Fahey crack of the whip
By LEIGH PRITCHARD
BRIAN Fahey takes his whip cracking seriously.
So seriously, in fact, that he goes to the trouble of making his own whips.
The three-time Australian whip cracker champion carefully selects the beast to make his green hide whips.
Mr Fahey, 66, used his two favourite homemade whips to win the Over-50s RMWilliams Australian Whip Cracking Championships last month. Mr Fahey, a fencing contractor and brother of well-known Grafton identity John 'JJ' Fahey, makes whips for gifts and stockmen who prefer his strong, green hide whips.
Mr Fahey and partner Gail Young live at the former Glenferneigh School in Tyringham, where Mr Fahey's father and grandfather both taught.
He said he used the hide of jersey cows to make whips because of their smooth, pale skin.
The raw hide is stretched over an old trampoline when it is warm.
The flesh side of the hide is then salted and painted with molasses then cut into strips with a pocketknife.
"I plait them myself and make the handles," Mr Fahey said.
The championships were held at the West Tamworth Leagues Club during the Country Music Festival.
In the seniors event Mr Fahey nominated 10 tricks, did one minute freestyle and hit 10 targets using his left and right hand.
"I can't beat the young fellas, they are very good, very competitive," Mr Fahey said.
Mr Fahey started competing in whip cracking events 10 years ago.
"All the kids in the farms cracked the whip around the cows," he said.
"I didn't take it seriously until (champion whip cracker) Greg Charlton got me started."
Mr Fahey was one of the founding members of the Whip Cracking Club at Glen Innes, which has 30 members.
He was one of 40 whip crackers invited to perform at the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000.