IN amazing scenes, the new Australian Champion Cherry Pip Spitter Mark Vitler was welcomed back to Mount Barker.
Eyewitness reports say placards were displayed in streets and wild crowds waved at the Big Spitter as he drove, somewhat surprised, towards his modest farm house.
Later Sunday night, Mount Barker time, friends and family joined Vitler with barbecued meat and fresh champagne, or something that tasted like it.
His wife, Jodi Vitler, said Mark was a new hero for the town’s young.
“He didn’t want to go at first, you know,” she said. “I had to talk him into it.
“I said: Go on. You’ll have fun. Who knows, you might even win a trip to NZ. He said: “It’s a bit embarrassing, spitting in front of all those people.”
What a strange comment coming from a man who stood before 10,000 people, on a windy day, with enough confidence to make the front row move back 10 feet, or 5 meteres, or 3 steps, 15 oodlies, 75 pickovers, 18 diddlesquats, or whatever the measuring system is these days.
Vitler is a typical Australian champion, modest, unassuming, laconic, big, well cared for, happy in himself, a hard worker, a mate to everyone who is a mate, community minded, good with bottle tops, ready for an arm wrestle at any time of night or day, an open honest smile always at the ready and keen to finish a meal that is put in front of him.
All right, given this is a blog, a lot of the above may have been made up in order to fill the space, but that is taking nothing away from Vitler and the town that loves him.
(He doesn’t actually live in town. His place is much closer to the Porongorups, a mountain range in the deep-south of West Australia. Seriously, the man is blessed.)