Dykes on Bikes' Sam Hobson, Mel Cooper, Kim Harman, Larney Kiley, Nik Mahar, Shelley Ellul, Heidi Merrin, Petrea Cooper, Julz Raven and Candice Valenzuela before the CQ Fair Day
Dykes on Bikes' Sam Hobson, Mel Cooper, Kim Harman, Larney Kiley, Nik Mahar, Shelley Ellul, Heidi Merrin, Petrea Cooper, Julz Raven and Candice Valenzuela before the CQ Fair Day

Bikers visit CQ for Fair Day

HEIDI Merrin was only four when she started getting beaten up by other children in her small Queensland home town.

“I and other kids who were gay left for the city the day we graduated from high school and I’ve never been back,” she said.

Ebony Velvet and Lord Severus at the CQ Fair Day
Ebony Velvet and Lord Severus at the CQ Fair Day

On Friday, it was the big city ladies’ turn to head up the coast, to make an appearance at the Central Queensland Fair Day in Rockhampton.

The fair, which celebrates the diversity of our region’s LGBTIQ community, attracted families and pets to Victoria Park.

Lloyd Wheeleon and Mark Platt at CQ Fair Day
Lloyd Wheeleon and Mark Platt at CQ Fair Day

The Morning Bulletin caught up with the Queensland Dykes on Bikes chapter as they massed at South Rockhampton’s ‘Fountain Park’.

The Brisbane riders left home at 6am Friday and only encountered roadworks delays in their final stretch.

Trish Drake and Missy, Pearce Donald and Xena, Kym Baker with Rolley and Basil, and Cassandra Donald and Princess at the CQ Fair Day
Trish Drake and Missy, Pearce Donald and Xena, Kym Baker with Rolley and Basil, and Cassandra Donald and Princess at the CQ Fair Day

They were joined by four local women who ride out together the second Sunday of every month.

It is the third year that Dykes on Bikes have made a headline appearance at Fair Day, and president Julz Raven said they enjoyed a great reception from locals.

Hannah Blucher, Hayley and Chael Sonter, Isaac and Katrina Blucher at the CQ Fair Day
Hannah Blucher, Hayley and Chael Sonter, Isaac and Katrina Blucher at the CQ Fair Day

“It can be tough for young people who are trans or lesbian in the regional areas so we come out and make a big of noise to offer them support,” she said.

“A lot of country children who become displaced because they are gay end up in the city so it’s nice to let them know they have a ready made family there.”

Skye Stead, Melanie and Patricia Howard, Kayla Poole, Tara Morgan, Marina O'Reilly, Telisha and Sky-Lee Howard, Daniel Poole and Trudy Mansell at the CQ Fair Day
Skye Stead, Melanie and Patricia Howard, Kayla Poole, Tara Morgan, Marina O'Reilly, Telisha and Sky-Lee Howard, Daniel Poole and Trudy Mansell at the CQ Fair Day

Candice Valenzuala moved seven years ago from the capital to Rockhampton where, she said, “things are definitely getting better”.

“I think the publicity surrounding marriage equality helped,” she said.

Jason Lansdell, Selina McKenzie, Trinity and Rhys Bennett at the CQ Fair Day
Jason Lansdell, Selina McKenzie, Trinity and Rhys Bennett at the CQ Fair Day

“We held a photo shoot here in Rockhampton, and the next thing people came out of the woodwork to acknowledge us as part of the community.”

The women agreed that, at the end of the day, the city/country divide meant little compared with what they had in common as women.

Leas Mills, Ashleigh Preece and Sarah Brown at the CQ Fair Day
Leas Mills, Ashleigh Preece and Sarah Brown at the CQ Fair Day

“But Harley rider are always better!” piped a voice from the back.

“Says the Harley rider whose bike’s broken down,” came a response.

Jacinta Cumming with Nash and Brooke Walls at the CQ Fair Day
Jacinta Cumming with Nash and Brooke Walls at the CQ Fair Day

In addition to riding, the group is looking for a new charity to which to donate.

They raise money by selling clothing and bottle openers, and are currently raffling off the opportunity for a lucky winner to ride with them in the Sydney Mardi Gras celebrations.