshow. The event team did a smashing job yet again, so well done guys. And a special thanks to the great hosts at the Naseby Curling Rink for not only their hospitality, but also a tasty bacon sandwich.

See you all in Akaroa.

Cheers,

Buck

Next stop - Reefton

Posted by Buck on 28 July 2010

Kia Ora,

We visited Reefton on the West Coast for our first South Island Roadshow event of the year. We had a great turnout, not a bad effort for one of the more remote NZ towns.

A special mention goes to the First XV from Christchurch, who stopped in on their way to Greymouth, and the Junior Rugby Club, who came in by bus from Westport. We also had All Blacks Wyatt Crockett, Andy Ellis and Adam Thomson along for the ride. And from what they told me, they had a fantastic time.

The rugby challenges were popular as usual. Andy Ellis did well on the try scoring challenge and said he wishes he had one at home.

We couldn't wait to see how we'd go against the locals in the coal shovelling. We got to meet local legends, Brian Coghlan and Richard Banks and we even donned hard hats to get into the spirit of it all. And maybe that's what got us over the line, because after some fierce competition, I'm happy to say that the All Blacks won! So after four pretty tough challenges it's now an even two wins each. It could be anyone's series!

Thanks to the Reefton Rugby Club and Inangahua A&P group who had some volunteers help us out on the day. As usual, we had a delicious BBQ put on and it raised around $1,000 for the local area school.

We had an awesome day at Reefton. Thanks to everyone who showed up. We really appreciate all your support.

Until next time,

Buck

The All Blacks beat the locals in Waipu!

Posted by Buck on 14 July 2010

Hi everyone,

On the weekend, the Roadshow stopped in Waipu, a small Northland town with a very proud Scottish heritage. It was a fantastic day with fine Northland weather and a large crowd of supporters, so thanks to everyone who came along. We were also lucky enough to have All Blacks Dan Carter, Tony Woodcock and Ma'a Nonu join us and from what they told me they thoroughly enjoyed the day.

We also met up with a great team of locals from the Waipu Caledonian Society. They had donned kilts, orange wigs and were full of high spirits after their successful Tartan Week, which celebrated all things Scottish. I also heard that the Golden Oldies played a game of rugby on Friday night in their kilts!

A big congrats to Waipu RFC, who are currently top of their table this year. It's a great result from all the hard work the boys have put in this year. Waipu RFC also kept the crowd happy with a great BBQ, which raised $1,700 for the club. Well done guys.

The Kiwi Games were a big success once again. This time it was the hefty caber toss, which is not for the faint hearted, let me tell you. When the All Blacks went head to head with the locals at the caber toss, the AB's won their first challenge on the Roadshow by just 1 Degree - hooray! The series score is now 2-1 to the locals with the All Blacks losing in Tokoroa (wood sawing) and Taihape (gumboot throwing). What a great effort. It was also fantastic to meet Pat Hellier, who has been the New Zealand Highland Heavyweight Champion 14 times and is going for a fifteenth title this year. He's not only a Highland Heavyweight Champion, but a policeman in Auckland too.

We really had a blast and enjoyed having a go at all of the Highland Games including the caber toss, sheaf toss (pitch-forking a bail of hay over goal posts) and the farmers walk. Former All Black, Richie Guy demonstrated the farmer's walk by lifting a 120-pound weight in each hand and walking around two points (50 metres apart!) until he could go no further. Ma'a Nonu couldn't help but give it a go and ended up walking a couple of extra metres more than Richard!

Looking forward to the next time we take on the locals!

Cheers,

Buck

Richie one, Buck nil

Posted by Richie on 7 July 2010

Hi there,

We headed to Taihape for our second Roadshow event this year and it was another fantastic day with plenty of sunshine. I was really keen to try and level the playing field with the locals and get even on the Gumboot Throwing challenge. We didn't do too well in the wood sawing last week, so I was determined to make a better impression with the locals this time.

It was great to have Conrad Smith and Aaron Cruden there for their first MasterCard All Blacks Roadshow event. They had a ball. When we showed up everyone was in gumboots, so the boys and I decided to get into the spirit and wear ours too.

We took on some pretty talented locals in the rugby challenges but the real test was the Gumboot Throwing. The Taihape Rugby Club was on hand to help out at the event and they actually had the Colin Meads Cup in their possession, which was pretty impressive to see.

