Hunter hoteliers Mick Potts, Mick Starkey and Brett McGovern
It was the year the AHA Variety NSW Bash broke all records.
There were more cars than ever before and they raised more money than ever before, with more than $1 million donated for kids in need.
While AHA Variety NSW Bash veteran and Stag and Hunter hotelier Mick Starkey has seen his fare share of Bash events over the past 14 years, he says even he was gobsmacked by the result.
"I am blown away at the generosity of donors and the effort teams have put in this year," he said.
"Having more than 100 cars take part is such a great result, which we can hopefully follow up next year, and as a representative of the Australian Hotels Association (AHA) as with the other publicans that participated, I am proud that we were able to contribute in a way that assisted to achieving this figure."
Stag and Hunter and Snake Gully hoteliers Mick Starkey and Brett McGovern on the Bash. Image by Justin Worboys Photography.
There were more cars than ever before and they raised more money than ever before, with more than $1 million donated for kids in need...
After completing numerous Bash events since 2004, Mick said while it is difficult to single out a particular highlight of the event, a couple of visits do come to mind.
"Delivering new learning technology to Narrabri Public school to the value of $5,000, and the opening of the sensory room donated by Variety at the Kalinda School were both incredible experiences, " he said.
"Having lunch at the tiny school of Tulloona, which was all prepared by an appreciative community, was also amazing. The best thing about the Bash is how it strengthens the sense of community and the small part we can all play in making an Aussie kid's life a little easier."
Newcomer to the Bash, Royal Crown Hotel hotelier Travis Hargreaves and his six heritage NRL team teams also did an incredible job, raising more than $100,000 between them for the cause.
"We were lucky to have such a diverse group of guys who were able to bring different skill sets to the table in terms of fundraising," Travis said.
"We had blokes who were handy with cars and got the Bash vehicles ready, we had a strong hospitality flavour that helped with the events to raise money, and then we had the corporates who tapped into their various networks to donate, but the main thing was they were all good blokes willing to dig in and have a go for the cause."
Travis says that as a newcomer to the event, the highlight was seeing the looks on the kids faces when they seen the cars roll into town.
"It was inspiring to say the least," he said.
"And then the look on the adults faces when they received either funding or gifts to help their small communities out. I will certainly be going back next year."
The heritage NRL AHA Variety NSW Bash teams. Image supplied.
"The main thing was they were all good blokes willing to dig in and have a go for the cause..."
And according to Travis, his team will bigger and even better for the 2019 AHA Variety NSW Bash, with more than 10 cars expected to participate.
"If this is the case and we do get the number of teams that we expect, then I don't see why we won't be able to crack $250,000 in terms of fundraising," he said.
AHA Newcastle Hunter has been the major sponsor of the Variety NSW Bash since 2013.
The 2018 AHA Variety NSW Bash returning to Newcastle. Video courtesy of Variety NSW.
Gallery: Variety held a family day at Newcastle's Foreshore Park on Saturday, 26 May to welcome home the AHA NSW Variety Bashers.