Fishing buddies’ 4500km charity ride

CALLING all fishing and motorcycle enthusiasts – the Cooktown Crusaders want you to join them for their annual 4,572km Brisbane to Cooktown Ride for Autism.

Now in its third year, the Cooktown Crusaders are inviting up to 30 motorcyclists (and anglers) to join them over 16 days from 6 to 21 June 2015 as they visit some of Queensland’s most beautiful and secluded places.

All proceeds from the charity ride will go to Autism Queensland, the state’s longest serving and most experienced agency with over 45 years of service to people living with autism and their families.

The Cooktown Crusaders are three “crazy fishermen” – Peter “Mr Heckle” Sheppard (Nambour), Les “Mr Leso” Wildman (Mackay) and Mark “Mr Chilli” Chillcott (Chinchilla) – who came up with the charity ride idea after jumping on their bikes for a fishing trip up the east coast of Queensland.

“We completed the 2014 Ride for Autism in June last year with six riders raising around $5,000 and we’re wanting to it again bigger and better in 2015,” said Cooktown Crusaders founder Peter Sheppard.

“This year our aim is to raise $20,000 and get up to 30 motorcycles to travel from Brisbane to Cooktown and back again fishing, camping and enjoying the spectacular sites on the Queensland coast.

“We’ve already got 11 riders registered but we’re keen for more. The ride fee is $200.00 which (covers) some meals and all accommodation (camping).

“Activities for the 2015 ride include auctions, raffles and fishing competitions. We’ll be selling merchandise on the road such as t-shirts, hats and stubbie coolers and these are also available via our website.”

Peter, whose son Blair (aged 10) has autism, said he wanted to raise autism awareness to help families like his who struggled with a lack of understanding of the disorder.

The Cooktown Crusaders are currently taking registrations for the 2015 Ride for Autism with numbers limited to a maximum of 30 riders. A registration fee of $20 will be charged which includes a small patch for your vest or jacket, with the $200 ride fee due two weeks before the event starts.

Registrations are now open at and donations can be made at the Everyday Hero page by searching Cooktown Crusaders.

You can visit to donate, and follow Autism Queensland on Facebook and Twitter @AutismQldLtd.

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