WHAT do four rugby league referees and country music star Lee Kernaghan have in common?
They are all proud Australians who want to make a difference for sick children and communities affected by last summer's devastating Queensland floods.
That shared commitment will see the unlikely combination take to the road this month for the Ride for Rural Kids.
The 1000km charity bike ride will begin in Toowoomba on Saturday and finish in Emerald the following Friday.
Referees Ben Cummins, and Gerard, Bernard and Chris Sutton will turn the pedals on their Merida team bikes each day, while Kernaghan will play benefit concerts in Toowoomba and Emerald to launch and close the ride. The 2008 Australian of the Year will also appear at a series of fundraisers in between to support Ronald McDonald House Charities.
Ruralco marketing manager Chris Sutton is the driving force behind the Ride for Rural Kids.
He drafted his fellow match officials to join him on the inaugural ride in 2009. That event raised tens of thousands of dollars for kids living in drought ravaged areas of NSW.
"This time we want to raise an even bigger total to assist Ronald McDonald House and its programs in regional Queensland," Mr Sutton said.
"We were all deeply affected watching the tragedy of the floods unfold. I think we need to show Queenslanders still battling to put their lives back together that the rest of the country hasn't forgotten their plight.
"And while we're trying to raise money on the road, we're also hoping to make some donations to schools and junior sporting clubs along the way."
A series of events and appearances are planned as the team passes through Condamine, Roma, Taroom, Theodore and Rolleston during the seven-day endurance test.
A full schedule of events is at www.rideforruralkids.com .au. Ride for Rural Kids cycling jerseys are also for sale exclusively on the website.
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