THE important thing about this weekend’s Soar, Ride and Shine was not the amazing variety of machinery on show, but the long-lasting impact this event will have on improving mental health.
Soar Ride and Shine is Lifeline Central West’s biennial fundraiser that puts money behind the support services it offers to people in the region struggling with mental health problems.
Executive officer Alex Ferguson said the event is about more than just money.
It’s about starting a conversation with some of the hardest people to reach: men.
“People know what Lifeline does in communities and obviously that comes with some costs,” he said.
“So it is a fundraiser, but it is also a great opportunity to talk to men and boys about mental health issues and reinforce the constant Lifeline message.
“It is important, because male suicide in this part of the world is very significant and very much higher than the cities, and we keep chipping away trying to make a difference.
“The process there has got to be built around the constant message just to get men and boys who may have a problem to talk about it.”
It is for that reason that Lifeline puts so much effort into providing attractions at Soar, Ride and Shine that will appeal to men, such as planes, helicopters, cars and motorcycles.
Over Saturday and Sunday, thousands of people visited Bathurst Airport to see the incredible displays, leading to crowds bigger than the previous running of the event in 2016.
Mr Ferguson said the amount of people, along with the growing number of exhibitors, indicates the increasing value they see in this event.
For the exhibitors in particular, they are able to use the event to promote an interest in their work and, for the military, use the day as a chance to recruit more people.
But, despite the popularity, Lifeline has no plans at this stage to make Soar, Ride and Shine an annual event.
“If you did it every year, it would get stale and I think to put on a good day every now and again is a better recipe than wearing it out,” he said.
“It is the same problem the motor races, et cetera, have. How do you make the offer new and fresh?”
A fundraising total is yet to be determined, but Soar, Ride and Shine last year raised $35,000 for Lifeline.