Bayer’s Big Fish Challenge is helping tackle a big issue
26 June, 2018
26 June, 2018
Left: Bayer Key Account Manager Ben Thompson with Matt Tripet, founder of Australian registered charity ‘The Fly Program’.
Bayer’s AgSpirit Big Fish Challenge has fired the competitive spirit in over 80 fishing-crazy teams around the country as they strive to be the best state-based rural fishing team in this year-long, three-event challenge. But while the Big Fish Challenge is a friendly fishing competition for rural stores and growers nationwide – with 30 prizes on offer – partnering with The Fly Program means that it will also help tackle another big issue: the mental wellbeing of men in agriculture.
Ben Thompson, National Key Account Manager at Bayer said: “Many Bayer agents have been touched by suicide in their communities. We wanted to show our support and it just seemed too distant to write a charity cheque for such an important issue. Not surprisingly, our agents jumped at the chance to catch fish whilst doing their bit for men’s mental wellbeing.”
Dean Boulton from the Logan & Hitchens ‘Ganmainiacs’ team with a 126 cm mulloway.
Run under the aegis of Bayer’s AgSpirit charity program, the Big Fish Challenge is co-ordinated through the website www.agspirit.com.au. Teams of up to 6 people register on Bayer Crop Centre and are sent an AgMat (the competition’s version of a fishing Brag Mat) to measure and photograph the fish they catch. These photos are then uploaded to the website to determine the prizes and the amounts donated to charity. The eligible fish types – from Barramundi to Bass, Carp to Trout – have been carefully chosen to ensure that each team has an even chance of success. The Big Fish Challenge 2018 is donating a dollar amount for every centimetre of the largest fish caught (per type, per team) and has committed a minimum of $20,000 to The Fly Program charity, with the winning teams all having an opportunity to take part in a hands-on Fly Program experience.
The Fly Program, a not-for-profit organisation, seeks to raise awareness and combat the impacts of depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and suicide in the Australian adult male community through a unique program built around four key components: Explore, Cast, Discover and Recover.
Whether it’s a guided fly fishing day in the streams and creeks of a National Park or mountain biking across the rugged terrain of an epic alpine wilderness, The Fly Program uses participation in the natural world as a reprieve from the day-to-day challenges. The aim is to create life changing experiences for Australian men by giving them some time to recharge and reset.
Matt Tripet, CEO of The Fly Program said: “We’re incredibly proud to partner with Bayer for the Big Fish Challenge. It ties in perfectly with the design of The Fly Program, which is about enhancing men’s well-being by bringing them together in the great outdoors as active participants. Farmers are a tough breed but there are too many suicides in our rural communities. The Big Fish Challenge is a great way for Aussie blokes to simply get together and throw in a line in some inspirational locations.”
As the Reel Screamers and the Delta Hombres and the Codfathers head out to the rivers and streams to cast a line, they, along with everyone taking part in Bayer’s Big Fish Challenge, provide yet another uplifting example of the generosity of spirit and solidarity of support for Australian men working in agriculture.
Ben Thompson says “As an avid fisherman myself, I understand how a few days stalking fish gets the primal juices flowing and at its core that’s what The Fly Program is all about – helping people feel more grounded and alive. So, if you know someone participating, it’s a great excuse to take them out to your secret spot… for a good cause.”
The Bayer Big Fish Challenge is still open for entries. If you’re interested in competing, talk to your local store, and if they’re not already taking part, encourage them to enter a team.