The Legend Of Shooter Stevens with Aaron Gocs
Walk the streets of Bundaberg today and mention the name Shooter Stevens and you'll probably get a blank stare. However this was not always the case. Wind the clock back to the summer of 1993/94 – Bundaberg was gripped by Shooter fever. Fresh off his title win in 1993 as King Of The Murray – the iconic water-skiing race on the famous Murray river – Shooter was determined to push himself to the limit. “Live life on the edge” was Shooter’s motto both in life, water-skiing and down at the pub. He dominated water skiing races, but this wasn’t enough to quench his thirst – he needed more! So he hatched a plan to take his skiing to the next level – by pulling off the ultimate trick – the triple backflip.
When Shooter fever was in full swing you couldn’t find a part of Bundaberg that didn’t have Shooter and the triple backflip on their lips – from old ladies at the craft club to blue collar blokes having a drink at the various watering holes. All walks of life wanted a piece of Shooter – the town was proud of their favourite son. Yet the problem was Shooter had bitten off more than he could chew. The triple backflip was impossible and deep down inside he knew that, but the adrenaline made him say some crazy ambitious things, next thing you know he'd booked himself a date with destiny that he couldn’t possibly fulfil.
For weeks on end he soaked up the attention, yet the guilt of knowing he couldn’t bring them what they wanted and what he had promised was gnawing away at him. Still, he trained his butt off. Double backflips – no problem, but on the 3rd flip time after time he landed on his face. The pain was severe (nothing a few rum and cokes couldn’t soak up mind you). He trained hard and partied even harder. Shooter was old school, no sports scientist diets for him. So close yet so far – he knew he was miles away from getting that elusive 3rd flip. The pressure built. “Do it for us!” the people of Bundaberg would say whenever they saw Shooter in town. He wanted this triple flip so badly. The stunt life was all he knew, no other qualifications or skills.
Shooter pushed himself to the absolute edge but there was no way he could do it. The pressure built like a ticking time bomb. Eventually it got too much and he fled town. The day before the triple flip was scheduled to take place, Shooter hopped in his ute and hit the highway like a coward. Where was he going? He didn’t know. All he knew was he couldn’t show his face in Bundaberg for a long time. With a few hundred bucks to his name and the clothes on his back he headed south to begin his new life. Word spread quickly to the townsfolk about Shooter’s cowardly escape. Kids were devastated – they showed their disdain the only way they knew how – with a traditional egging of Shooter’s house.
To this very day you dare not mention the name Shooter Stevens in Bundaberg. The name represents a coward. He got their hopes up and broke their hearts. And for a town like Bundaberg hope is everything. Though they still have their famous rum and word is there’s a Bunnings on its way soon.
Where is Shooter now? Nobody really knows but they say somebody fitting his description, albeit carrying a few more kilos around the belly, can be seen regularly carving up the canals and rivers of the Gold Coast. And if you catch him in a bar afterwards and buy him just enough rum and cokes you just may hear the story of the legend of Shooter Stevens.
Aaron Gocs is a comedian who enjoys a good feed, good jokes and the occasional stitch up. Check him out here. Watch Aaron Gocs' epilogue to the above tale below.
This is the second in a series of written commissions for Comedy Central Australia. Over the next few months we will showcase pieces from some of Australia's best comedians and writers. Keep your eyes peeled and subscribe to our newsletter below to stay in the loop.
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