Maryborough couple's 1974km road to Birdsville bucket list
THERE are two things you need to know about Kris and Brian Dodds.
The first; attending the Birdsville Races - Australia's oldest and most remote thoroughbred racing carnival - has always been on their bucket list.
And the second is the Maryborough couple own a beef cattle and timber farm in Biggenden so supporting farmers is close to their heart.
It was these two factors that inspired the locals to pack up their caravan and depart on a 1974km journey to volunteer at the "Melbourne Cup of the outback".
Brian, 59 and Kris, 52, left yesterday for their outback adventure and aim to arrive on Tuesday to volunteer.
This year's event will raise funds for the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia - a vital charity that provides help to remote areas often cut off from medical services - including the country's embattled farmers.
Kris said although the races initially attracted the Dodds' attention because of the atmosphere, the current drought appeal for farmers doing it tough pushed them over the line.
"The cause resonates with us. We are very lucky that we live on the coast," she said.
After the 25-hour road trip to the 136th edition of the event on the edge of the Simpson Desert, Brian will volunteer as a charity fun run helper and minibus driver at the two-day race-meet.
Kris will also help with the fashions on the field, cocktail party and fun run.
The small township of Birdsville has a regular population 115 which will swell to about 7000 as thousands of racegoers flock from across Australia.
Both Kris and Brian have a history in volunteering.
Brian has previously volunteered on agricultural teams at cattle shows, in addition to local camp drafts and pony club events. He also boasts of his skills behind the barbecue.
As nurse by trade, Kris has an extensive history in international volunteering.
She has helped train nurses in Myanmar and the Solomon Islands earlier this year.
"Maryborough people just chip in and do things. We thought if we were going to be out there we may as well be doing things and volunteering," Kris said.
"With work, Brian is always kicking around the country and we see the hardships people face.
"He is always off on a mission to help people."
However the Dodds' well-planned trip might be cut short as the iconic event looks to coincide with the birth of the couple's first grandchild.
"We aren't quite sure when he is due so our plans might go to putty," Kris said.