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Mow off - after 50 years

By Cynthia Daly

It has taken nearly half a century for Bruce Andrews of Whitianga to fi nally experience a clean shaven face and his wife, Di says it’s like he’s suffering PTSD after losing his furry friend of nearly 50 years but it’s all in a good cause, supporting prostate cancer awareness. Bruce was one of several members of American Muscle Street & Custom Club Whitianga who joined in the Mow Off recently, raising just over $1500 for the cause.

when Di first met her future husband, Bruce she was an 18 year-old lass working in the post office and he had a moustache even then. His two daughters from a previous marriage have never seen their dad without a moustache, so when they come home for Christmas from Brisbane and Cambridge they can expect a surprise. “They’ve seen the photos but they haven’t seen the old fella in person,” says Bruce. While Di says it’s rather nice not to be tickled by Bruce’s moustache and he’s definitely looking like a much younger man; Bruce says he’s not making any promises it won’t return. The sensation of no moustache feels rather strange “Di bid $60 for it to come off and I had a mate there from Palmerston North and he bid $110 for it to stay on. So I thought I was safe but another couple who were there bid $120 for it to come off and before there was a chance for there to be any other bid, Wazza (club member) went ‘going once, going twice, three times, finish’. So it came off ,” says Bruce. The bidding then just kept going, although another club member, Ron, who has a full face beard, out-smarted everyone by planting $100 down on the bar to keep his facial hair. Amongst the humor, says club spokesman Reg Smith, is a serious side. “There’s a few of us, including myself, in the group that have gone through prostate cancer and it was actually quite surprising at our last mow off just how many people had a story. It was an emotional time. There were grown men sitting there tearing up while talking about what they and family members had gone through with prostate cancer or various cancers. There were some guys that I didn’t know had gone through it. They sat down and got their mows taken off and told us their story and you could have heard a pin drop. It was pretty amazing.”

Reg gets emotional talking about it. “If it wasn’t for what we are doing, I for one possibly wouldn’t be around. So that’s an advertisement in itself, some of the guys said to me afterwards, ‘I’m going to go and get checked and not just the finger check, the PSA check’.” Reg suggests (although not a heath professional) insist on getting the PSA check especially if you have a family history as the finger test didn’t help diagnose his prostrate problems, it’s better to be sure. He also encourages the conversation amongst men as it can be curable if caught early. Di says sometimes men struggle with going to get a check. “That happened here a few years ago and it increased the awareness for everybody. Most of the boys in the car club went and got checked and they have it as a regular check-up now. So the improved awareness has got to be good.”

This is not a line up at the police station These men are some of the members involved in Mow off, Ron, Reg, Bruce, Stu, John and Wazza before their mow-offs.

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