THEY might be called ugly, but some humble bartenders have been attracted to put their faces to a nationwide fundraising drive for cancer.
Familiar faces from around Tamworth have already started rattling the fundraising buckets in a bid to be named Australia’s ugly bartender.
While the U.G.L.Y (Understanding. Generous. Likeable. You) bartender of the year drive might sound like an unpalatable title, the region’s barkeeps seem to be happy to put up with the awful jokes from the regulars as long as they’re backing the cause.
It’s an annual fundraiser for the Leukemia Foundation’s accommodation service for patients and their families.
Wests bartender, Sophie Brazel, said it was a no-brainer to get involved, especially with an experienced-campaigner in the Wests’ offices.
“I don’t believe in charities that don’t actually go to the person, whereas this one, every $80 goes to accommodation for the person receiving treatment and their carer,” Ms Brazel said.
“Living in a rural town, travelling for treatment is going to be quite expensive for the person and their family.”
Ms Brazel hopes to bank $10,000 for the cause, under the tutelage and tactics of Wests chief food and beverage officer, Peter Carlyle, she could go all the way to the top.
Mr Carlyle was last year’s national champion in the ugly fundraiser, pooling more than $40,000 at his post as a bartender in the Northern Territory town of Yulara.
Ms Brazel has planned a range of fundraising events and has pledged to cut off her long, blonde locks for the cause.
She may be backed by one of the biggest clubs in the region, while pubs in some of the smallest villages are backing their staff to raise big bucks for the cause too.
The Bendemeer Hotel is also in on the act, with the tiny town already punching above its weight.
Nikki Langbein, one of the pub’s newest bartenders, suggested the hotel join the fundraiser and has already banked close to $900, nearly two dollars for every Bendemeer resident.
Manger Tracy Gray said the regulars have gotten behind the cause and aren’t missing many opportunities with their cringe-worthy ugly jokes.
The Bendemeer pub will host a trivia night and a family fun day.
“We’re having such a hoot with it, we’re looking forward to raising more than $2000,” Ms Gray said.
Since 2009 U.G.L.Y. Bartenders have raised over $10 million providing over 125,000 nights of accommodation.