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Rob Cook’s Tanami Desert Challenge

Rob CookA menacing wild bull, cold and wet conditions, flat batteries, blisters on top of blisters and a capsizing wheelchair would be enough to deter any able bodied person from realizing their dream, but not for outback, inspirational, disabled, pastoralist Rob Cook and good mate, Luke Bevan.

The childhood friends set out from ‘Suplejack Downs Station’ on their Tanami Desert Challenge 19 days ago and are now just a few days away from realizing their dream, as they near their final destination in the red centre, Alice Springs.

Rob said “It’s been so amazing how supportive the tourists and truckies have been out here. We have had literally dozens of tourists, having heard of our challenge, pulling over to have a chat and make a donation.

I just want to thank everyone for making the effort of pulling over, especially the truck drivers, on this rough and corrugated road which we all know the stopping and starting is the hardest, it can shake your vehicle apart”.

Rob and his support crew also hosted a fundraiser and thank you dinner at the Mt Doreen/Vaughn Springs Station at the halfway point. Around a 70 people turned out for the ‘Halfway Beef and Beer Dinner’ where an incredible amount was raised through an auction.

The 730 kilometre trip has had many unexpected highlights for Rob, Luke and their support crew.

“People often talk about the bright lights of the city. But we can tell you here and now, there is no competing with the bright lights of the Tanami. Whether it be the shine of the coals and flames of our nightly fire, the sun rising and setting or the stars in the sky, there isn’t a star in the Southern Hemisphere that we haven’t enjoyed on this trip” Rob said.

The “Tanami Track Challenge Charity Ride” will finish on June 15th, around 1pm on the grounds of the Flynn Church, Todd Mall, Alice Springs. The Mayor of Alice Springs, Damien Ryan and wider community will officially welcome Rob Cook and Luke Bevan as they finish their epic journey. Also join Rob and Family at the Alice Springs Memorial Club as they cheer the Maroons onto victory in the State of Origin.

Last year Rob Cook was the recipient of the 255th International Nuffield Scholarship. Rob used the ‘Tanami Desert Challenge Charity Ride’ fundraiser as an opportunity to raise awareness of Australian agriculture, and to bring hope to all those Australians with a disability who live and work on farms to not just sit around and think your life is over if you have had an accident.

Rob is hoping his new found knowledge and research from his two overseas trips will be applied to the lives of other injured Australian farmers to ensure they remain productive members of their agricultural communities.

If you would like to assist this amazing father, husband and farmer live his dream, to full potential while also helping others:

  1. Pass this story around so others can read and become inspired by people like Rob Cook who provide a ray of hope for humanity!
  2. Donate to his cause so he and his carers can complete the second half of his obligation for the Nuffield Scholarship
  3. Send him a message using email, text, Facebook or Youtube to say hello and wish him well.
  4. Read his blog www.robcooknt.blogspot.com

See also ABC’s Landline website for video footage and report.

EPIC JOURNEY BEGINS: Starting on their 730 klm epic charity ride are Rob Cook (left) in his customised wheelchair and friend Luke Bevan who are flanked by family and friends at the farm gate as they head off on the Tanami Track early morning at Suplejack Station.

FUEL FOR THE ROAD: Loretta Cook (sister and carer) gives Rob Cook a drink before hitting the road.


BLOODY CORRUGATION: Rob Cook comes off his wheelchair along the Tanami Track and waits for help to right him.

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