IT takes a certain type of person to do the same thing every fortnight, year after year, and through a rollercoaster of emotional highs and lows.
But that’s precisely what the Busselton Eagles Supporter Club do, having travelled to Perth religiously for every West Coast Eagles home game.
We travelled with them to Sunday’s game against Brisbane, and the story about that trip will be in next week’s Mail.
Many of the members have been attending matches for over 20 years, with some initially driving to Bunbury to catch their bus.
It was when a number of Busselton fans, including current committee member Roger Gordon, approached Ray Gannaway that the local club took off – and buses have been travelling to every game since 1997.
Val Munday and Margaret Rooke are two fans who have been part of the group since its inception, and the friends sit together on the bus every week
“We were just at a loose end and decided to go,” Val said.
“You get to know everyone you sit with at the ground and they always ask after you when you’re not there.
“Everyone on the bus is very compatible and Ray is a great bus driver,” Margaret added.
Ray, who is now one of the group’s six committee members, drives one of the luxury coaches that transport the Busselton Eagles fans every week and provides door-to-door service for this intrepid group of travellers.
Either two or three buses typically travel to the games, and Eagles fanatic Ray is more than just a bus driver, being part of the group and ‘minister for transport’ on the committee.
“They’re a great group of people. We’re a ‘people’ business and it’s the perfect fit for our type of business,” he said.
“That’s why we do the door-to-door pickups, because people deserve to be treated like that.
“The Eagles games are the only time I drive a bus now, and I would go up to the games anyway.
“We also did a big trip across the Nullarbor for the 2006 grand final.”
The supporters club has a six-person committee, and the emphasis is on the club being social, with honorary ministerial titles given to the committee members.
In addition to Ray, the committee consists of minister for finance Roger Gordon, minister for gambling and education Robyn Spencer, minister for refreshments Jim Dosek, minister for membership Neil Tucker and minister for refreshments, gambling and education on the second bus Michelle Dudley.
The group also has three social get-togethers per year, held pre-season, mid-season and post-season.
“We’re all very sociable and everyone gets along,” Roger said.
“We just enjoy going to the Eagles games.
“It’s all about being social, there are no problems in the group and it’s been said that we’re the most successful regional supporters group.”
Busselton councillor Terry Best is among the fans that travel up on the ‘Eagles Express’ buses, and he has also been going for 15 years.
“It’s a great service and a great group of people,” Cr Best said.
“It’s good for the soul and it really gels the group together.
“I’ve missed a couple of games with council commitments, but it doesn’t happen very often.”
Membership to the Busselton Eagles Supporters Club costs $5. Fore more details, contact Ray Gannaway 9752 3036.