A Wauchope-born woman who wanted to raise money for charity took up truck-pulling and hauled herself into the Guinness book of records.
Nardia Styles, who now lives in Queensland, initially wanted to fundraise for the Barnardo’s Foundation and White Ribbon Australia, and was thinking of an activity that would be a bit of a spectacle and draw some attention.
“I was acquainted with Derek Boyer (former Gladiator and multiple Guinness Vehicle Pulling Record holder) and though I had the perfect opportunity to do something visually spectacular and that’s where it started,” she said.
The training was some of the hardest Nardia had done in her life, and involved a lot of sessions in a car park dragging a weights sled with a strap around her hips, sometimes loaded with as much as 500 kg, to try to simulate the resistance of pulling an 11.5 tonne truck.
“It was all about building overall strength throughout my whole body rather that isolated muscle work,” she said.
To get into the Guinness Book of Records, she registered for the attempt with the date it would be performed. There are very specific evidence rules and a lot of information to supply and it took seven months of submitting and re-submitting before they were finally happy that she had covered all the guidelines.
Nardia says truck pulling can be dangerous if not done correctly, or if done in bad and slippery conditions, as it would be easy to pull a Achilles tendon or similar, but when undertaken with the guidance of someone experienced it is relatively safe.
“There are lot of strong woman competitors that pull various vehicles for various comps but I don't think too many women see it as a very ‘appealing’ hobby,” she said with a smile.
Nardia loved growing up in Wauchope. Her family had a dairy farm at Kendal and she had a horse in town and competed in the local Pony Club.
“I used to even at times ride my horse right down the main street if I needed to get something in the afternoons after school finished. I went to the Catholic School there and spent most of my time riding with friends on the weekends or climbing trees etc...we used to climb the trees on the street out the front of the Co-Op a lot,” she recalled.
Now working as a graphic designer on the Gold Coast, and a mum to a ten-year-old son, Nardia’s life is busy and she is even training for her first strong woman comp.
She is close to her mother, Rosemary Payne and her stepfather who live in the Hastings.
“I feel very lucky to have been able to complete this challenge and raise money for the victims of abuse. Doing this at the age of 42 I think is a reminder to women we can be strong and we are stronger when acting together to help each other,” says Nardia.
“I was blessed to have the support of both members of the public who stepped in with trucks for me to practice with, and also, in the end, a fabulous sponsor, Isuzu Truck Gold Coast, who were there to help me time and time again, and held the event on the day with an MC and the whole shebang.
“Also Bruce from North Group Consulting who did the surveying for free multiple times to find a perfectly flat and officially acceptable course. It was overwhelming and heartwarming just how generous people could be,” she added.
Her goal was to raise $3000 for White Ribbon and Barnardos and Nardia ended up raising an impressive $3500.