After a few attempts and a few red cards for foul throws, it was time to put our brief training into action. Unfortunately, once again the locals outshined us with their long throws. The top Gumboot throw of the day was by Niki Martin with a whopping 33.95m - what a great effort.

We then tried our hand at a knockout challenge, where we had to aim gumboots at rugby ball targets about 20m away. This was a tough challenge for us All Blacks and the locals too. However, it was a few ladies who knocked the first rugby ball off its pedestal. Nice work girls! And I'm happy to say that I think it was the All Blacks who took that one out though.

Conrad and I also took Buck on in a classic Plank Challenge. Buck was trying to get us off target by throwing rugby balls to get us to trip over, but Conrad and I worked well as a team and managed to win. Try a bit harder next time Buck!

After a great day, we had to get back into camp pretty quickly and start preparing for the Investec Tri Nations match against South Africa. So to my delight, we hitched a ride in a helicopter back to Palmy North airport en route for Auckland.

Thanks to everyone who came along and showed their support. Looking forward to the next one.

That's me for now,

Richie

Why can't I throw a kids Gumboot?

Posted by Buck on 7 July 2010

Hi everyone,

Well what a fantastic day we had in Taihape. Around 2,500 people showed up and despite a frosty start, the weather ended up being great too. The people seemed to be really happy to have some of the All Blacks there and often commented on how great it was for Wanganui Rugby to have the Roadshow in town. There was certainly a good buzz around the place.

We held the Roadshow at the War Memorial Park in Taihape, which still has a beautiful original grandstand that was built in 1924. It was also great to see strong volunteer representation from two great local clubs, Utiku and Old Boys, as well as the Taihape Rugby Club.

The local Taihape Area School put on a tasty barbecue to fundraise for their new rugby uniforms. We had a large number of people sign up to have a go at the Gumboot Challenge and the local Rotary Club of Taihape was on hand to measure our Gumboot Throwing and test the All Blacks.

Once again, the locals were pretty impressive with throws that were only a few metres off the New Zealand record (held by Niki Martin and Curly Troon). And I have to admit, I did try to bend the rules a little bit when I went at my first throw with a kid's gumboot - but I got pulled up on this! So I had to take on the big guns with the regular sized gumboots. Nice try anyway!

We also had a number of other classic Gumboot Day challenges including the Plank Challenge. This is where two sets of gumboots are nailed to planks of wood with two people required to race another pair around a marker and back. As soon as I saw this challenge I quickly came up with a strategy - get paired with the lightest guy, which meant pairing up with new cap Aaron Cruden. We were up against Richie and Conrad Smith. It was a tight match, but unfortunately we didn't take that one out. We'll get them next time.

It was great to meet all the locals and see everyone enjoy the Roadshow. Looking forward to the next one.

Cheers,

Buck

All Blacks vs The Tokoroa Axeman's Club

Posted by Richie on 27 June 2010

It was great to be back for a third year especially after a successful night against the Welsh. It was also good to get Keven and Ben on the Roadshow as they haven't experienced it before. Keven was especially happy to visit his birthplace and catch up with lots of family and friends.

Once again, the rugby challenges were a huge hit. We had three dads and a few mums take on the All Blacks and it was neck and neck the whole way.

I was also excited to see how our first ever Kiwi Games challenge was played out. Could we beat the locals in wood sawing? The Tokoroa Axeman's Club set up four wood sawing stands and brought down a few amazing pieces of machinery they use at their super sports events including a chainsaw hooked up to a V8 engine. The sound of this thing as they started it up was pretty incredible and had the capacity to drown out our MC! Unfortunately I didn't get a go on the V8 chainsaw but I hear Buck did with one of the locals.

We also got to meet David Bolstad, a third generation axeman. And it sure looks like his five-year-old son will become a fourth generation axeman as whenever he gets the opportunity he's out chopping wood. It was great to see. Also, big congratulations to Carl McDonald and Lee Fitzpatrick who won the wood sawing with 17.94 seconds. That's impressive!

The locals really showed us a thing or two here. Local legends, David Bolstad and Charlie Hall went up against us in a best of three battle. We should have stuck with a 10 second start, because that's when we won. But with a 7-second start, they were just too good!

And thanks to all the patient people who waited in the queue for the signing session. It was great to meet you all.

