Waggs Walkabout

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

It's been a very long day

I'm brain dead and half delusional from a long rough week at work, but this news story stuck me as extra-warped.
Midgets Cup 'all in good fun'
By News Online's Brigid Andersen

The so-called Midgets Cup at a Victorian race meet over the weekend was all done in good fun, a member of the group representing short-statured people says.

The race took place at the Cranbourne Cup on Sunday, and featured dwarfs dressed as jockeys being piggy-backed by punters along the race track and over the finish line.

The stunt has attracted criticism from the Victorian Premier and Victoria's Racing Minister.
Racing Minister Rob Hulls says it has portrayed racing Victoria poorly not just in Australia, but around the world.

"The Midgets Cup for goodness sake. Having short-statured people jump on blokes' backs and fall over the finish line at race tracks is certainly no way of promoting this great Spring Carnival, right around the world, right around Australia and right throughout Victoria," he said.
But a member of the Short-Statured People of Australia (SSPA) says the stunt was supposed to be in good fun.

Meredith Tripp, who is the former president of the group and the captain of the Australian team which competed at the World Dwarf Games earlier this year, says she is surprised the event has attracted so much attention.

"It is a little bit unfortunate that Cranbourne Racing and Racing Victoria saw the comical side to it, but at the same time we're not too worried about it and we're not too heartfelt about it at all," she said.

"We don't have too big an issue with it. We're actually surprised about how big an issue has been created around it.

"It was all done in good fun and the actors who took part in it are professional actors just trying to get some work and good on them, that's their everyday occupation."

'Odd requests'

But Ms Tripp, who knows the actors involved in Sunday's stunt, questioned why the race organisers chose to go down the road of using short-statured people.

"Why does a short-statured person have to be the comical side to it?" she said.
"I'm sure there are alternative ways or alternative promotional things they could have put in place instead of one of us. But look they chose to go down that line."

She says groups often choose to go down that line and the SSPA often gets bizarre requests.
"It happens. We get requests quite often if we know of any actors," she said.

"We'll get requests for if someone wants an Oompa Loompa at a party or a Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs gig and that's fine, they're all caricatures and they're in uniform so to speak.
"You do get a few odd requests such as people wanting to throw dwarfs and thinking it's funny through the history and those sorts of requests are extremely inappropriate."

Ms Tripp says some of the SSPA's members are paid actors who rely on gigs such as the Midget Cup for work.

The SSPA has about 150 members nationally and many are involved in other sporting events designed to keep people active and healthy.

This year was the first year Australia had a team compete at the World Dwarf Games which were held in Belfast in Northern Ireland.

Fifteen Australian athletes competed at the games, where they won 24 medals.

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