Looking forward to the next one.

That's me for now,

Richie

On the road again!

Posted by Buck on 27 June 2010

Hi everyone,

Really excited to be back on the road again. It was great to visit Tokoroa for the very first time and it was a successful day too with heaps of people showing up. Heavy rain threatened early on but lucky for us we only had a few showers and then it was a fine but cold day.

We had the Southern United Rugby Club help us out on the rugby challenges and they also put on some tasty food to fundraise for the club. Great work guys. Plus, Robert, the club's former president gave us a really nice welcome (mihi) when we started the event. Even Mayor Neil Sinclair dropped by with his family.

When we all arrived, we got community representatives, Robert and David on stage and presented them with a jersey signed by All Blacks Richie, Keven and Ben.

And in the Kiwi Games, it was the locals versus the All Blacks in wood sawing. I was really interested to see how we'd go against the locals too. Wood sawing is tough! And the Tokoroa Axeman's Club really put us to the test. Local legend and world champ, David Bolstad put the All Blacks through their paces. But the locals were too good for us.

MasterCard cardholders also had the chance to win tickets to the All Blacks vs South Africa Investec Tri Nations Test in Auckland. They had to guess the combined caps of all three All Blacks present on the day and then correctly answer how many Test Match points MasterCard ambassador and All Blacks Captain Richie McCaw has achieved as captain. Not an easy one, but one lucky winner did it in the end.

It was a fantastic day in Tokoroa and thanks to everyone who showed up. Bring on the next one!

Cheers,

Buck

The countdown is on

Posted by Richie on 2 June 2010

Hi guys,

Not long now until the Roadshow is back and let me tell you, the excitement is building. With all the new Kiwi Games, it's going to be different and a lot of fun.

We had a busy day on the set of the new commercial for this year's Roadshow. Last year at the Roadshow, you could say that we had the advantage with the rugby challenges, but this year the locals do. The Kiwi Games are all about local communities challenging us at what they do best - everything from the caber toss, waiter's race and wood sawing to curling and coal shovelling! I'm not really sure how we're going to go against the locals, but I think the boys and I will have to put in a bit of extra practice.

For the All Blacks, some of the challenges this year are going to be really tough. I had a go at all of them and I think I've got a lot of work to do.

The caber toss took a little bit of getting used to. I usually bench press a fair bit but the 40kg, 5.2m caber was a totally different ball game. As for the waiters race, it's all very well running fast with a rugby ball but try balancing three glasses on a tray while holding a baguette! Not easy.

We took some of the tips we learnt from Buck into the training camp because we are really going to need all the help we can get!

I'm really looking forward to visiting some of the towns on the Roadshow this year. It's great that we're getting the opportunity to visit some of the more remote places of NZ. I'm just hoping we don't lose face against the locals!

Anyway, this year is going to be a blast. I hope that you can make it. If not, be sure to come back and see us on the site!

That's me for now,

Richie

Practice makes perfect

Posted by Buck on 2 June 2010

Kia Ora.

I'm really excited about this year's Roadshow – not many sleeps to go now! And with all the new stuff we've got planned, it's going to be a great year.

We recently had a look at some of the Kiwi Games that will be featured in the Roadshow this year. And I have to say, the saw they use in the wood sawing challenge is not to be underestimated! We tested the challenges at my home ground on the North Shore, so even though it was a busy day with an early start, at least I didn't have to go far.

I was lucky enough to have a go at each of the challenges with some of the team, including new All Black, Benson Stanley. We certainly didn't find them easy – Keven Mealamu and Richie dropped the glasses off the tray in the waiter race and I managed to throw a gumboot into a tree! Oh well, we've got lots of practicing to do.

Lucky for the boys I'd done my research and knew what to expect, so I offered them some words of wisdom here and there. I did warn them that they should try to do some practicing in camp though, as the records these locals hold are pretty impressive. I know I'll be practicing every chance I get.

I can't wait to get back on the road with this year's Roadshow. The inclusion of the community challenges is really going to add some flavour. And I'm looking forward to meeting the locals who have made these challenges famous too – maybe they can give me some more tips!

I hope to see you there. And remember to check the website for the All Blacks taking on the local heroes at their challenges.

Cheers,

Buck

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That's all for 2010

Posted by Buck on 20 August 2010

Over for another year

Posted by Richie on 12 August 2010